10th MARKANT Syntrade Schweiz AG Information Day
This year, MARKANT Syntrade Schweiz AG held its 10th Information Day and, as in previous years, provided guests with exclusive market information.
For this event, nearly 340 participants from retail and industry came to the Swiss Museum of Transport in Lucerne. On the conference's tenth anniversary, Franz-Friedrich Müller, Managing Director at MARKANT Handels- und Industriewaren-Vermittlungs AG, reflected on the modest beginnings of the Information Day, ten years ago, in Zurich and its later successful transformation to communication platform which is unique in the field. "My thanks go to all MARKANT partners for their mutual respect and recognition", said Franz-Friedrich Müller, before announcing his imminent resignation from company management and giving the floor to his successor Christian Francken. In Francken's words, "Our extensive range of services and e-services will be further expanded, so our retail partners can fully concentrate on the market challenges. At MARKANT, we are focused on technical developments." Jos Lanen, Managing Director at MARKANT Syntrade Schweiz AG, reported on the rapid growth of MARKANT services and supplemented this with impressive facts and figures on the status and further development of services in Switzerland.
After the greetings and introduction, there were specialist presentations which were both highly relevant and practically oriented for the branch. In the following presentation, Peter Fickentscher, Retail Director at GfK Switzerland AG, provided previously unpublished data on developments in Swiss retail trade. He posited that Swiss retail trade was in the midst of a profound transition. He added that, in a saturated market, digitisation was the primary source of competitive pressure. However, established stationary retail is counteracting this trend in various ways, according to Mr Fickentscher's report. He stated that new store concepts creating a unique purchasing atmosphere, in addition to newly compiled ranges or those adjusted to suit particular target groups, were leading the way. His advice to MARKANT partners: "Analyse your customers and the market. Don't hesitate to try new things and go your own way." However trendy the online channels may seem, "the Swiss continue to demonstrate a particular affinity for stationary retailers", as Mr Fickentscher confirmed with the results of a recent survey. According to this survey, considerably more consumers agreed with the statement: "We would like to support local retail".
This was followed by an inspiring presentation from the Swiss philosopher Ludwig Hasler. He visualises a future in which man and machine – analogue and digital – will actively co-exist side-by-side. For him, as always, the benefits for mankind are the decisive factor. To his mind, the question in each individual case is: "What can a human being – or an analogue product – do better than a machine? And vice-versa." Mr Hasler is of the mindset that the answer can often be found in the happy medium, with man and machine together yielding the best results. At this point, the talk turned to retail, and he reminded the audience that even the digital age has not been able to fundamentally change human nature and, especially, curiosity. "People dream of things that they do not know. They want to stumble upon something which does not yet even exist. This applies to shopping as well", he added. "Stationary retail has always relied vitally on the phenomenon of discovery." Mr Hasler stressed that the decisive factor is the "magic of things". "To this end, retail must rely on staging its sales and on motivated employees capable of understanding the customer", he said
Beatrice Weder di Mauro, economist and economic expert, rounded off the event with a presentation dedicated to the complex question: "Is the world falling apart?" She shed light on the global situation and the tectonic shift in income distribution associated therewith. She predicted that by 2050 the emphasis would be on South China, which has 50% of the world's population in its periphery. When GDP is weighted in terms of purchasing power, China (at 18%) already outstrips the United States (at 16%). Second place goes to Europe (at 17%). "Switzerland must hope for continued stability in Europe – our common region – and contribute to that end itself", she stated.