EuroShop 2020: Where emotion met evolution

Team Point 6 jetted off to Düsseldorf, Germany, to jump headfirst into the world’s largest retail trade fair.

At the end of last year, we were asked to lend our talents to Signify’s EuroShop campaign. From coming up with a catchy campaign theme, which we helped roll out via social media and digital content, to designing striking stand graphics, we thoroughly immersed ourselves in all things retail to deliver the goods.

Proud Point 6

So in February 2020, team Point 6 jetted off to Düsseldorf, Germany, to jump headfirst into the world’s largest retail trade fair – and see the fruits of our labour for ourselves.

With eight different ‘dimensions’, the convention didn’t quite break the space-time continuum, but it was pretty big. We were keen to explore, so as soon as we arrived we went straight to the Signify stand.

After a quick check-in with the super busy team, we explored the food and fashion set-ups with our interactive hand-held scanners. We’re already familiar with the products that they offer, but it’s always interesting to see how they work in person!

First, we discovered the incredibly realistic fake food display. Rumbling stomachs aside, the tech is pretty cool. It uses light recipes to help food stay fresher for longer, saving both money and energy while reducing food waste. A nod to Signify Horticulture illuminated one corner, demonstrating the future of vertical farming.

Taking in the 3D-printed luminaires, Philips OneSpace and Luminous Textile, we spotted Signify partner company Guardian Glass. Or rather, we didn’t spot it. The brand’s shop-front glass is so clear and crisp, it is almost totally transparent, allowing the products behind it to really shine.

The stand itself looked sharp. Signify staff confirmed they had had great feedback from visitors. With all tours fully booked, they were drawing in lots of potential clients. And we even spotted this guest taking a photo of our concept poster!

Dummies for days

Do mannequins freak you out? Sometimes their vacant expressions can send you tumbling into uncanny valley. Luckily, the ones we saw at EuroShop were more like works of art. We couldn’t help but be wowed.

Striking poses in a pleasing pastel palette, the elegant Schlappi mannequins watched on as a sculptor worked his magic in the centre of the space. Demonstrating the mannequin manufacturing process, we learnt it involves a wire frame and a lot of clay, before the resulting design is made into a plaster cast mould. As a marketing tool, this demo certainly worked, as the sculptor was attracting a lot of attention. (And not just from us, although we admittedly stood there mesmerised for far too long.)

In the next room, fifty or so Twiggy faces fluttered their eyelashes in our direction. Although a bit jarring at first, it made more sense once we learned that the brand Adel Rootstein was one of the first mannequin manufacturers back in the 1960s. In fact, the ‘Twiggy’ was based on an original sculpture by John Taylor, who also used fashion models Imogen Woodford and Jill Kennington as muses.

The demonstrations continued, with talented artisans hand painting facial features and carefully gluing strands of hair to the mannequin heads. Again, we stood and watched for far too long, amazed at the attention to detail required to make these dynamic dummies.

An explosion of colour greeted us at the next stand thanks to contemporary Dutch brand Hans Boodt. (On second thoughts, we probably didn’t need to tell you that they’re Dutch.)

Spot the copywriter!

A giant bust cut through with a flash of magenta stood at the entrance, invoking a sense of drama from the off. Mannequins of all types, in all sorts of poses, decorated the space. One thing that stood out were the female mannequins that actually looked like women (slim, athletic women; but still,) alongside whole 3D-printed designs in a holographic hue. By this point, we were overwhelmed with all the creativity and had to take a prompt schnitzel break.  

Technology at the forefront

After our stint in the fashion world, we were back to retail innovations, and found ourselves in a sea of scanners. We spotted Zebra Technologies – a partner to our client Signify – amongst the crowd. Their scanners work in combination with Signify’s Indoor navigation app, allowing shoppers to be directed straight to the products they need at the tap of a screen.

Next: the future of self-service checkouts is here, and it’s automatic. A brief demo showed us that an in-built camera recognises your items, charging you accordingly before you head off. The only catch is that nothing can overlap, so it would only really work for five or six products. Which isn’t great for greedy guts like us!

Finally, we were drawn in by the promise of interactive shopping. We sometimes find shopping for beauty products a bit overwhelming, as there are so many different options and it’s not always easy to tell exactly what they do (if anything).

The offerings of Scala include an in-store touch screen, allowing customers to research the available products there and then (although you could, of course, just look on your phone or ask a sales assistant). Plus, every time you lift an item up off of the shelf, it triggers an information pop-up on the interactive screen behind it. We were also reliably informed by a keen sales person that our every move was being watched; including where we stood, what we touched, and how long we had been there. Gulp.

Although the tech is undeniably impressive, it all felt a bit Big Brother-y. But, it seems likely this is the way retail is heading, with brick-and-mortar stores having to do more and more to tempt customers away from online shopping.

Around 20,000 steps later, we called it a day. Despite all of the super-cool stuff we’d encountered, EuroShop had defeated us. We’d seen enough endless rows of hangers and obscure animatronics for a while. Luckily for us, the triennial event is back in 2023 – see you then?

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