Michaela Merz


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Closeness to the customer


Klaus Steves / pixelio.de

The last five years or so I have observed how my clients, who previously had no contact with their end customers and marketed their products only via distributors, are trying to get close to their end customers. They collect data about the customers as often as possible. They try to eliminate the distributors and to gain a better understanding of what the market needs. A stronger link to the end customers is the clear trend. The end result is that we buy almost everything on-line and the contact with living persons becomes ever less frequent.

I can remember how, as a small child I went with my grandmother to the dairy to fetch fresh milk in the morning. That was a social occasion. Grandmother always dressed her hair carefully and applied the light red lipstick. In the dairy they was only a single saleslady, of whom I was in fear and at the same time she fascinated me without end. She was tall and very loud. She wore white clothes, a white apron and in her short hair a white lace headband, which restrained her wavy hair. She also wore red lipstick, but compared with my grandmother not a decent red, but a shining, screaming red. My grandmother called her Schkobiska. What her name really was, I don’t know.

But it was never only a question of buying milk or curd. We were also seldom alone in the shop. In the morning the shop was the social centre of the district. One exchanged news, complimented one another on new clothes or received sympathy, if something unpleasant had happened in the family. I liked going with grandmother and always looked forward with suspense to what we would experience today. In addition to the dairy products, grandmother received the local news (hot from the press) and also contact with the social community, although we lived in a capital city.

My mother now orders much of her food on-line, which is then delivered home. That is practical, convenient and she doesn’t have to carry heavy bags. We taught her this, when she had broken her leg and couldn’t go shopping. But almost every day she still goes to the shop round the corner to buy something small. It’s not the shopping as such, but the walk and meeting all the many people she has known for decades (including many former pupils) and with whom she exchanges news or also receives and gives empathy.

It may be that in the near future we will buy most things from the Internet. Clever algorithms will answer our questions and pick out what is suitable for us. But for human encounters we will have to pay extra and the empathy will be sold as a separate service.


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So verliert man Kunden


Ich liebe UNIQLO. Das ist der Laden, der Roger Federer seit Neuestem einkleidet und der Laden, den es in der Schweiz nicht gibt.

Ich entdeckte UNIQLO zufällig, als ich in New York unterwegs war. Ich war zu Fuss von einer Kundenbesprechung in Richtung meines Hotels unterwegs und es begann wie aus Kübeln zu regnen. Ich hatte keinen Schirm dabei und brauchte Schutz und der nächste Eingang war jener von diesem Laden. Ich habe Shopping nicht gern. Continue reading


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Pauline’s story


I met Pauline during the holidays while shopping. It’s incredible, how small the world is. I had not seen her for at least 15 years. Pauline had changed but her hairstyle was still the same as back then. And because one does have time to chat during the holidays, we went to a nearby café after shopping in order to catch up on all the important changes in our lives. Continue reading


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Online shopping: PwC Total Retail Survey 2015


Photo_R_RGB_SH14_D4_JA_5190.jpgFifteen years ago, in the heyday of the e-business boom, internet promised to change industries and business models very quickly, first of all in retail trade. When these promised changes did not realise very quickly, this resulted in the bursting of the dot-com bubble. Continue reading


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2nd advent in Madrid – traces of the economic crisis?


Business required it that in December I visited London, New York and Madrid. It is Christmas atmosphere everywhere. There is glitter at every corner; nativity sets and nut crackers (the hit of the London season) are in the shop windows and Christmas songs sound from the shops. Fundraisers try it more reserved like in London or they rock and rap like in New York to motivate the hearts to donate.  Continue reading


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2. Advent in Madrid – Spuren der Wirtschaftskrise?


Das Geschäft verlangte es, dass ich im Dezember London, New York und Madrid besuchte. Es weihnachtet überall. Glitzer hängt an allen Ecken, Krippen und Nussknacker (der Hit der Londoner Saison) stehen in den Schaufenstern, Weihnachtslieder tönen aus den Geschäften. Die Spendensammler probieren mal zurückhaltender wie in London oder rockend und rappend wie in New York die Herzen zum Spenden zu motivieren. Continue reading


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Shopping in Lisbon


When it comes to shopping, Lisbon is a city of unexpected fortune for me. Six years ago I was flying from Sao Paolo to Lisbon. We arrived in the morning and my connection flight was only in the late afternoon. It was February and sales offers were all around the city. I thought it a great opportunity to replenish my business wardrobe. Continue reading