PROFILE

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). To learn more, visit: www.tcgsummit.com
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  • Posted on: 10/08/2018

    Will a new private label keep Target’s customers out of Aldi and Dollar General?

    Target needs to ensure that the customer understands the difference between both label strategies. Referring to Aldi's concept, I do not think that the new (cheaper) private label at Target's will keep budget-conscious shoppers from going to Aldi. Aldi's private label has always been focused on good to high quality. In numerous independent analyses of the quality of private label products from Aldi, the products sometimes turned out to be at minimum the same quality as the branded reference point in that category.
  • Posted on: 10/05/2018

    Are retailers getting too political with voter registration campaigns?

    I have a clear opinion on that. Retailers should stay out of voter registration campaigns and stay neutral. The question should rather be why the voting rate is one of the lowest in the Western world. And why do people have to register before they have the right to vote? It almost looks like an on-purpose obstacle to keep some people away from voting. In most European countries, every legitimized person is automatically on the voting list with no registering needed.
  • Posted on: 10/03/2018

    Are retailers deaf to radio advertising’s potential?

    Radio is still listened to by many across the different target groups. Especially for retailers with no big pockets this might be a promising strategy. I can provide you two examples from Europe where one of the leading buying groups in electronics has in two countries been extremely successful by mainly targeting on radio ads. In Italy and The Netherlands. Each of them chose the radio station which their target group was listening to. They then made sure that the spot was always played prior or after the news. By continuously repeating day after day, the retailer really got known and popular in both countries. Of course nowadays, digital ads are much more important. And the strategy will differ from retailer to retailer. However, a retailer has to carefully evaluate where to put its resources. This also counts for ad spending.
  • Posted on: 09/27/2018

    Will Amazon disrupt retail again with its new 4-star store concept?

    I give 5 stars for this new initiative. Whereas a lot of retailers are struggling to find the best way to be successful in a new retail world, Amazon introduces another new truly innovative, customer-centric concept. "Chapeau," like the French like to say.
  • Posted on: 09/24/2018

    Are big box retailers going too small with new store concepts?

    Retailers need to carefully investigate and test which would be the right shop format and size to them. Should it be complimentary to their existing stores in the same catchment area (i.e. pick up point) or does the retailer wants to penetrate in smaller cities where it was not present so far due to its large current store format? Take the example of electronics in Europe. Many leading international/national tech retailers are testing new smaller formats, e.g. Media-Saturn in various countries, M.video in Russia or Darty in France. We will therefore see in the future quite a number of new additional formats of established retail brands arising.
  • Posted on: 09/17/2018

    Walmart expands test of giant automated grocery kiosk

    Walmart is preparing to extend its services to its customers. As Amazon has entered the food market (Amazon Fresh/Whole Foods), this is a logical step. Customers save time to pick up their purchase on their way back home and Walmart saves on the last mile.
  • Posted on: 08/27/2018

    REI finds an audience for used gear

    Yes, definitely, this will provide a greater value. It reminds me of the time when online started to grow substantially. Some traditional retailers at that time were simply not interested in selling online, as they just reckoned online would stay a small niche in their business. We all know how this story went. By offering high-quality, lightly-used products REI ensures it will be in the driver's seat, not letting the consumer out of their ecosystem. Once in contact with such a consumer, REI might be able to have him buy used or convince him to upgrade to new products.
  • Posted on: 08/24/2018

    Landlords add coworking spaces to drive more people to America’s malls

    No, it doesn't. Malls need customer traffic. To rent out bigger mall space to coworking office can only be a nice add-on my opinion. Malls need to look for solutions that create customer traffic. I see more e-commerce players who are trying out physical store solutions like fitness centers and other formulas that would drive more traffic to the mall than a coworking office. With less traffic, the remaining store tenants will simply die off over time in that mall.
  • Posted on: 06/25/2018

    Why are there so few women in c-level positions?

    In many conservative companies men prefer to be among men. They see women as competition. This is old-fashioned. This is counts for a whole sector. Take CE in Europe for instance. 90 percent+ of the senior executives (director and C-level) are men. Companies need to walk the talk. And that doesn't just mean having women employed in top positions for corporate communication and marketing.
  • Posted on: 06/22/2018

    Supreme Court rules e-tailers must collect state sales taxes

    A significant injustice has been corrected. Finally. Not only from the consumer point of view but also from a tax point of view, it really does not matter whether the seller is a traditional retailer or an e-tailer. There should have never been a difference. Anyhow, better late than never, I would say. It is surprising that this has taken so many years to correct this. Incredible!
  • Posted on: 06/22/2018

    Apple’s Ahrendts sees a ‘bigger purpose than just selling’ for retail

    Absolutely. It depends what you sell but generally I agreed. Retailers needs to develop a unique seamless experience along the customer journey. We can see at many retailers that associates are not really motivated or knowledgable enough to offer a good service or advice. It is also a question of salary. You pay less, you get less quality. It is as simple as that. A very good example of motivated and customer-oriented associates are employees at IKEA. As customer, you can see and feel that the associates have not just a job at the furniture giant. Each associate is part of the IKEA community and team and share the company values. It is the same with the Apple sales associate. They becomes a strong advantage for the company, as they are the ultimate contact person to the customer.
  • Posted on: 06/20/2018

    IKEA says no to plastic

    To take the lead in bold new environmental initiatives is a great opportunity for retailers. Our planet suffers from waste and pollution caused by mankind. This issue will only increase. Young and more conscious consumers will be more affected by it. By showing leadership, a retailer can position itself as a caring and responsible distributor which could ultimately increase the brand value and loyalty.
  • Posted on: 06/19/2018

    Best Buy makes health and wellness tech a strategic priority

    This is certainly a logical move if pursued in the right way. Health and technology are merging in many fields and consumers often need advice prior to their purchase. However, advising the consumer also means having the educated staff in sufficient quantity at store level available when needed. From a margin and service point of view this is undoubtedly interesting. The thing is that the other big boxes will also dive into this new category. It needs to be seen who will develop the best proposition to the consumers.
  • Posted on: 06/18/2018

    Microsoft exploring checkout-less technologies

    This is good news. Amazon Go's current technology will not be the standard model, as it is too complicated and very cost-intensive. We will see different models and technologies being applied in the coming years. I believe the driver will not be Amazon but more the Chinese giants such as Alibaba or JD.com. And it is a playing field for disruptors. Maybe the standard will come from a startup of which we have heard very little so far.
  • Posted on: 06/12/2018

    Are chronic online returners only a few bad apples?

    Online returns are cost killers. In the future, we will see that e-tailers will ban shoppers with a certain return rate or above. Free shipping will remain a weapon for e-tailers.

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