Chris Buecker

Founder & Chairman, International TCG Retail Summit
Since 2014 to present: Founder & Chairman, TCG Summit, the leading international retail conference in electrical retail (CE, Appliances, IT, Telecommunications).

Since 2012 to present: President & CEO of Retailplus, a retail consultancy and organization of innovation tours with a special focus on retail.

2012-2005: Managing Director of Expert International, one of Europe's leading electrical retail organizations (13bn USD turnover).

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  • Posted on: 04/19/2018

    Starbucks to close shops for racial bias training

    Starbucks reacted quickly and responsibly. It sends out an important message to its customers that the top management has taken this unfortunate incident very seriously. To prevent these incidents in future, both levels are important -- constant training and taking care in the hiring process to select people that share the company's values. Other companies can certainly learn from Starbucks in this case.
  • Posted on: 04/16/2018

    Dyson believes in showroom stores

    Not many brands have such an innovative brand portfolio as Dyson. This is key, as the brand needs to offer something unique. Dyson has been tremendously innovative, first with vacuum cleaners, then with ventilators and now with hair dryers. In 2018, their main focus will be on China, opening many new stores. In the future, we will see more brands who do have to offer a unique value proposition to the consumers opening experience stores — no doubt about it.
  • Posted on: 04/04/2018

    Should retailers lower expectations around last-mile delivery?

    Lowering consumer expectations will not work if you have Amazon pushing last-mile delivery at the same time. The customer will decide by clicking the "Buy" button at Amazon and it will mean lost sales. Retailers need to work on a seamless omnichannel concept with their store network as an experience center in the center of it.
  • Posted on: 04/03/2018

    Are Aldi’s upscale makeovers necessary?

    Aldi has realized that consumer trends have changed and they are adapting to it. This is a logical and prudent step. They know how to do it and they upscaled their store format in various European countries with success. In a service-oriented retail market such as the U.K. they have even been elected (together with Lidl) as the retailer of the year. A few years ago this would have been unthinkable. This store upscale does not mean that they are abandoning their strategic pillars.
  • Posted on: 03/30/2018

    Former Walmart U.S. CEO raises prospect of breaking up Amazon

    There is nothing wrong in subsidizing one business unit with capital from another within the same group. This is happening everywhere. What is anti-competitive are the huge tax advantages Amazon has created in comparison to more traditional retailers with physical stores. Here government must intervene and create equal (tax) or at least fair conditions for brick-and-mortar, brick and click and pure e-commerce players. Every form needs to be judged on the same basis.
  • Posted on: 03/29/2018

    Do men and women still shop differently?

    I think the purchasing behavior remains the same. It is true that women, especially since the introduction of the smartphone love to browse for a good deal, whereas men want to touch and feel. I already think that retailers do a good job segmenting by gender.
  • Posted on: 03/28/2018

    Retailers can reduce turnover by treating employees like consumers

    It is much less about technology but much more about knowledge and fair treatment. Take the technical consumer goods retail or the DIY sector -- if you purport as a retailer to provide consumers with excellent service, you need to have knowledgeable sales associates. A good example is B&H Photo. They train their staff very intensively. As a result, the staff on the sales floor can give superb product advice. This is what the customer is looking for. Service and excellence in advice.
  • Posted on: 03/27/2018

    Where is the shopping opportunity with voice commerce?

    Voice commerce will be the next game changer. We have just conducted a survey among the top management of the leading tech retailers in the EMEA region and it showed that voice commerce is one of the top innovations in retail technology to come. Retailers need to get prepared quickly, otherwise voice commerce will be dominated by the big tech companies. The threat is that in the future somebody besides (e.g. Amazon, Google, etc.) the shoppers themselves will decide which product to purchase.
  • Posted on: 03/26/2018

