Post Categories: October 2015

Global Perspectives: Reshaping Retail in Asia and Europe

oct2015-global-coverJust as retail has been undergoing big changes in the U.S., so too has the environment started to shift in Europe and Asia. But as Danny Chen, Vice President of International for Interactions explains, the changes these markets are undergoing aren’t all the same.

“Retailers in Asia, and in China especially, are becoming more focused on differentiating themselves from the competition through product assortment,” Chen explains. “They are trying to expand their offerings to be more global. They are importing new products so they can offer those alongside local products. Because consumers are becoming more diversified, the retailers are following suit.”

Matching product to consumer demand may be quite familiar to U.S. retailers and brands, but it is still very new in China, says Chen. “The consumer demand is far ahead of what retailers can do today. The supply is far behind the demand. The retailer is playing catch up. They are in a transitional stage. At this moment, they look at the competition more than the consumer. But they are becoming more sophisticated with data analysis, and they are trying to find ways to make their business friendly to the consumer. Shopper insights and analysis will have an impact on that.”

In Europe, retailers have the assortment consumers demand, but are now searching for better ways to engage them. “Many retailers are trying to integrate online and offline,” says Chen. “And I have also seen a lot of changes in the way they market to consumers. Retailers are starting to move away from sales marketing and are not focusing on pricing as much.”

Instead, “European retailers are looking more for ways to get the customer to come to the store and experience the store,” says Chen. “They are learning that experiential marketing is not a one-time thing, not just a different way to merchandise—it’s how to engage shoppers to come to you. They are picking up on in-store demonstration and are in the beginning stages of trying to differentiate themselves through experience instead of pricing.”

While the state of retail is clearly in different stages in different areas of the world, Chen says there’s one thing tying it all together. “It all comes down to the consumer,” he says. “In retail, you have to remember that it all starts and ends with the consumer.”

To learn more about international business opportunities with Interactions, contact Danny Chen, Vice President of International at