The internet is becoming a store, that much was clear at the end of 2013. But even if virtual furniture shopping has become part of everyday life – according to Bitkom, 23 percent of internet users had purchased furniture or furnishings online at the beginning of 2013 – this still isn’t possible without some kind of visit to the furniture store. According to eBay study – Zukunft des Handels – it is important for three out of four consumers think that furniture distributors offer their products stationarily as well as in the web.
The national association of e-commerce and shipping trade Germany (bevh) started an initiative for the topic sustainability this year. According to the association, around 35 percent of all member companies are already committed to sustainability and accept corporate responsibility for the environment and for society. The associated task force has already met:
Admittedly, it can be hard work coping with everyday life, while snapping the obligatory selfies along the way. Not for long- thanks to the selfie bot, constantly showing your best side has never been easier. The gently floating robot circles around you continueally and uploads photos directly to facebook.
What does an online shop in B2B have to be able to offer? What differentiates B2B e-commerce from B2C? The basic criteria can be summarised as six challenges:
- The shop is aimed at smaller, homogenous user groups
- B2B shops are often used by the same customers for the same products
- The emphasis is therefore on finding the product and completing the order quickly. Compared to B2C, time saving functions such as savable wish lists, are more important than design.
The trend towards personalisation in e-commerce is picking up speed. It isn’t just been about location anymore. Customer address, as well as prices and products shown in the shop are increasingly being adjusted according to the situation and preferences of the customer. For instance, shops are optimised for the gender shopping there most often, prices change according to time, day, and wallet size, and the weather is taken into account on electronic billboard advertising.
Admittedly, 8select is the runt of the curated shopping providers. It also is currently difficult not to disappear in the shadow of Outfittery, who have millions in funding, shine with a TV spot and who brought home the prize for “Leader in the Digital Age” at the CeBit 2014.
How to survive? Be just as fast paced. Hone the concept, before Outfittery goes in the direction of the mass market. Because even if the Berlinians have the media buzz on their side at the moment, I find the innovations at 8select more interesting.
The concept has been known for a long time for flights and hotel rooms: when they are booked is decisive for the price. The Wall Street Journal wrote a little while ago, that the process has now spread to consumer goods, which should already sound familiar to Amazon shoppers. The whole thing calls itself dynamic pricing strategy.
Who’d have thought it? In the USA, men have overtaken women in online shopping.
Looking at the abundance of new business models which the men, and only the men, have declared their new target group, this news does not seem so surprising. A good example is the service of DollarShaveClub.com. It isn’t just the prices of the subscription razors there that are convincing, but the corresponding viral video as well.
Several start-ups are currently attempting to create a satisfying shopping experience for men and to overcome the hurdles which put them off classic shopping. Even if men appear to be a simpler target group, there is still room for improvement. It has been proved that women make the more satisfied online customers.
Information gathering in B2B is still rather traditional, print media are trusted the most. The catalogue’s popularity is still enormous; however, it is losing meaning in the face of online contents.
This can be seen, for example, in the statistics on the economic situation in shipping trade 2013 from the bevh. Online ordering channels are being used more strongly in comparison to the year before, whereas print is decreasing. Online marketing and sales persons as distribution channels are on the rise.
How do I create content in B2B? Not every product is attractive and has an exciting background story. This problem, which has already caused headaches in B2C, is even more prevalent in B2B. Most companies in this area can more or less be placed in the ‘boring industries’ category. How is it possible to create and market interesting, comprehensive content here?
Ross Hudgens, who calls himself a content-marketing expert with a SEO background, has a plethora of tips and ideas for this challenge.
Go into depth: Naturally, there is hardly a manufacturer which can compete with B2C enterprises, such as Zalando, when it comes to image and product attractiveness. However, there are numerous points of connection which could interest customers, partners, and the branch. They aren’t sexy, but relevant and not as self-explanatory as one would think from an inside perspective.