Insights-X works closely with the industry, including associations such as EK/servicegroup. This Insights-X cooperation partner has around 4,000 affiliated business members from large parts of Europe and therefore represents a significant swathe of the market. Susanne Heiduczek joined EK in 2017 and worked in the Market Services unit before becoming Head of Category Management Living. She is now responsible for Purchasing/Category Management in the EK Home division. This makes her the first port of call for all product areas. Susanne Heiduczek revealed more about the retailer community in our interview.
How does it benefit retailers to be a member of EK/servicegroup? What is special about your association?
Susanne Heiduczek: As we represent a significant swathe of the market, we can offer excellent purchasing terms and, at the same time, all of the benefits of a multi-sector network that supports the specialist retail trade with a wide variety of product ranges and related concepts. Our paper, office supplies and stationery shop floor solution, for example, can be perfectly combined with other EK shop floor designs from the areas of books, leather goods, toys and gift items. Our ERES omnichannel platform with precisely coordinated functionalities for brick-and-mortar and digital market positioning ensures the necessary profiling.
Our cooperative structure is what really sets EK/servicegroup apart. No other form of organisation gives greater importance to the democratic principles of co-determination and active participation. From our point of view, the future for retail SMEs consists of a jointly developed blend of engagement and entrepreneurial individuality.
Looking ahead to the future – what do you see as the opportunities and risks of digitisation?
S. H.: Opportunities and risks are always two sides of the same coin. We do not need to feel threatened by digital progress in retailing and the associated move towards e-commerce. These can drive us to question things, to examine attitudes, to change strategies. This may be painful to some, but it can also open up new perspectives.
In principle, we cannot put offline and online trade in two separate boxes. Instead, it is important that we combine the individual local strengths of specialist retailers with all the benefits of digitisation. The customer decides when, where and how to buy and where to obtain information. We have to accommodate that.
Why do you recommend that your members visit Insights-X?
S. H.: As a network of active retailers, we really appreciate the practical focus of Insights-X. You just know that the concept did not come from the drawing board, but is oriented towards the needs of the industry.
At this compact and professional expo in Nuremberg, businesspeople can find out about the innovations and hot stationery trends of the coming business year and, while doing so, engage with the players in retail and industry. In addition, the InsightsArena programme offers lots of useful insights for everyday business.
The whole package works and that’s why we are pleased to recommend to our members that they visit Insights-X!
The PartnerLounge is reserved exclusively for members of trade associations and purchasing co-ops which are partners of Insights-X. Take a look at all the cooperation partners at Insights-X 2019.