RetailDetail started as a small one-person blog in 2009. Ten years later, it is the leading community for retail and FMCG professionals in the Benelux, offering a wide range of products and experiences - from an online and a printed magazine over inspirational tours all over the world to a 'living retail lab' and a number of popular events.
Disruption 'before it was cool'
The start of RetailDetail dates back to the crisis of ten years ago: "It was the worst possible time to start a publishing company", founder Jorg Snoeck recalls. However, it turns out that there was quite a demand for a platform that allowed professionals from the retail and FMCG worlds to connect around a concrete base of knowledge, inspiration and networking.
"Already in the early days, a loyal community of readers formed, that told us they were eager to meet each other on activities and inspirational tours. From this feedback came the RetailDetail Night in 2011 and the RetailDetail Congress soon afterwards: these still exist (the Night in November, the Congress in April) and have become the centre of the retail year in Belgium. The networking on these events has even formed alliances that made major business deals happen", Snoeck is proud to tell.
"In fact, we did exactly the same thing as disruptors do now: starting an online reach and then expanding to the offline world. We started with a website and then a newsletter, then moved to printed magazines and events. Later still we opened The Loop, where we made a real-world depiction of what a modern (and future) customer journey looks like. That was an eye-opener: retail professionals could for the first time submerge themselves in what the new retail is like."
The (customer) journey everywhere
The Loop soon became RetailHub, offering a more elaborate customer journey and a wider range of inspiration - currently there are inspiration tours in the RetailHub itself, wider tours through innovative stores in Antwerp and workshops. "We found there was a need to see and experience the latest retail concepts in person: with an expert guide, but - and this is equally important - also with a compatible group of participants, who can share their views and experiences with each other."
This meant the birth of our RetailHunts: starting with tours in Antwerp, now the concept has widened to include tours in China, Denmark and Germany's innovative capital Berlin. This year will also feature our first RetailHunts to New York and Tokyo.
World's first living retail lab
What is next for the new ten-year-old? A seismic shock will be the opening of our Future of Shopping retail laboratory in Antwerp's iconic Stadsfeestzaal shopping centre. "I am grateful to the many partners that have already decided to join us in this experiment, the first really living retail lab in the world." Moreover, RetailDetail will launch a subscription model for more exclusive insights.
"You know, in fact we become a new company every three years, if you look at our history. We aim to maintain that speed in the future: in a fluid world you always have to put your sails to how the wind blows. But at first, we want to really celebrate our tenth anniversary during the events we still have this year - starting with next month's RetailDetail Day featuring Ann Claes (JBC) and Annick van Overstraeten (Lunch Garden)."