5 questions to leaders in retail: Marius Haubrich, Handelsverband BaWü

Marius Haubrich is the managing director of the Baden Württemberg Trade Association (HBW). Before he held several positions at food retailer Lidl and has been a speaker for the HBW.   

1. Where are you right now?

I am currently sitting in my office in Stuttgart.

2.What was your biggest surprise or positiv learning this year?

Crises are always opportunities at the same time!
In this crisis we as management of the HB were most impressed by how solution-oriented, pragmatic and imaginative the retail sector has been in coping well in the situation. At the same time, we are in great uncertainty about the coming weeks and months to come. One thing is certain though: Retail will change and transform further and even faster than before. 

I experience the Covid19 crisis as very dynamic and somehow exciting event. A constructive “turbo lobbying” was and is the order of the day in our role as the top organisation in Baden-Württemberg’s retail sector. It is our job to deliver the right, up-to-date, and most relevant information, positions and demands to the right target group in the shortest possible time possible so that retailers and politics, can take the “right” measures and actions. This is our day-to-day business and nothing unusual – however, I cannot remember any phase of my private and professional life so far, where I have experienced such dynamics in such a short time and such strong will power to shape things. One learning is very clear and more relevant than ever: success needs allies!

3.Where is your association in the process of digitising the business? What’s next or what has been implemented lately?

We are still a long way from reaching our goal in terms of the possibilities and opportunities of digitisation – for us as an association but also as an industry.

For us – as association – a direct and target group-specific communication on all channels is key. That’s why we will devote ourselves to this topic even more intensively. In our opinion, we are not badly positioned, but we simply have to become even faster and more direct in our communication than ever. Therefore we will continue to develop our online presence, the associated newsletter marketing, social media activities as well as our print publications and our CRM and adapt them to the “new” circumstances.

In addition, we want to support our HBW members and the retail sector even more actively than before with our association’s own range of services in the areas of qualification, individual consulting, think tanks and exchange of experience. Digitisation can provide us with the best possible support in organising our retailers’ business both efficiently and effectively. This is the mission of Sabine Hagmann, the chairwoman of the HBW and myself in my role as managing director.

4. What is your biggest client challenge post-covid?

We are truly convinced that the greatest possible customer orientation, both online and offline, service excellence and the good “old” business virtues are still or even more relevant than ever.

Those who focus on their customer needs and experience will be successful, by connecting with them EVERYWHERE where they are and communicating with them in a familiar and professional manner. It is important that this happens online and offline. In addition, Covid19 has once again confirmed that convenience, reliability and value for money, in addition to the experience factor, are success-determining characteristics for a successful implementation in-store and online.

5. Thy WHY question on purpose: Why does your association and business exist?

We as HBW team want to support our “retail” sector with a professional crisis management. At the same time we want to accompany entrepreneurs of individual branches in their growth and support companies in their future development. It is important for us to encourage especially small and medium-sized retailers, offer solutions and encourage them to seize opportunities. We are aware that it is often not easy to make the right decisions, as these always involve risks. In this cases we are a sparring partner for small and medium-sized companies (SMEs) who are prepared to defy challenges.


Thank you Marius and our readers to stay tuned.

Stay safe. Stay strong. Enjoy the summer, nature, garden or parks.

More interviews in this blog on www.2becontinued.de and linkedin.