An interview with Regan Du Preez.
In-store advertising is a highly competitive industry that requires constant innovation and adaptation to keep up with changing consumer behaviours and preferences. The EuroShop trade fair held every three years, is a key event for industry leaders to showcase their latest products, technologies, and strategies. This year’s edition happened in Düsseldorf, Germany. The show drew attendees from all over the world, including Regan du Preez, the chief operating officer of Smart Media, one of the leading in-store advertising specialists in South Africa. In this exclusive interview, we sit down with Regan to learn more about his experience at EuroShop 2023 and his insights into the future of in-store advertising.
Why did you go to the EuroShop 2023 expo?
We were invited to attend by our business partners Araven. Smart Media are the sole distributor and primary agents for their high-end baskets and trolleys in sub-Saharan Africa. Attending the event was a chance for us to connect with their international agents and distributors, and support the launch of their new commercial brand Shop n Roll.
What did you get up to at the event?
On 25 February, the networking began with a chance to meet various international distributors of Shop n Roll. There were representatives from all over the world. Such an expansive global audience was very impressive.
Araven presented the status of the company to us and then launched the new brand. Their presentation included a review of the company’s progress. The meeting also gave agents and distributors an opportunity to present the current status of market trends in their home country. Describing the challenges they face, the rate of their sales, etc. It was a great opportunity to share information and learn from colleagues abroad.
I had the pleasure of presenting an overview of what is happening in South Africa. Of course this included a description of the economic factors that affect our market, including global issues like inflation, but also more localised issues like load shedding, a topic many attendees were interested in hearing more about. Another key aspect often mentioned was the Rand to Euro exchange rate.
We were then treated to a dinner where the conversation continued and our regional knowledge and experience was shared further. For instance, the representative from Argentina expounded on the challenge of operating in a high-inflationary environment (roughly 90%). This perspective was very valuable and helped each of us gain a better grasp of the general perceptions in the global industry.
The EuroShop Expo itself began on 26 February. The event was held in 16 different halls with 2,000 exhibitors, spread over 120,000 square metres. Needless to say I did a lot of walking and most attendees wore the same style of white sneakers, prioritising comfort over style. Since the event was so big I needed to devise a route plan to make sure I maximised my time. I spent most of my time in the retail marketing hall.
EuroShop is the number one retail trade fair in the world. It was my first time attending and I was amazed at the sheer scale of it all. It’s like the Rand Show on steroids. It only happens once every three years and the last instalment was interrupted by Covid.
Did any exhibitors stand out for you?
Too many to mention them all! The general quality of the stands was brilliant. I imagine they pulled out all of the stops because the 2020 edition had been missed. The setups included LED walls displaying vibrant visuals with cutting-edge projection capabilities and high-level aesthetics.
It was great to see that solutions we provide, like the Digital Shelf Strips, which can play video, are relevant in the global retail marketing industry. The new stock keeping units in the Dispensary & OTC areas we provide have been so successful in moving stock that I was interested in the replenishment of stock-keeping solutions showcased at EuroShop 2023. The advances in this technology space are really impressive. From high-tech laser powered stock counting devices, to the simple idea of using weight measurement to calculate how much stock is left on a shelf, the level of innovation was eye-opening.
It was this part of the experience which particularly resonated with Smart Media’s mission to bring innovative in-store advertising solutions to South Africa. Attending this event gives Smart Media the opportunity to remain at the cutting-edge of technology innovations in the retail marketing industry. This is vital to provide maximum value to retailers, advertisers and consumers.
What was the highlight of the trip for you?
Although the EuroShop Expo was amazing, my favourite part of the trip was being able to visit my daughter who is studying in Germany. We did some sightseeing but also some shopping so I had the chance to be on the other side of the consumer journey. The time with family was good but I couldn’t help but take mental notes of what made the shopping experience more valuable to the consumer that could be implemented back in SA. Overall it was an incredibly valuable trip.
Regan Du Preez is the COO of Smart Media, in-store advertising specialists. If you would like to know more about Smart Media be sure to visit the website: www.smartmedia.co.za.