View from above showing a table with lots of people sitting at computers


A business hackathon called ‘Retail Hack’ has taken place in a bid to pool ideas and develop new and creative ideas for sustainable business concepts. Organised by IFH Cologne and the Händler helfen Händlern (retailers help retailers) initiative, the event took place from 15 to 17 April 2020 and was attended by 150 participants, seeing 29 ideas finally submitted to the jury for evaluation. The winners have been chosen and the pilot process can now be launched.

The coronavirus crisis has hit the retail trade particularly hard. After the crisis, retail trade will not be the same as before. This is why the aim of the business hackathon was to develop sustainable business concepts for the time after the shutdown. Drawing 150 participants, the ‘Retail Hack’, which took place under the patronage of the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy, was a great success as it identified new measures and approaches to safeguard the future of the retail industry.

Thomas Bareiß, Federal Government Commissioner for SMEs and Parliamentary State Secretary at the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy said: "I am impressed by the diversity and creativity of the concepts for boosting the retail sector and city centres. It is now important that companies and cities get together to implement these ideas."

"The main aim of this cooperation was to inspire each other and to move forward as a result," said Dr Eva Stüber, member of the management board at IFH Cologne. "We are setting an example by approaching new things with a spirit of action and a culture of error instead of working towards perfection. This energy has also sparked a strong feeling of optimism in the groups.”

The participants including retailers, manufacturers and service providers from different fields worked together in interdisciplinary groups of participants who did not know one another. In this way, participants with the most diverse views came together and entered into intensive discussions. As a result, creative and innovative ideas were developed that can be implemented in the short and medium term.

"Together we are even stronger and faster – this is the key thing I have learned from the first Retail Hack. I would like to extend a big thank you to all partners who jumped on board so quickly and made this flexible approach possible," said Marcus Diekmann, CEO of Rose Bikes and initiator of

At the end of the hackathon, 29 ideas were submitted, which were then judged by a jury made up of representatives from the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy, HDE, bevh and others. At closer view, it quickly became clear that the ideas with the highest estimated potential for value creation were all considered to be innovative and creative. This said, not all innovative and creative ideas automatically had an impact on value creation. Due to the large number of good ideas submitted, the decision was taken to set up idea clusters. Now it is time to put these ideas into practice, with the pilot process about to be launched.

About the Retail Hack:

The Retail Hack is a competition of ideas organised by IFH Cologne in cooperation with the pro bono initiative Händler helfen Händlern (retailers help retailers). Under the initiative, retailers, manufacturers and service providers from the trade sector are working together in an interdisciplinary manner to develop sustainable business concepts for the ‘post-coronavirus’ period. The initiative is being carried out under the patronage of the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy. Further partners of the Retail Hack are the companies atrify, Datorama, Key-Work, Magento commerce, ratenkauf by easyCredit, Roqqio, SAP and shopware.

You can learn more about the outcome of the hackathon on the Retail Hack website and in the ‘Retail Hack talk’ held on April 29, 2020 at 4:30 p.m. More information is available at the following link: (in German).

Press contact IFH Köln
Lara Kersken
+49 (0) 221 94 36 07-827 (in German)