    Customers want to be left alone while shopping

    There is a lot of retail technology offered which never pays off. I agree that retailers need to test in some of their stores first. Media Saturn, the European counterpart of Best Buy with $27 billion in revenue, for instance, has recently started their own retail tech hub in partnership with Plug&Play, the startup accelerator from Sunnyvale. By providing new young innovative companies a good platform, Media Saturn can already see and test which new technology could be an added value for them. Last week, for instance, they opened a pop-up store with no checkout required with a much cheaper solution than Amazon implemented in their Amazon Go store. Especially in a sector where products needs to be explained before purchase, associates must be trained much more than today to be more knowledgeable in order to satisfy the well-informed customer and to provide them better advice. So far, in most stores the level of associates is too low. However, it is a Catch-22: The retailer is under high margin pressure and the education of staff has its price.
  • Posted on: 03/23/2018

    In this digital revolution, stores are media

    Yes, in the future we will see more and more digital-only retailers opening up stores. We all saw the success of doing so with onliners such as Warby Parker, Bonobos, Away and Allbirds. The same happens in Europe. For example, in the electronics sector you have e-commerce retailers such as Digitec (Switzerland), Coolblue (The Netherlands) or Alza (Czech Republic) who very successfully opened several physical stores in bigger cities. Strategically, it will put these online retailers in a good, cost-efficient position (compared to the traditional brick-and-mortars). They will strengthen their brand value but also become visible, offer additional service (easy pick-up, return point) and get to know the customer better. To me, the winning model will be the onliners who will open a limited number of fixed stores. Pop-ups are certainly nice to create some buzz but I do not see them as long-term strategy.
  • Posted on: 03/22/2018

    Luxury brands are racing to embrace ecommerce

    It had been just a question of time and the development of the right online channel. You simply cannot afford anymore to be offline when Millennials are or will be your future customers. Of course, as a luxury goods brand you do not want to see your product range sold on Amazon but the appearance of portals of shop designer fashion has changed the game. Digitally-driven Millennials want exclusivity, of course, but they also look for excitement, convenience and to be part of a exclusive interactive community and global brand. For this, the brand needs to develop a truly omnichannel strategy and implementation.
  • Posted on: 03/20/2018

    Will it always be about price for Gen Z?

    Generation Z is the first generation that really grew up with a mobile device as their first source. Their world is Instagram and Snapchat. This generation likes to spend their money very selectively, considering also subscription-based (Netflix, etc.) and sharing-based models (car-sharing, etc.). Retailers and brands will need to become much more active on social media to position themselves as a "cool" brand. I am sure that in future they will allocate much more marketing spend in this increasing marketing channel.
  • Posted on: 03/19/2018

    What’s the next leap for user generated content?

    In future, UGC will be an important way to create an increasing and loyal community. To have superusers writing reviews of products and brand activities will be great, however, No. 1 rule needs to be that the content is honest, informative and adding value to the readers. Canon is indeed a very good example. In a sector that has been losing 20% each year over the past years, Canon reinvented itself with a shift in their business model.
  • Posted on: 03/14/2018

    What does Ring mean for Amazon?

    I agree with the author. The biggest challenge so far has been the last mile to the end-consumer. With the acquisition of Ring, Amazon can now deliver the purchased goods directly into the home of the consumer even though nobody will be at home. We all know that at present, convenience and speed are at the top of the list when it comes to consumers' need. I am sure once somebody has tested this once and is satisfied, the consumer will get used to this true home delivery and leave her/his potential initial concern behind her/him.
  • Posted on: 03/07/2018

    Are photos of packages on doorsteps helpful?

    The package might have to stay for hours at the customer´s requested delivery point. A picture can prove where the package has been put or that it has been laid there in good condition. This can be very helpful and become standard. In the future, Amazon will go even further. With the just recently announced acquisition of Ring, the global home security company that incorporates outdoor motion-based cameras and doorbells, consumers in theory can even open their door remotely to let the carrier put the package in the corridor even though nobody will be at home. It would be secured by cameras. The question is, how many consumers will be willing to open their doors to strangers? In times where convenience is king, consumers open up for all kind of solutions.

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