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EuropShop 2023 + euro a go go Recap: From Messe Düsseldorf to olive oil lattes, VMSD took a whirlwind tour of Europe this past February and early March.

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AFTER THREE ANTICIPATORY years, EuroShop – the world-renowned triennial trade show event – returned this Feb. 26-March 2 to Messe Düsseldorf in Düsseldorf, Germany. This time around, the VMSD and Shop! Association crew descended on the German host city to take in the sights, sounds and the latest trends in design. As one of the sponsors of this year’s euro a go go, VMSD got to experience a range of cuisine, educational sessions and panels, innovative retail and breathtaking historic sites during our time at EuroShop and beyond.

Around the World 📷 Courtesy of Messe Düsseldorf

Produced by the go go team, euro a go go is a comprehensive, immersive retail and cultural program that takes place in tandem with EuroShop and extends beyond the show for retail tours and experiences in another vibrant European city. This year’s trip took us to Milan, which you can read about more in this recap.

Around the World ABOVE: Exhibitor booths at EuroShop took the term “experiential” to heart and many showcased products and services in engaging, visually driven settings. 📷 Carly Hagedon, Cincinnati

RECAP | EUROSHOP 2023

This year’s show saw 1830 exhibitors and more than 81,000 attendees over the span of four days. Using the Shop! Association booth as a homebase in Hall 4, VMSD Editor-in-Chief Carly Hagedon and Shop! Association Managing Director Dina Meindl explored the 16 jam-packed exhibition halls. Similarly to past EuroShop shows, many companies went above and beyond with expansive booths and hands-on experiences for showgoers. (The exhibition halls housing refrigeration options and rotisserie units were very popular, and you may be able to guess why: Free food and samples!)

“Sustainability” was the hot topic, with many exhibitors highlighting not only their innovative materials but also sustainable business and/or manufacturing processes. Other strategies and philosophies like “connected/smart retail,” “seamless shopping” and “customer centricity” were discussed amongst exhibitors and attendees alike. Technology was also a highlight, with indoor positioning systems/wayfinding GPS on display as well as tech that supports inventory and merchandising management.

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VMSD’s Carly Hagedon took the stage twice during the event to give a presentation on “Bricks-and-Mortar is Here to Stay: The Evolving Role of the In-Store Experience,” on the Retail Designers’ Stage as well as the Retail Marketing Stage. The presentation examined how experience plays a part in creating consumer loyalty and interaction, whether through personalization in store or through the actual design of the space – or through a combination of approaches. Through examples we’ve featured in VMSD, Carly explored how “experience” isn’t just a fly-by-night buzzword.

VMSD’s longtime board member and Iron Merchant Challenge emcee Joe Baer, Founder, CEO and Creative Director of Columbus, Ohio-based ZenGenius Inc., gave a sensory presentation on the Retail Marketing Stage, blindfolding attendees at one point to let their senses guide them. VMSD’s Contributing Photographer Richard Cadan also gave a rousing presentation on the Retail Designers’ Stage (as well as the Store Design Stage), showcasing through photography how retail managed to prevail during one of the most challenging times – the Covid pandemic.

Around the World THIS IMAGE: Euro a go go kicked off its first day of content with a tour of nearby and surrounding Media Harbor area in Düsseldorf, Germany, Feb. 25.

In between these exciting show experiences, euro a go go offered a range of options for their many retailer, designer and supplier attendees, including breakfast educational sessions and panels, as well as discussions on-site at EuroShop.

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Starting with a tour of the Media Harbor Feb. 25, the euro a go go gang took to the streets and ended the first official day with dinner at Riva Restaurant and Bar. After a full day exploring the EuroShop show Feb. 26 (with an optional “Altbier-Safari” microbrewery crawl in between), dinner took place at Brauerei Zum Schiffchen, the oldest restaurant in Düsseldorf, first mentioned in city chronicles in 1628 – even Napoleon reportedly dined here. Monday, Feb. 27, the group had the opportunity to tour Ko-Bogen II, Europe’s largest mixed-use commercial building with a biophilic façade; take a look around Aldi Sud, a new concept store; and explore the extra-large Zurheide Market. The culinary highlight of that evening was dinner at ArabesQ, featuring mouth-watering Arabic entrees. After another full day at EuroShop – featuring content from go go speak and engaging on-site mixers – family-run hotel Gut Dyckhof was the dining attraction Feb. 28, housed in a 17th century domed mansion. During our final, full day in Germany, March 1, a tour of the Zollverein Coal Mine (Ruhr Museum) and the Red Dot Design Museum took place, allowing attendees to steep themselves in history and modernity simultaneously. Dinner took place at Casino Zollverein, part of the complex.

Before we departed for Milan (March 2), go go attendees were invited to the Langen Foundation art gallery. Those staying in Germany before heading home were treated to dinner at Eigelstein for some unforgettable German fare.

Around the World 📷 Carly Hagedon, Cincinnati; Cynthia Hirsch Ortiz, New York

RECAP | EURO A GO GO MILAN

DAY 1: SIGHTS AND SOUNDS

After euroshop concluded March 2, part of the euro a go go group departed Düsseldorf enroute to Milan for several days of experiences and tours.

