We bring fresh European retail-trends to the country that created Walmart, Target and Gap.
What have you done in the USA?
Our successful work in retail banking Europe landed us some very interesting jobs in American retail banks. That’s how we helped Citibank organise its different channels and Barnett Bank from Florida (now Bank of America) its branch network. For Saab and Volvo we helped to invent new retail networks in the country that gave us Ford and General Motors. We educated the next generation of management of Stop & Shop and Giant.
Do you speak the languages?
Of course. It’s English.
How far along the trend of retail-development is USA?
The innocent bystander might think that US retail is ahead of European retail, but that is certainly not the case. In many aspects European retail has overtaken their American brothers. The powershift away from the BrandManufacturer to the retailers has not taken the impact yet that it has in Europe. in many companies to general level of management is lower than that in Europe. The hard discounters are deploying now and making their an impact felt decades after Europe. Yes, the USA was the homeland of the new shopping malls, but that development is well over its peak as well. There are very good examples in other parts of the world too.
What’s the special challenge for international retailers in USA?
How to choose the right position in this huge country that is saturated with retail formats?How to create the critical mass in a country of 315 million inhabitants?
What company would you like to work for again in the USA?
The middle of the road supermarket chains. I’m sure we can bring them a lesson or two from Europe when it comes to take a position between the hard discounters like Aldi and Trader Joe, the convenience stores, and the upper market chains like WholeFoods. We know in Europe that this development will change the market balance forever. Drastic changes are needed. No more strategic paralysis.
Can you name a project in US that you are proud of?
That should be Citibank. They were one of the first banks with a multichannel strategy. But they found it very difficult to orchestrate their traditional brick and mortar network with call centres, smart phones and ATMs. We found some very innovative ways to align all of these in a simple way. That was not only good for Citibank, if you gave ours invaluable insights in multichannel retail. The same sort of questions that are now facing regular retailers, we already had to tackle in the 1990s.