The Electronic Retailing Association

Review of the 2019 Budapest Conference

by Dr. Julian Oberndörfer

The golden statues on the grand staircase leading up to the conference area and Grand Ballroom of the Corinthia Hotel

June 2019 – Budapest: this time we decided to take the car, a 'quick drive' from Munich to Budapest.

Reaching Vienna, some doubts crossed our mind, whether driving was actually the smartest decision. However right afterwards the landscape changes and you can already feel the Hungarian Puszta. After a short time, we were rewarded with great landscape and enjoyed a dramatic summer nightfall sky.

Modern navigation made it easy to find the hotel. Overwhelming – imperial architecture, a great lobby, a broad open staircase leading to the second floor. Maybe too much cliché in a great five star hotel, totally refurbished and with great dining and wellness areas.

If you would like to see all the photos from the conference see the gallery on our conference website.

Timekeeper Franziska chinking the glasses to signify time to move on to the next date

The conference highlights

Finally the conference starts. Tuesday morning. 08:45 the first timers arrive to our First Timer Business Speed Dating Event. The event starts at nine. Maybe we should work again on the international notion of time. Nine o´clock means nine o´clock or does it mean, I will come whenever convenient? Note: although 90% seem to have the same understanding - we need to clarify that. Otherwise it will become tricky to arrange meetings for all parties. The meeting is great. 20 first time attending companies get their leads to the main players. The dynamic you can feel in the room in the morning is incredible and the attending companies give great feedback. We should clearly expand this format for next year.

(L-R) ERA Global Chairman Ken Daly, (JML, UK) Andrew Malcher, (Highstreet TV, UK), Dieter Schneider (MediaShop, Austria), John Yarrington from The PDMI, U.S., Jonathan Gregory, (Oak Lawn, Japan), Katie Williams (Ideal Living, US), Fernando Mercenari (Inova, Mexico)

Next on the agenda is the State of the Global Industry from 2018 - 2019 panel. Moderated by Ken Daly, the same panel which was constituted following the demise of ERA (U.S.) discussed what had happened between the dramatic days 12 months ago, when the global industry community was afraid of losing its global ties and therefore the global business network today.

In short, ERA Europe is in transition to ERA GLOBAL. We have established a co-operation with the PDMI to provide international meeting opportunities to the community. The APAC Chapter has been founded and additional networking options are in discussion with various partners.

The PDMI follows the three A´s (availability, affordability and applicability) for their venues and plans to be able to adapt their timing better to the needs of the global calendar.

Jonathan Gregory gave the best summary of the current situation. A year ago for the same panel, the room was packed, everyone was attending to learn about the future of our industry community, today the room is half empty, while people conduct business on the show floor. Apparently the situation is under control.

The inaugural meeting of ERA Global's new APAC Chapter in the Corinthia Hotel Budapest during the conference

Tuesday afternoon the inauguration of the APAC Chapter took place. With a strong participation of current and (future?) member companies, a forum for members from that geographical was founded. A very interesting discussion followed about specifics from India to China to Australia.

ERA Global with its legacy being a European association with 30+ very heterogenic different markets is convinced that starting from finding their common ground, that value, positions and actions will be found and taken for the benefit of all members.

Dr. Julian Oberndörfer welcomes the attendees at the Opening Reception at the end of the first day of the 2019 Budapest Conference

The first day adjourned with the opening reception. Rumour has it that the ERA CEO was seen standing on a table holding a speech. (Editor's Note: that was more than a rumour! :)

Our thanks to the sponsors of the Opening reception Shop Japan.

Also a big Thank You to all of our conference sponsors:

Main Sponsor: Industex

Gold Sponsors: Creative China Creations, JML, and MediaShop

Silver Sponsors: DS Produkte and Telebrands

Bronze Sponsors: Surging Media Group and Creative Concepts.

Jason Kong, Shark Shopping, China, speaking to a large audience at the MCMS Congress

Day Two started with the MCMS, the Multi-Channel Money Streams presentations and panel discussion sessions. The day was packed full with highlights about current and future business opportunities.

One of the highlights was the section on Retail Paradise APAC: Jason Kong (Shark Shopping, China) and Manuj Goyal (Pinkcity Group, India) gave fascinating insights into the chances and challenges of their respective markets.

A further highlight was the discussion on the Disrupted World of TV and especially the Disrupted World of Multi-channel Retail. Andi Latimer gave us great perspectives what is currently happening there.

In the section Multi-channel Trends we had an great update from Jeroen Doucet, ExMachina Group) on Alibaba and discussed Amazon, especially their TV projects.

The regulatory panel (with Dieter Scheider) discussed the Future of Trade Platform – what is fair and balanced Regulation?

Branimir Brkljac, one of our founding fathers concluded the day reviewing the discussions and our future situation.

If you would like to see all the photos from the conference, including the MCMS, see the gallery on our conference website.

The co-hosts of the 4th EMMA Awards ceremony: Dr. Julian Oberndörfer, CEO ERA Europe, and TV host, Astrid van der Staaij

Maybe the highlight of the conference was the EMMA 2019. Charming Astrid van der Staaij lead us through the evening in the great atmosphere of the imperial style ballroom. ERA had never seen as many entries from all over the globe for the awards and has for the first time awarded winners in 10 categories.

Read more about the winners

All the categories winners are our champions, highlights were the Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) award, which went to High Street TV.

Read more about the High Street TV CSR story

As Business Personality of the year award, ERA awarded Judith Williams from HSE24 for her outstanding achievements and career in the Multi-Channel Home Shopping Industry.

Watch a short video message from Judith Williams here which was her acceptance speech.

Arriving at EXTRA for the After Show Party

After the EMMAs had been awarded and the final photos at the press wall were taken, the guests once again descended the grand staircase to the street where shuttlebuses were waiting.

The night ended at the famous and trendy EXTRA Club, where we celebrated our champions at the After Show Party until early in the morning.

Our thanks to the organisers and our After Show Party sponsors, Genius and Tristar, for a most memorable evening.

Next year, we will go North, to the blossoming city of Amsterdam.

Please Save the Date. We will all meet next year from June 9th - 11th for the 2020 Multi-Channel Home Shopping Conference.