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K5 Berlin 2016

K5 Berlin 2016 – Being just an online retailer is no longer enough

A look back at the start of the K5 Berlin conference.

The day at K5 Berlin began with an urgent appeal by keynote speaker Dr. Martin Schulte, Managing Director at Oliver Wyman. “Retailers need to learn to be more than just retailers,” he said to sum up his talk.

This call holds a number of dimensions that have either opened or further developed through new technologies. How diversely retailers are positioned nowadays and the possibilities they have explored to date determined a large part of the talks at K5 Berlin. 

Development potential for online retailers – 5 themes

In the summary of opinions, visions, and recommendations we have identified 5 themes with which online retailers will concern themselves in the near future.

1. Big Data for Personalization

“It makes absolutely no sense to show all customers the same product view.” – Tarek Müller, Co-Founder, and CEO of About You

Although diligently collected on shopping portals, customer data is often not used intelligently. Yet customer profiles play a huge role in the personalization of online shopping deals. The blessing of not being limited to a physical retail space anymore is becoming a curse the shopper due to the continuously growing assortment. They don’t want to choose from 80 black T-shirts, in which 50 don’t match their personal style, wallet or size. A preferred means to detect those customer preferences right down to the smallest detail is the integration of a wish list.

Thus, the future calls for the personalization of online shopping experiences. These include measures such as curated deals (like Outfittery has impressively demonstrated) and personalized product views. But only with Big Data and AI-based technologies can personalization be efficiently and effectively implemented.

2. Cross Selling – opening new value pools

“Our reach and detailed customer profiles have the potential for an additional role as a consultant for agencies and brands.” – Dr. Caren Genther-Kappesz, Managing Glossybox

Digitization is forcing retailers to deal with new value pools and cross-selling opportunities.

The direct sale of physical products is just one way of monetization. Particularly disruptive startups rely on an alternative approach. They create platforms to then monetize additional services and gadgets. The platform can be a hardware (PlayStation), software (freemium apps) or a service (rental of smart home security systems). An example in which the hardware is even offered “free” is the sales model of large telephone companies for smartphones. The customer receives the equipment free of charge, in exchange for signing a two-year contract.

Additional services can arise in other ways too. Dr. Caren Genther-Kappesz, new Managing Director of Glossybox gave an example of how the Glossybox community shares information that is valuable for agencies and companies. This results in a service that is not directly related to the existing business model.

3. Mobile

“Mobile commerce works only by maximum simplicity, personalization and fun.” – Ruppert Bodmeier, Director Business Development DGROUP

Offline, desktop, and now mobile – is this all cannibalizing itself? No, many retailers actually experience the opposite. However, mobile will continue to become increasingly important in the future. The experience of online retailers and merchants reveals that mobile is booming in Asia and in the United States, while in countries such as Italy and Spain it’s just beginning, and Germany is at the middle, witnessing a rising trend.

In their summaries, all mobile advocates have demanded that mobile commerce must become more “thumbs up”. Copies of existing desktop solutions or copies with small mobile-optimized adjustments simply don’t fair for user habits.

After initial test runs, the big German fashion players have already got the first app-relaunch behind them. With this, each retailer hopes to reach their “iTunes moment”. Both Zalando and About You have set the mobile core element on discoveries. You want the customer to feel inspired and encourage them to discover. The connection with social media plays a major role. Customers can share their wish lists or follow influencers to see their assortments. Even with apps personalization (see point 1) is the focus, extended by another element: digital storytelling.

4. Retailers to become Storytellers

“Our goal is to create snackable, memorable moments.” Nuzhat Naweed, Head of Mobile Engineering Zalando

The idea that combining products and content creates a relevance that leads to lasting success was referenced multiple times at the K5 Berlin. Content can promote product discovery, boost referral marketing and strengthen customer loyalty.

Content can be the link between products and events (in the case of About You: Hey, in 3 weeks the dinner-in-white will be held in Hamburg, have you got your outfit?); the weather (19° C this weekend – the camping season begins. See the must-have gadgets for this year); or the classic newsletter or customer magazine. Relevance ignites needs more quickly and stronger.

The more touch points a customer has with the retailer, the stronger the customer loyalty becomes. A strong customer loyalty has shown to lead to better recommendations and more frequent purchases.

5. Technology Partnerships

“Ecommerce players are much too cautious when it comes to technical partnerships.” Dr. Martin Schulte, Managing Director Oliver Wyman

Looking at the range of possibilities, one realizes that a quick implementation is only possible if ecommerce players form partnerships with technology providers. Retailers spend too much valuable time developing internal solutions, which then still have to be tested. With all the challenges facing online retailers, their focus should be on their core competencies.

We speak from experience! We often have merchants and retailers be amazed at how much internal work can be spared with the use of our platform. This certainly holds true for many technologies.

Closing thought

Despite the K5 Berlin being held at noon, the talk that drew a great finale for us came from Dr. Florian Heinemann, Project A Ventures. He said, “We could actually do better than just copying the United States. For this, we need to build alliances and test worldwide more quickly. “.

We were definitely inspired by K5 Berlin and hope you were too!


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