Part 1 of the end-of-year review
Year 2013 is drawing to a close – Now is the time to recapitulate the developments of ecommerce and to wonder: what is in store for us in 2014?
Digitization is and will remain the primary topic in commerce. Multi-Screen, Responsive Design, Click-&- Collect, Same-Day-Delivery – there is no lack in technical terms. At this point, we want to clarify important factors. Which challenges are new? How can merchants and manufacturers manage to connect online and offline channels? Today, we present the first part of our article, the second part is to be released next week.
In the course of the year it has become clear that Cross-Channel is the new Multi-Channel. Here, it is not only about supplying every available channel to the customer, but also connecting those to each other usefully. In that case, usefully means evoking an additional value – from the customer’s point of view. Eventually, that is already the most important development for 2014. Even if it is not new, the orientation of the entire supply chain towards the customer satisfaction is more controversial than it has ever been. That results from the fact that only the customer satisfaction builds consistent customer relations and thus long-term success.
The condemned live longer – the store experiences a comeback
Cross-Channel has lots of faces. Stationary merchants deciding to introduce an online store as marketing channel is already old hat, but it also runs in another direction. Online Pure Players such as Zalando, Urbanara and even ebay stir out of the ecommerce by opening so-called pop-up-stores. The haptic experience is supposed to convince consumers of the retailer’s reliability and quality. That way, offline – and online concepts strengthen each other. Thus it becomes apparent that basically no one can avoid implementing Cross-Channel.
The matter is not online OR offline, the consumers have noticed the advantages of both concepts long ago. It is more about die connection of all channels to form strategies that cause advantages for all participants: consumers, manufacturers and the trade.
From hype to daily routine
The customer is way ahead of the development. He still enjoys rambling through the shopping streets, but simultaneously he scours the most respective online stores for better offers. Merchants and manufacturers should not reject that development as technic hype but rather admit that the requirements of the 21st century have now also reached them. Especially offline retailers that are spoiled by success such as Karstadt and Galeria Kaufhof have trouble with the digitalization. In his article “Die neue Kundenorientierung” (“The new customer orientation”) Gerrit Heinemann surely describes the situation appropriately saying that the internet was still “new land” to lots of German merchants.
Do not fear digital!
The customers are of a totally different opinion. They have already been using all offered possibilities of exchanging opinions, rating products, searching for the best, most reasonable and fastest offer online as well as offline – underway, at home or at work. Multi-Screen and Mobile Shopping are not a hype anymore – they are daily routine long since.
BUTLERS, that has recently been elected to be the “Consigner of the year 2013” proves that this development does not necessarily be threatening for merchants and manufacturers. The Cologne family enterprise that joined the ecommerce in 2007 has managed to recognize the changed customer requirements within 5 years. Thus, they have capitalized on it. Today, one can take advice per video telephony and attend virtual tours through their stores at the online store. BUTLERS shows that practised Cross-Channel-Retailing and opened communication channels increase the profits of the online stores as well as the offline stores.
Read the second part of our end-of-year review and receive information about the changes in terms of store design and brand power of 2014.