The Electronic Retailing Association

Foreword to the ERA Global News, Spring 2020

Dear ERA Global Members, Dear Colleagues, Friends and all Readers of the ERA Global Newsletter Spring Edition 2020

Due to the dramatic and unprecedented situation, we have published our newsletter a few weeks later than usually scheduled. When we addressed you with our last newsletter, the world was a different one. Since then a new virus, Covid-19, has spread around the world. It first halted life in China and Eastern Asia and finally led to a global shut down. Many regions have seen dramatic scenes with overwhelmed health infrastructure and only very slowly, the world seems step by step to wake up from this nightmare.

The last time many of us had an opportunity to meet was the ERA GLOBAL Annual General Meeting held in Frankfurt just before this year´s Ambiente started. Next to the approval of the financials and the new members, the most important discussion items went around our new global member structure, global strategy and further global events to cater for all global members.

Since then one thing lead to another. The Board of the International Housewares Association cancelled the 2020 Inspired Home Show. In that context we learned that the ERA Global exclusive member lounge could therefore not take place. Due to national restrictions, international traveling became impossible and also the U.S. authorities started to lock down the country step by step. Of course our partners from the PDMI could not hold their spring event in Miami.

It became predictable that also our summer event in Amsterdam needed to be questioned. Whilst from a legal perspective still possible, it seemed neither reasonable nor responsible to proceed as planned. Our partner, the Amsterdam Hilton, was very cooperative and constructive. We managed to find a solution respecting the needs of our attendees, but also the economic interests of all parties involved. We are happy to announce that our physical conference will be postponed by 12 months. Same location, the date will be June 15th - 17th 2021.

Nevertheless, we will have our EMMA 2020. The application is still open until May 15th. We will celebrate a digital ERA GLOBAL EMMA Awards on the originally scheduled date.

The same also applies to our 1st Timer event: the event where companies which are new to this industry have guaranteed meetings with our key players. This time however, we will organise it all digitally. Our great success from last year will have to be transferred in these times into a digital format. We will keep you posted as we progress with our planning.

We have never seen as many members in our organisation as this Spring. Being a global organisation requires more international events. Unfortunately, we could not have the member lounge in Chicago, but we can already announce that we already plan this event for 2021. The Summer event is also already set for 2021. Beyond that, we will most likely have another conference in Spring 2021. The virtual selection of a location and the negotiations are about to be finalised.

At our Membership Meeting we presented our healthy financial situation but there is no question that our proposed 2020 budget has become unrealistic. Even though we are taking a massive financial hit with our missing summer conference, we are able to allow our members to pay only 75% of the due member fees (or to offer them a 40% discount on their 2021 fees). Being very prudent spending our members money, we are in the lucky situation to have a financial buffer. Nevertheless, common sense from everybody is required to ensure that we cannot merely survive but more than this, continue to create a real global organisation and industry network for all of you.

To conclude, I really do hope you, your colleagues, families and friends are all well and moreover that your businesses will get through these times in the best possible way.

Please enjoy the latest edition of this newsletter. We are convinced that you will find interesting articles and even more inspiration. We would like to gratefully thank all our contributors to this newsletter.

Best regards,

Dr. Julian Oberndörfer

Chief Executive Officer/ Administrateur Delegués

ERA Global