We and 17’200 other visitors from all over the world attended the Internet World Expo. The program featured over 200 sessions this year. Speakers included experts and executives from companies such as eBay, Shopware, Allyouneed.com, OTTO, MediaMarktSaturn, Ikea and many more.Commerce has gone beyond “buying something on a store or website” to a series of interactions relying on technology and a huge amount of data. IW Expo focused this year on the future of commerce. The 3 topics that we found most interesting were:
Martin Wild from MediaMarktSaturn, Denis Burger from eBay and Christian Eisenberg from GS1 agree that data quality plays a huge role in commerce business. Structured data enables companies to provide innovative customer experiences. It is the basis for an omnichannel shopping experience.Marc Rochow, Head of E-Commerce at Team 23, talked about the success and downfalls of commerce companies. He believes that for a successful e-commerce setup, an appealing product assortment and digitized business processes are not enough. It also requires high-quality master data. Merging silo data into a target structure is essential for a successful e-commerce offering.We at Onedot agree that structured and relevant product data is a big competitive advantage for any commerce business. For example, having more than 50K products online, offering powerful search and filtering mechanisms is a must to enable shoppers to find the products they came searching for within seconds.
Many commerce leaders see huge value in omnichannel. For example, within the last 10 years, MediaMarktSaturn transformed itself from a traditional retailer to offering supreme omnichannel service, having their own content platforms and engaging with 10 million fans on Facebook. They also received the World Business Award as Best Multichannel Dealer 2018.Christian Eisenberg, Product Manager at GS1, agrees that the customer journey today is no longer a “linear one-way street”, but a multi-optional, complex model with the use of various shopping channels. Although, according to Jens Peter Klatt, Vice President Multichannel at Mister Spex, the goal of omnichannel should not be that customers don’t have to enter a physical store, but should have the opportunity to do so.Andreas Platiel, Partnerships Manager at Channeladvisor, finds that early adopters are already seeing rewards for their investments in omnichannel as customers value having options to choose from. For example, in-store pickup and alternative delivery addresses are something that customers are considering already a must-be. He also believes that mobile is and will be the dominant channel for web access. Already now Zalando and ASOS generate 66% of their traffic via mobile and 40% of all Black Friday sales in 2017 were done via mobile.Denis Burger, Senior Director EU Programmatic B2C at eBay, finds important to focus on omnichannel efforts, but believes it’s maturity is still insufficient today. 18% of the top 100 retailers do not link online and offline shops, only 25% use online marketplaces for sale and 56% use internet as an information or marketing channel. It is important for a commerce company to be where their buyers are. This is one of the reasons eBay launched Shop Bot in USA on Facebook messenger.eBay’s mission is to bring buyers and sellers together in a marketplace ecosystem through technology and data. Denis Burger pointed that online marketplaces should be considered as highly important channels as 49% of all purchases in DE e-commerce are conducted via marketplaces.Expansion to marketplace is also strategically very important to OTTO. Markus Stürzekran (Leiter Partneranbindung) and Frank Gallus (Senior Manager Partner Development) revealed the company’s ambitious plans to get 4'200'000 products online by 2020. They have so far onboarded 300 partners and have ongoing discussions already with 500 new ones. OTTO’s eventual goal is to provide a self-service supplier onboarding. It will be a huge challenge, but as it is essential because of scalability, they are willing to take this on.
Innovate or die – this was the subject of Martin Wild’s, Chief Innovation Officer at MediaMarktSaturn, presentation at Internet World Expo. He advises intensively to engage with topics like Tech Scouting, Mobile, Internet of Things (IoT), Voice Assistants, Blockchain, VR and AR. He believes that especially Mobile and IoT are perfect enablers for multichannel commerce.MediaMarktSaturn has in the last years been actively testing different technologies to provide new shopping experiences for their customers. Saturn Holotour is one of those examples – customers are led to products with the help of a Microsoft Hololens-enabled Avatar. They have also introduced digital price tags in their stores in the Netherlands that provide easy access to in-depth product information and direct webshop links.eBay has also been actively implementing new ways to use technologies like AI, VR and IoT. For example, opening their first VR store in Australia. Denis Burger, Senior Director EU Programmatic B2C at eBay, agrees with Martin Wild and urges companies to focus on technologies that will transform e-commerce fundamentally. Already now, eBay has seen 14x better conversion rates on AI-selected products. He also sees huge potential in AI in terms of scalable product data manipulation.With 6 million active customers and up to 10 orders per second, OTTO is definitely a market leader in online retailing. For OTTO, digitalisation has become an important enabler through AR, mixed reality and VR.Voice Commerce is a topic that was mentioned in many presentations, including the previously mentioned. Andreas Platiel, Partnerships Manager at Channeladvisor, is confident that by 2020 50% of all search queries are done via voice input. Christian Eisenberg, Product Manager at GS1, believes that voice assistant should be able to show live availability in local shops. Today, it still might be a thing of the future, but 10 years ago so was getting information about a store’s opening hours. Today we get it within seconds thanks to Google Maps.
Stores can no longer survive without being present on their customers’ preferred channels. It is vital that online stores are able to offer customers the same experience they would be able to get offline and vice versa. We believe that new innovative technologies with the help of structured and quality data will become the backbone of future commerce.