March 07, 2019
“Plenty of talking and discussing”
Baselworld begins in two weeks. How important is it for you?
Wilhelm Rüschenbeck: Baselworld is one our industry’s most decisive trade shows. All the watch brands that are important to us can be found there, as well as many jewellery manufacturers from France and Italy, for example. Visiting gemstone dealers is also important for us. With regard to watches, we place great importance on viewing innovations and cultivating contacts. For jewellery, especially precious stones, we are actively seeking for new cooperations. Despite all the potentials that the digital world offers us today, it is important for people to meet in person and talk to each other. This is only possible in Basel, where we can meet an enormously large number of people from all over the world in just one week. Without Basel, we would have to travel around the globe and spend weeks on airplanes.
Your jewellery store is a traditional family business. Do you have childhood memories of the show?
Wilhelm Rüschenbeck: My father first time took me with him to Basel when I was eight years old. I was fascinated! As a young boy, I was already interested in what was happening at the fair and in the industry. Of course, the show was very different back then!
Baselworld is changing again now. What do you expect from your visit to Baselworld?
Wilhelm Rüschenbeck: The most important thing for us is to meet key manufacturers within just one week’s time. This enables us to take decisions within a short space of time – and those decisions affect us far into the year.
What do you consider to be an indispensable part of your visit? What do you definitely plan to do in Basel?
Wilhelm Rüschenbeck: Our employees arrive in Basel one day prior to the show. We all meet at a restaurant that evening. That’s where the teams from our stores come together, arriving in Basel from all points of the compass. It is an important get-together. Naturally, one of the topics that we discuss is what innovations we can expect to see at Baselworld. There is plenty of talking and discussing.
The retail sector is facing major challenges. To be prepared for the future, you too must address new target groups and attract younger customers. How can you achieve this?
Wilhelm Rüschenbeck: Of course, the digital world is also changing our industry, but not as quickly and not as strongly as it is affecting other industries. Customers behave differently with luxury goods than with ordinary products for daily consumption. It is immensely important for our customers to be able to inform themselves online in advance. We also use digital instruments to address them and arouse their interest. However, for merchandise above a certain price level, a customer wants to come into the shop personally and look at the product “in the flesh”, so to speak. Touch and feel will also remain very important for younger customers in the luxury sector.