The Electronic Retailing Association

The State of the Global Industry - ERA Europe is in transition to ERA Global

by Dr. Julian Oberndörfer

The famous “tratado de Tordesillas” from 1494, a contract between Spain, Portugal and the Pope, divided the known world in two halves. It would probably be farfetched to assume that the affiliate agreement between ERA and ERA Europe had the same global consequences but, with the global affiliate agreement between the two associations, the activities of ERA Europe were geographically restricted to Europe and the Middle East.

Since the closure of ERA U.S., we have seen a change in our membership structure. Several members from Eastern Asia, as well as members from the Americas, have joined and already turned ERA Europe into a global association...only our name currently remains unchanged.

This change in the regional composition of our members will have an impact on the scope of our association. With the abrupt end of ERA (U.S.), ERA Europe clearly committed itself to focus 100% on maintaining the global industry structure. A first measure reflecting this commitment was to organise global communication to ensure Las Vegas 2018 and, in doing so, avoiding that the community falls apart. Opening up the offer of membership to companies from any part of the world has been another step. as well as our recently concluded partnership with the PDMI in the U.S. so that a global conference series at member rates can be provided to our industry community.

Already in Fall at our board meeting and in January 2019 at our Membership Meeting in Munich, the effects of these changes regarding the association structure were discussed. The change of the distribution of our members might lead to a shift of the association´s activities focus, organisational structure as well as allocation of the respective financial funds. All these changes will require invisible but intensive detailed labour, e.g. adapting our association´s name will require a change of the Belgium bylaws which means a vote of 75% of the members and an approval of 66% of the votes. Therefore the 2019 focus will remain on collecting member companies from all over the globe and providing additional and new member benefits. At the end of 2019 we will review the status quo of the organisation and then deduce the required adaption of the organisation.

However, ERA has already secured the brand ERA Global to demonstrate its global mission and understanding, in order to embrace all existing and new members.

ERA Europe has also explored its capacity to act and organise venues on a global level (always regarding the global schedule of the industry and other important events) and will explore co-operation with the Chicago Houseware Show, Ambiente and potential venues in Asia.

We will adapt step by step and plan all these changes diligently and in constant discussion with our member companies.

We are looking forward to shaping a global structure and future together with all our member companies.