Brands are becoming (service) platforms: Top-5 commerce trends, revisited [Part 2]

Marken als Netzwerker auf Service Plattformen Spinnennetz
Source: pixabay

When it comes to trends, you usually expect the latest and coolest developments. The fact that many of the trends that are driving digital business, but have been around for quite some time, was clear in the first part of this retrospective series. Even after three decades of World Wide Web, nothing is changing the maxims for successful business. Customer satisfaction and long-term customer relationships.

In order to make them successful, retailers, manufacturers and publishers have to create their own digital DNA and that also means recognising trends with long-term viability for their business goals AND their target group, reviving them, (re)thinking, and creating innovation from them. One of these classic trends is platforms. Since this topic still has, well actually since 2019, been booming, we’ll discuss it in the second part of this article series: Top-5 commerce trends, revisited.

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Digital business is more than e-commerce: Top-5 commerce trends, revisited [Part 1]

Trends revisited PC Monitor und Tastatur vintage
Source: pixabay

Spring is here. Often times the change in the early summer season is reason enough for many to clean up, organise, get rid of stuff, and get a new start. Throw away or keep? Everyone knows there are certain things that you just can’t and shouldn’t part with, no matter how old they are.

The same goes for trends. There are also classics in digital business that have lost nothing in value after more than 20 years and definitely do not belong in a »throwaway box«. We would like to introduce you to these trends and why it’s so important to bring them to the forefront again after all this time, to emphasise them, and to revive them in the current circumstances.

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WÜRTH receives the 2019 Shop Award

Würth Siegerfoto Shop Award 2019
Source: Daniel Ingold

Skilled craftsmanship and digitisation. If you don’t think one can benefit from another, the results of the 2019 Shop Áwards should be the final nail in the coffin to put that reasoning to bed. After all, whoever succeeds in transferring classic retail virtues from analogue to digital, and with great success, rightly deserves the coveted award: Online shop of the year. That’s what our client WÜRTH was told they had when they were in Munich and took first place in the category: 2019 Best B2B Shop.

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»Thanks to automated processes, sales staff have more time for personal customer care.« – Handelskraft speaker Achim Ahrens Interview

Source: dotSource

Online shopping doesn’t end after a purchase. Many companies are now aware of this. But what does it take to be successful in the digital business in the long term? Whether B2C or B2B, it’s important to offer the customer added value beyond the product purchase. And how does that succeed? With all-round service. In the digital age, however, this is no longer exclusively in the hands of the sales department. So the challenge is to transfer the analogue customer relationships into digital. Important factor: Customer Relationship Management. But with the selection and introduction of a suitable CRM system it’s not done, because as well as the customers, a system wants to be understood and maintained.

Frequently this means a restructuring (if not a complete reorganisation) of organisational and process structures. MEVACO also experienced this. On 28 March 2019, Achim Ahrens, e-commerce manager at MEVACO GmbH, will give practical insights into the technical and internal requirements at Handelskraft 2019, which will entail the implementation of a CRM system. In our interview with him, he discusses the topic with us before the conference!

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B2C vs. B2B – online marketplaces put to the test [5 Reading Tips]

netzwerk, wasser, regentropfen
Source: pixabay

Whether online, marketplace, or social media – consumers have more and more opportunities to find and buy goods and services from around the world online. However, marketplaces attract the majority of consumers’ online attention.

The user benefits are obvious: a varied selection, good and fast service, and the possibility to find desired products directly via the search function. In addition to the biggest players such as Amazon and eBay, there are now other marketplaces, with a strong focus on reduced prices quietly take a share of the market and secures customers. Is there a new niche about that?

The status quo and beyond of B2C marketplaces are under scrutiny. New B2B developments in the context of the platform era also provide a new perspective on the offer of goods and services. That’s why today we’re taking a look at the role of marketplaces in both areas.

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What are the success factors for the creation of an online configurator? [Part 2]

Photo by Amauri AM on Unsplash
Photo by Amauri AM on Unsplash

Configurators are becoming more and more popular as an alternative method for manufacturers and retailers to classic consultations. Their use is particularly widespread in the B2C world. For example, enthusiastic customers playfully put together cars and wardrobes using a configurator.

In the first part of our two-part article series, we showed you the benefits of what an online product configurator can offer, with a particular focus on B2B applications. Complex goods, such as cranes, components, or connection components can already be compiled right online. B2B companies are already recognising their great potential: effective and first class digital sales consulting, lower costs, better tailored products and services, and happier customers.

However, in order to be able to offer this added value to customers, it is necessary to finish the initial design and implement the configurator. In the second part of our series, we’ll explain the success factors for digital configurators and why retailers and manufacturers should use one.

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Advantages of a product configurator as a digital consultant in B2B [Part 1]

Quelle: fotolia
Source: fotolia

Customers are no longer satisfied with what’s standard. On the contrary: They expect customised products that reflect their own wishes or meet their specific needs. Product attributes such as colour, size, shape, features, and technical details can already be selected online, allowing customers to configure a tailor-made product. Responsible for this is the well-named online configurator.

Their use in the automotive, furniture, and PC industry is particularly well established.

The potential in the B2B sector is still largely unused, but it is enormous. In the first part of our two-part article series, we’ll show you the benefits of what an online product configurator can offer, with a particular focus on B2B applications.

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Updated White Paper: Selecting E-Commerce Software – Comparing Providers and Technologies

Source: dotSource
Source: dotSource

With new solutions bring more opportunity, whether your company is in the B2B, B2C, SME, or enterprise segment, if you want to bring sales of products online, you’ll need to select an e-commerce software that fulfils your needs. In fact, going forward, most consumers expect some type of online presence of their favourite products, from local mom and pop shops to large corporate enterprises.

To help succeed with such a digital transformation companies are now using e-commerce systems to allow sales to those near and far from their physical branch locations. In fact, the choice of making the right decision for your future e-commerce software is comparable to choosing the right physical location of retail location.

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Updated white paper: »E-Commerce Potential in B2B – What can e-commerce and m-commerce do for your business?«

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The Internet has been made not only for B2C purposes. The expansion and growth of Amazon Business and Alibaba proved it. It was a matter of time that B2B companies also embraced the digitalisation of marketing and sales and influenced how sellers and buyers interact. According to a Forrester Research, 93 percent of B2B buyers prefer to buy online once they have decided what to buy.

In this context of digital transformation, leading B2B companies now give high priority to e-commerce and m-commerce, and use the same weapons as their B2C counterparts to continue growing and offer value added.

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Integrating PIM systems: Which role do PIMs play in B2B? – Interview with PIM providers SAP Hybris, Akeneo and CONTENTSERV [Part 2]

arahan - Fotolia / dotSource
arahan – Fotolia / dotSource
After addressing the main advantages of PIM systems and the reasons why an online shop should integrate one last week, it is the moment to go beyond and be outward-looking. PIM systems are giving a boost to omnichannel and revolutionising the way we manage product portfolios and, consequently, probably the role print and online catalogues have in this game.

Moreover, PIM systems are becoming very helpful for B2B companies, which are getting used to handle complex products and business models. Thanks to PIMs, B2B companies have now a wide range of possibilities to tailor their customers’ shopping experience as they could never have imagined.

However, there are plenty of aspects to improve within the PIM sphere and many challenges providers must face in the years to come.

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