Situated at the TOCQ four-star hotel, the first full day in Milan (March 3) immediately started with a stop by the famed Starbucks Reserve Roastery, a stone’s throw away from the historic Il Duomo. After watching a hands-on demonstration by our Starbucks Partner guide, groups were taken around the space to witness how beans are roasted on-site. Starbucks’ Oleato Latte – an olive oil latte that, as of this writing, is only available in Italy – made headlines recently across the globe, and the euro a go go group had the opportunity to try them firsthand. [Editor’s note: It was delicious!]

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Around the World ABOVE, RIGHT: Milan’s Starbucks Reserve Roastery is located in a former postal office. Beans are roasted on-site, adding to the immersion.

After departing the Roastery, the group headed to the Il Duomo for a terraces tour. Climbing to the top of the expansive, marble and granite Gothic cathedral – the third largest in Europe with its construction dating back to 1386 – it was immediately apparent through its craftsmanship how much care went into creating (and still goes into maintaining) this aged church, where mass is still regularly held. On its interior, its jaw-dropping 55 stained-glass windows are reportedly the largest in Europe.

Next we enjoyed a rooftop lunch at La Rinascente department store, adjacent to the Il Duomo. As one of the world’s largest department stores, founded in 1917, it boasts 10 floors dedicated to apparel, footwear, jewelry and more. In between lunch and the afternoon’s presentations, some attendees made it over to the new Jordan World of Flight flagship that recently opened in Dec. 2022.

Following lunch, a special presentation was given by Marco Minicucci, Marketing Director of Milano & Partners, the city’s retail arm created by Milan’s municipality and the Chamber of Commerce. Taking place at Palazzo Guireconsulti, a building which was inaugurated in 1654 and is now owned by the Milano Chamber of Commerce, Minicucci discussed the future of development and commerce in the city of Milan.

Around the World ABOVE: Even today, restoration and construction continues on the aged Il Duomo, a historic cathedral in Milan that still hosts mass.

We were then given a guided tour of the Galleria Vittorio Emmanuele II, which opened in 1877. Partially enclosed by a glass-and-iron dome, this is Italy’s oldest active shopping center boasting brands like Prada, Gucci and Louis Vuitton. After exploring this expansive structure, the group was guided down Via Monte Napoleone, nicknamed Montenapo by locals and known as Europe’s most expensive shopping thoroughfare.

During our time here, we stopped by Bottega Veneta, Pinko and Poltrona Frau for personal in-store tours. Luxury retail is the lifeblood of Milan and any retailer or designer who’s been there can attest to the fine detail crafted into each and every store’s design throughout this fashion capital.

We capped off the evening with dinner at Sophia Loren’s restaurant, decorated with imagery of the iconic actress. Served with a copious amount of delectable pizza, we took Sophia’s words of wisdom to heart: “I’d rather eat pizza and drink wine than be a size zero.”

Around the World THIS IMAGE: The residential, 364,173-foot-tall Bosco Verticale features shrubs, plants and trees on its exterior. 📷 Cynthia Hirsch Ortiz, New York

DAY 2: WATCH AND LEARN

For our second full day in Milan, we started with a presentation from COIMA RES, a real estate investment company that manages an impressive portfolio including the Piazza Gae Aulenti, the epicenter of one of Milan’s most modern neighborhoods featuring food and retail. A highlight of this area was the Bosco Verticale, a pair of 364,173-foot-tall buildings containing 11,000 plants, 900 trees and 5000 shrubs – a true vertical garden!

Around the World LEFT: Working with a chef on-site at Farm65 Culinary Hub Milano, teams of go go attendees went up against one another in a playful contest to create items from the curated menu. 📷 Norman Cescut

After lunch, the group was treated to yet another exciting presentation from Peter Di Sabatino, Professor at Politecnico di Milano, School of Design, followed by a trip to the Triennale de Milano, the first museum dedicated to Italian art and design, located in Parco Sempione.

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Dinner went hands-on at Farm65 Culinary Hub Milano where attendees were broken up into groups and worked to cook the evening’s curated menu. Housed in a historic papermill, teams were guided by a chef to complete entrees to share, allowing for more networking and discussion – with a (fun) competitive twist.

Around the World ABOVE: The artwork and wallcoverings throughout Mercato Centrale Milano set a modern tone. 📷 Carly Hagedon, Cincinnati

DAY 3: EXPLORE AND CONQUER

For the last day in Milan, we started at the Mercato Centrale Milano (featured in Brian Dyches’ Next UX column in VMSD’s Oct. 2022 issue), an immersive food hall punctuated by eye-catching graphics in a graffiti/street art style.

Go go guests were then allowed a free afternoon to explore the vibrant city. [Editor’s note: This is when we went back to Starbucks for our second olive oil latte!]

Around the World THIS PAGE: Posh seating areas and tactile materials are a few hallmarks of this eclectic food hall.

The evening was then capped off with a final dinner at Alla Cucina delle Langhe within walking distance of the host hotel.

In the end, EuroShop and euro a go go were both once-in-a-lifetime experiences that were only elevated by the impeccable retail and visual merchandising we got to witness firsthand. We hope to see you in 2026 for the next EuroShop and euro a go go! For photos from both events, stay tuned to vmsd.com. A presto!

For more information regarding EuroShop 2026, please visit euroshop-tradefair.com. For more about euro a go go, please visit euroagogo.com.

PHOTO GALLERY (107 IMAGES)
📷 Carly Hagedon | Norman Cescut | Cynthia Hirsch Ortiz

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