The Trade Fair Globalshop, which moved back to Chicago this year, radiated noticeably less enthusiasm from digital technologies, artificial intelligence and virtual reality compared to the previous two years. Their presentation was negligible similarly as at the parallel Trade Fair MPV in Paris. In the retail communication, on the other hand, there has dominated a calm authenticity and an essential effort for the best possible customer experience based on a quality in-store design.
While going through one of the two world´s largest in-store communication shows, visitors could not overlook the effort of its organizers to provide multisensory experience worthy the presented in-store solutions. Within the exhibition hall, there were spread pleasant fragrances changing along the path and surprising all the time; and the aisles among the expositions were “lined up” with high carpets with a pleasant touch.
We were attracted especially by expositions with original realizations for the HORECA segment, for which our market is desperately lacking.
Also P.O.P. media with original details got attention, for example a rope decorating a top card of a display, metal bars creating edges of shelves of a cardboard display or a quasi-3D effect print. A hologram system on a practical simple stand, for example for application into a P.O.P. display was also interesting.
Traditionally, we could see that the American market can sustain also highly specialized companies. There were exhibiting for example specialists in magnets, locks, locking mechanisms or wheels usable for P.O.P. media.
Like at the Paris Trade Fair Marketing Point de Vente (MPV), also in Chicago, there was placed emphasis on interactive education, for example through the training visual merchandising principles. In Paris, it was for example couching of in-store communication strategies, suggestions and realizations.
Asian suppliers were exhibiting in USA to a much greater extent than in Paris. However, the level of their assortment was, as usual, very low or even poor compared to European manufacturers. Only their proactivity and ability to communicate in English improved. Their numerous representation proves the intense effort of the “Shop! Global” Association to attract new members from Asia and interconnect them with the North American market.
Shop! OMA Awards
Part of the Trade Fair was also an all-American national competition “Shop! OMA Awards”, within which the world´s best P.O.P. projects competed in one place. Also this year, these projects have demonstrated the ability of their creators to progress in their creativity, originality and WOW effect.
While in Paris, there excelled mostly realizations from the cosmetics and beauty categories, in Chicago, the most attractive and, at the same time, the most dominant expositions were from the FMCG categories, especially alcoholic beverages, food and electro. For example, the combination of a cardboard temporary solution of a display with applied digital/sensory movement technology was unconventional.
The trend of the competition was also a shift towards natural materials and their imitations or use of 3D applications and enlargements.
This year, we were not surprised by traditional harmonic P.O.P. compositions of the packaging, product and P.O.P. media and their combinations created interesting scenography
Customer experience in the Chicago concept
When visiting Chicago stores, it was impossible not to notice the “ubiquitous obsession for positive customer experience”. It is not exception that directly at the entrance to the store, customers are being welcomed by its “manager” asking them to evaluate their purchase when they leave the store. If an error occurs, for example, if a customer waits longer for his/her order, he/she is literally forced to take a compensation, for example in the form of a dessert or coupon for the next purchase.
Among the visited stores, we were most interested by the supermarket Whole Foods Market near Michigan Avenue, which connects the retail space with a stylich café where customers can consume also excellent ready to eat products purchased here. In the store itself, fragrances of handmade soaps blends pleasantly with freshly ground coffee. You can choose from many pick & mix islands.
Pleasant staff is not only smiling but also helps to put your purchased goods into bags. Everything looks honest, clear and well-arranged, both at the individual level and as a whole. The WFM store can communicate and please customer´s senses without distracting or detaining him/her inappropriately. This is certainly an example of very good in-store concept, in which you don´t perceive time and look forward to your next visit.
Daniel Jesenský a Martin Vorel
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