Ever bought something in a store only to put it away and buy it online later?
Or would you rather spend your time researching online before finally making an informed purchase in a physical location?
Undoubtedly, the way we shop has been changing for some time, but the events of the last few years have reinforced this diversification of shopping habits.
As a result, the online and offline retail ecosystem has never been more blended, and digital touchpoints have become a key factor in influencing consumer purchasing decisions.
Like so many global markets, the importance of e-commerce continues to grow in Germany. According to the E-Commerce in Europe 2020 report, 92 percent of Germans buy products online.
Together with France and Great Britain, Germany generates around two thirds of all European e-commerce sales.
This growing market hasn’t escaped the notice of international retailers, many of whom have been at E-Commerce Berlin Expo over the past few weeks.
With the increasing focus on changing retail habits, it came as no surprise that this year’s expo was bigger than ever, with more than 8,000 attendees.
Speakers from some of the best DACH countries were present [Germany, Austria, Switzerland]-based e-commerce companies such as Henkel, Zalando and Otto.
“After a two-year break, we see a sharp increase in interest from foreign companies in the expansion of e-commerce service providers to Germany,” comments Peter Szczepaniak, Managing Partner of the fair.
“In 2022, as many international companies as German service providers will be taking part in the E-Commerce Berlin Expo for the first time.
“It shows how important this market is and any company that has ambitions to be a leader in the industry needs to have a presence here.”
One trend that calls for innovative solutions is omnichannel sales. According to data experts MacKenzie Corp. 86 percent of consumers say they regularly switch channels when shopping.
While many retailers are trying to sell across multiple channels, the challenge is creating seamless connections between each customer touchpoint to ensure the consumer experience is optimized and the journey to purchase is seamless.
One Irish company taking on this challenge and having great success in the German market and operating in over 70 markets worldwide is ChannelSight.
ChannelSight’s ecommerce intelligence platform empowers brands to optimize their journey to purchase by streamlining the customer journey and ensuring their products win the digital shelf. “It’s not about being present everywhere, all the time,” notes co-founder Niall O’Gorman.
“It’s about focusing on the platforms that matter, engaging the consumer with great digital storytelling, and then giving them a seamless path to purchase, whether online or in-store.”
Take Berlin-based KaDeWe [Kaufhaus des Westens] as an example of how innovative German companies adapt to changing purchasing behavior.
Along with the Alsterhaus in Hamburg and the Oberpollinger in Munich, the KaDeWe belongs to the KaDeWe Group. Kadewe.de is their e-commerce platform.
As one of the largest luxury department stores in Europe, after Harrods in London, KaDeWe had high customer expectations when it went online in 2020.
According to Philipp Engelmann, General Manager for the KaDeWe Group’s omnichannel business, it was “important to create an online shopping experience that reflects the luxury of a visit to the KaDeWe department store”.
Another big industry trend is the growing appetite for immersive e-commerce shopping journeys in response to the often impersonal online shopping experience.
According to conversion rate optimization experts, Investp, over a fifth (22 percent) of returns occur because the product looks different than what the customer imagined when they bought it.
Technologies such as augmented reality and 3D rendered virtual store environments have excelled here, allowing shoppers to even speak to avatars in the form of store associates.
Irish company Lahoma is successful in this space with Schaffrath, the leading furniture retailer in the German Rhineland with an impressive 18 physical retail locations.
The Schaffrath Group has been using immersive 3D visualizations from Lahoma since 2021.
“Our mission is to provide Schaffrath customers with an amazing experience in realizing their interior design dreams,” said David Hussey, CEO of Lahoma.
Both Lahoma and ChannelSight attended E-Commerce Berlin Expo with Enterprise Ireland – and there are many opportunities for more ambitious Irish companies in this lucrative e-commerce market.
Cathy O’Shea is Trade Development Executive for the DACH region (Germany, Austria, Switzerland) at Enterprise Ireland. For more information on entering the German market, please contact: email@example.com.
https://www.independent.ie/business/irish/irish-innovation-smoothing-the-way-to-seamless-omnichannel-selling-41697126.html Irish innovation paves the way to seamless omnichannel selling