Michel Wedler

“Michel is an experienced industry veteran whose contributions shaped the success of the MediaMarktSaturn Retail Group. I sat down with him to talk about the future of retail.”

7+1

Founders Keepers

7+1 Questions

interviewed by

Markus Oeller

bio

Long-standing executive and expert in purchasing & product management and sales in retail for entertainment products, especially in the areas of music, film, games, consoles, accessories, merchandise, and toys. Specialist for large-scale and multichannel retail. Since July 2020 in personal reorientation phase, selective support & elaboration in various projects as well as conversation and interview partner.  

1

You have been in Channel Marketing for some time. And you have seen many trends come and go. From the beginning of your career to today: What has changed most positively in retail, what needs to happen in the next years for retail to be able to thrive?  

In recent decades, there has been a positive change in customer focus, and customer wishes have been placed more consistently at the center of retail activities, which was very often not the case in the past according to the motto “eat or die, or take what we offer you and have in our range”. 

In the future, retailers must continue to pick up customers where they want to be picked up and reached, whether digitally or on site. However, the customer’s demand for entertainment will become more of a focus than the pure expertise of a salesperson, because the customer is already very well informed digitally and basically knows what he wants.

2

Let’s talk about Brand Ambassadors: In the past, any Retail Salespeople were not the best experts, that is why many leading players were relying on Brand Ambassadors in the stores. Now, with Covid 19 and even after Covid 19, what is the future of Brand Ambassadors from your point of view?

The Brand Ambassadors will, in my opinion, play a much more important role (no matter at which touchpoint), so that the “few” salespeople can take more intensive personal care of the customer as well as the smooth customer satisfaction and their entertainment.

3

Modern technology would allow to really have an omnichannel experience. For example, looking at products in AR at home, video calling a sales consultant, and to get the product delivered within a very short timeframe from a store next door. What are your thoughts on these options?

As I’ve already mentioned, it will be important to pick up the customer at all touchpoints where he is active. Post-Covid-19 has yet to determine which of these will be sustainable. But getting the products delivered promptly from the store around the corner to the customer’s home will be mandatory!

4

Will physical retail turn from best price into best experience? Will stores change to brand experience centers? And how would you foresee such a change / evolution of retail?

The topic of “the best price” will never completely go away and is also dependent on the type and function of the desired product. However, the best experience and brand experience will clearly become most relevant – combined with feel-good character and gamification.  

5

How is social media and social selling affecting offline retail in your opinion?

This is where retailers definitely need to further develop their commitment and knowledge, and it will play a significant role in success or failure. This is a “must-have” no matter which retailer it is and the size of the company.   

6

Do you think, video salespeople would be a solution during or even after Covid 19, or virtual chatbots, where consumers speak to for example a robot/animated character?

I’m not quite sure what the consumer has already been conditioned to do after Covid-19 due to the situation, and how much he will long for human and personal proximity with real people again in the future. However, I think the topic of video consulting will play an increased role in the future, and the topic of bots and animated characters can (if done well and entertaining) contribute to the topic of customer entertainment.

7

Service and installs are more and more important. For example, when buying a complex smart home setup, consumers do not just need an install service to mount a TV to the wall, but also a complete setup service until the products are connected, programmed, and 100% functional, why does nobody offer these kinds of services? What is your take on this? Should retail stores offer that or the manufacturers? Would consumers pay extra for that or should that be part of an excellent service?

These services are already available from many retailers for an additional fee, usually with external service providers (e.g. DTB). Of course, the perfect combination would be if retailers and manufacturers offered these services in parallel in a more visible way for consumers. To a certain extent, customers also pay a surcharge, but the more expensive a product is, the more necessary it is to include an excellent service experience.

+1

Which project / topic in your job were you particularly proud of?   

There are many 😉:

Development of the assortment and department structure of the entertainment/gaming area, software in stationary retail at Saturn. As well as further development with new concepts such as Entertainment 2.0 incl. Merchandise & Toys and trend themes.

Image and TV campaign “Lust auf ein Spielchen” for positive perception of gaming among the general public. (Gaming is not evil!)

Cooperation with the Leipzig Trade Fair and also later the Cologne Trade Fair for the supportive establishment of the GC and Games Convention in the general public.

Introduction and verification of age rating control (USK & FSK) via cash register systems with model character for the further trade.

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