Local retail heroes
Kim takes Rotterdam retailers to Amsterdam
Kim goes on a trip to Amsterdam and takes three pure Rotterdam entrepreneurs with her to challenge them on stage of the retail event ‘Stores That Wow’. In this Tchai Tchat Kim explains why she is so excited to bring her panel, with which she’ll prove the importance of making connections and staying close to the roots in order to have a future-proof brand…
Kim: “A future-proof store. What is that exactly? Is it a store that will retain its appeal over the next few years, making it very low maintenance? Or is it a store that can easily adapt to current trends? The theme of this year’s Stores That Wow invites you to think about this very subject.
Once again, Tchai has been asked to contribute to the Stores That Wow program. So lately I’ve been discussing this theme at length with many of my colleagues.
The funny thing is: a future-proof store has very little to do with the future at all. Despite what trend watchers and retail gurus may tell you, nobody knows what the future looks like. So instead of looking far ahead, it is much wiser to turn your attention inwards, to your roots, to everything that makes you authentic and distinctive. At Tchai we always start with brand essence and go on to translate this into physical presentations and store concepts. But this alone is not enough.
Many of our customers are international brands who have defined their principles very clearly in global brand manuals. The big challenge they face is: how do I make an on-site connection with my target audience? How do I create a shopping experience in New York that is just as meaningful as in Seoul? The foundation is always laid out by the brand and sometimes the difference really is in certain nuances. But often more is needed to make the connection locally.
“How do you engage with your customers in different ways while always remaining true to yourself?”
Actually, developing a future-proof store is not that different from developing a store for a completely new region. If you know what your brand stands for, then this can be transported to another place or another time … Connection* is the key concept here. How do you make the connection? How do you engage with your customers in different ways while always remaining true to yourself?
Tchai’s roots lie in Rotterdam and if Rotterdammers are known for being good at something, then it’s staying true to themselves. Being authentic, open and genuine. That’s how I came up with the idea of inviting a number of true Rotterdam entrepreneurs to join me at Stores That Wow. Paul Sharo (Man Met Bril Koffie), Nicole van Deyzen (The Good People) and Michael Zomers (’s Zomers Bloemen, Skin Cosmetics Rotterdam) know exactly what it takes to forge lasting relationships with their customers. The authenticity and purity with which they have claimed their place in Rotterdam’s retail landscape is a source of inspiration for retailers of all sizes. One thing is sure: big brands can learn a lot from local heroes.
I am extremely proud that Tchai won the Rotterdamse Ondernemersprijs 2019 (Rotterdam Entrepreneur Award) at the end of November and I would like to bring some bravado from my city to Amsterdam. So instead of giving a linear presentation, we’ll be playing a challenging game of Truth or Dare with the entrepreneurs and the audience. Expect an interactive panel discussion about the courage it takes to follow your own path in an environment that is constantly renewing and changing. I’m excited! Will I see you there?”
* ‘Connection’ is the theme of our latest inspiration magazine #4.
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