Interview: Design meets Digital
At the Store Makers of umdasch in Duisburg
Maik Drewitz – Shop Consult Director of the Lifestyle Division of umdasch The Store Makers – gives insights into his first 100 days together with umdasch Digital Retail at one location: in 47057 Duisburg, Mülheimer Straße 72-74.
Mr. Drewitz, you have been working on innovative store concepts in the Duisburg Innovation Hub for around three months now, side by side with your colleagues from umdasch Digital Retail. How can that be imagined?
Our new location in Duisburg stands for umdasch's strength in designing all trades as a one-stop-shop: from the first scribble for a new store concept to the integration of smart digital tools and the implementation on the floor. Therefore, we work together with our customers in practical workshops as well as internally in interdisciplinary teams. We analyze the current situation, define goals and think store appearances. Experience-oriented concepts do not come about by chance, but rather through the close coordination of our design and digital experts. And right from the start.
What are the main topics of the consulting process?
At the beginning of a project, we analyze the current situation, both in terms of the market and trends as well as the client himself. We deal intensively with the retailer's brand and its customers. In this way we think about the customer experience holistically. We ask ourselves questions such as "What is the USP?", "Who is the target group and with what motivation or through what channels is purchasing made? We also take a close look at the product range during the analysis phase. In addition, our experts examine the existing retail solutions in the Store Check. In doing so, we always think along with digital applications to increase efficiency and experience on the sales floor. From the answers to questions such as "Does an online store already exist and how can it be integrated?", "How can social media activities be brought to the floor?" and "How can customers be addressed individually?", we define the project objectives together with our customer.
With which assets can umdasch help to achieve these goals?
We distinguish ourselves through our holistic approach and our comprehensive range of services: Our customers appreciate the fact that we take care of the entire project management: from shopfitting to digital signage including content creation and electronic price labelling. If desired, we also take responsibility for the interior construction as general contractor. In such challenging times as now, many customers want to rely on a partner who can provide them with significant support outside their core business. With our buffet mentality, the retailers have the choice whether they want just a few appetisers, i.e. just the interior design, selected digital additions - or the full menu. And at our innovation hub in Duisburg, we can work out the recipe for the stationary shopping experience side by side with our various experts.
A big bite in consulting is the store design, the "main course" so to speak. What is your recipe for success?
We provide our client with the first designs in accordance with the brand values and the aforementioned goals. The Store Makers work here completely individually, allowing their expertise to flow in and, of course, taking the customer's individual wishes and ideas into account. We show how the atmosphere in the store can look like and how the corporate identity is embodied with lifelike renderings. An important part of this is the consideration of visual merchandising, product images and the integration of digital solutions at the PoS. This is where umdasch's digital experts come into play: digital tools that are dynamically designed and whose content is tailored to the respective target group. The focus here is on content and experiences. The result is a consistent and seamless customer experience. Only then do umdasch's shopfitting professionals cast the store design into a functioning shopfitting plan.
So the customer gets a finished plan.
That's the way it is. And once this has been approved, our shopfitting and digital project managers take care of the execution planning, create high-quality content for the brand, program and create the content for the digital solutions and build prototypes through to the entire shopfitting process. Finally, our fitters and the general contracting team implement the plans quickly and routinely - so that nothing stands in the way of a punctual opening.
So your work ends with the opening ceremony?
For us, the opening is the biggest milestone, but not the end - even after the opening, we always remain within reach for the customer. With service and maintenance, a 24/7 support hotline for digital applications, training in umdasch's own Shop Academy and much more.
Can you already look back on the first projects of the interdisciplinary teams in Duisburg?
We have been working with umdasch Seen Media for one and a half years now. The joint location since summer 2020 brings us even more advantages internally, but also to our customers. One of the most recent projects of which I am personally very proud is Berlin's largest outdoor house: the new Globetrotter Store in Berlin-Steglitz. On four floors with around 4,000 square meters, we were able to create a very special outdoor experience center for visitors. And that in all disciplines, as designers, furnishers, digital retail experts and general contractors.