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We're all competing on a global playing field

Global approaches to staffing and product are key if you are to win over international customers, writes James Knowles.

Yesterday I visited Karstadt in Dusseldorf, where the German department store is set on establishing itself as an international shopping destination via hiring managers from overseas and through its increasingly global product assortment.

The strategy is part of the retailer’s repositioning strategy ‘Karstadt 2015’, which soon to be out-going chief executive Andrew Jennings has been implementing since he was appointed to turn around the ailing business in 2010. However, it is also illustrative of the fact that the borderless nature of ecommerce has opened up a global playing field.

Showrooming - the process by which consumers look at a product in-store before searching online for a better deal often elsewhere - isn’t just about competing with the retailer down the road or the largest domestic competitor online anymore, it could be anyone, anywhere.

And with travel on the rise, particularly among consumers from wealthy nations such as China, an international perspective is what’s needed to lure them in physically, as well as digitally.

In the race to become a leading international retail destination it will be those that achieve this, through product assortment, and hiring the right staff with the relevant experience to help internationalise their businesses, that will win out.


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