Do our cities need digital guides?

In Herne, from the middle of the year, digital guides are to be used, which will be tailored to the needs of retailers and other service providers for a digital platform. This is the result of a workshop last autumn. The business promotion of Herne together with a team of the Future Retail Init (operator of the FUTURE CITY Langenfeld) had called for talks with stakeholders from the individual trade districts of the city. The topic: “How can we bring together digital and stationary trade?” Now there was the grant agreement of the same name of the promotion of the state of NRW.

We are delighted that the jointly developed concept for the city of Herne was able to convince the jury, and would like to take a closer look at the sponsor model that accompanies the dealer on the way to the digital world:

Start-up support through know-how transfer

The corresponding research has shown that the knowledge of the dealers is often still incomplete. The impacts of online presence, social media, personalized customer interaction and networking are not well known. In the workshop, action fields were identified in order to develop the missing competencies:

  • The elimination of mental barriers and the creation of a problem-consciousness in stationary traders
  • Forcing the searchability on the Internet
  • Establishment and initiation of cooperations and partnerships
  • Establishment of company-internal, technical infrastructure
  • Developing on online basic knowledge

Standards and training concepts

The aim is to create a transposable framework of action, consisting of standards, approach models and training concepts in the aforementioned areas. Every retailer in the city should not only be allowed to participate in the digitisation process, but also to be facilitated by easy access. To this end, so-called “digital guides” are established, which are available to the dealer as a sponsor in all questions. The profile and the recruitment of the sponsors are organised in cooperation with the surrounding universities. This results not only in the rapid multiplication of the concept but also in the intergenerational exchange and a common problem understanding.

The exchange of knowledge between the individual parties – traders, universities, companies – is, in our opinion, inevitable in times of digital development. In co-operation and partnerships, competencies and strengths can be better used and in the end, all sides will certainly profit from it.


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