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Make online shopping an experience


he innovations that were already very noticeable in e-commerce last year will continue in 2022. This includes the fact that customers increasingly want to look forward to a personal shopping experience. Therefore, the personalization of online offers will increase. Online retailers want to achieve this by accessing first-party data, i.e. data that they have collected themselves about the purchasing behavior of their customers. This is how they want to improve the customer experience. Conversely, this will mean that providers will have to deal even more closely with the issue of data protection and cyber security in order to be able to use sensitive information securely and, above all, protect it. In addition, the classic system in the online shop with the user-friendly interface in the front end and the subordinate processes such as inventory control, billing and logistics planning will continue to dissolve. It’s headed towards headless commerce. Customers want to be able to shop on more differentiated channels. Searching for the new vase on the laptop on the couch in the evening or quickly ordering new printer cartridges on the smartphone: the variety of different devices requires individual and adapted forms of storytelling. This becomes a daunting task for sellers. Because image worlds have to be adapted, different approaches have to be found. This happens automatically via the headless option for creating and intelligently playing out content, but the basic development and building of worlds of experience in sales will remain the creative task of online retailers.

Storytelling becomes more important

Zum Shoppen am Samstag in die Stadt gehen und den stationären Handel nutzen – das war für viele Verbraucherinnen und Verbraucher vor der Pandemie Teil der Erlebniskultur, wird es für sie im Zeichen der Lockerungen wieder werden. Dinge anfassen funktioniert online nicht. Umso mehr wird es für die Betreiber von Onlineshops 2022 immer wichtiger werden, der Kundschaft eine ausgereifte Customer Experience zu bieten. Einkaufen ist – über die eigentliche Beschaffung durch einen Kaufvertrag hinaus – auch online immer mehr mit Emotionen verbunden. Bewegtbilder machen Produkte zumindest visuell erlebbar. Die Kommunikation auf Social-Media-Netzwerken zwischen Verkäufern und Kunden und innerhalb der kaufenden Dialoggruppe ersetzt vermehrt eine klassische Verkaufsberatung im Laden. Social Commerce ist das Stichwort. Auf Social Media zu bestaunen, im verknüpften Onlineshop zu kaufen, wird sich als Trend verstärken. Der reine stationäre Handel wird aus diesem Trend lernen müssen, um zu überleben. Indem er lokale Beratungskompetenz im Laden mit digitaler Bestellwelt kombiniert. Diese Form des Handels wird phygital. Das bedeutet die Symbiose aus physischem und digitalem Einkaufen. Ein gutes Bespiel hierfür ist der Mechanismus von Click and Collect. Online bestellen und im Laden abholen: Das hat sich in Pandemiezeiten bewährt. Zumal beim klassischen Abholen viele Servicefragen vor Ort geklärt werden können. Zudem wird sich durch den Mechanismus des Direct-to-Consumer (D2C) für die Industrie die Chance ergeben, vermehrt Waren direkt an die Endverbraucher:innen zu verkaufen. Die direkte Bindung der Kund:innen über diesen Vertriebskanal bedeutet für die Anbieter zudem eine Chance, unmittelbar Kundenmeinungen zu Produkten zu erhalten.

Storytelling becomes more important

Go shopping in the city on Saturday and use the stationary trade – for many consumers that was part of the experience culture before the pandemic, it will be for them again with the easing of restrictions. Touching things doesn’t work online. In 2022, it will become all the more important for online shop operators to offer their customers a mature customer experience. Shopping is – beyond the actual procurement through a purchase contract – also online more and more associated with emotions. Moving images make products at least visually tangible. Communication on social media networks between sellers and customers and within the buying dialog group is increasingly replacing classic sales advice in the store. Social commerce is the keyword. Marveling on social media, buying in the linked online shop will become a trend. Pure stationary retail will have to learn from this trend in order to survive. By combining local advisory skills in the store with the digital world of orders. This form of trading becomes phygital. That means the symbiosis of physical and digital shopping. A good example of this is the mechanism of click and collect. Order online and pick up in store: That has proven itself in times of a pandemic. Especially since many service questions can be clarified on site with classic pick-up. In addition, the direct-to-consumer (D2C) mechanism will give industry the opportunity to sell more goods directly to end consumers. The direct customer loyalty via this sales channel also means that the providers have the opportunity to receive direct customer opinions on products.

Greater demands on logistics

The growth in e-commerce will also continue to pose increased challenges for logistics service providers. “If we take the example of the last mile, it will become more fragmented. Stores in the city centers will be supplied from micro-warehouses, with small, manoeuvrable, naturally purely electric vehicles,” says Thomas Finke, Head of E-Commerce at B+S, looking to the future. In the area of intralogistics, the operators of the systems will rely on a higher degree of automation. “Especially in B2C online trading, we see growing volumes, which we can only handle in their small parts if we scale our processes well,” Thomas Finke continues. “Intelligent technology and automatic processes have become indispensable here.” These ensure that online retailers can meet the high expectations of their own customers in terms of service, speed and flexibility. There is also potential in the processes after the delivery of goods to the receiving points that needs to be leveraged. “Packaging waste and its influence on the ecological footprint of retail is one thing,” says the e-commerce manager. The amendment to the EU packaging law is making the situation even worse. “Returns are another. They are intended as a sales argument, customers use them, as high return rates prove. The ecological responsibility for the reduction of CO2 emissions, with a higher number of transports, is felt to be carried by logistics alone. It can’t be. There are additional costs. Returns are not in vain just because the customer does not pay for them.” This is another challenge for the processes in the supply chains. “Logistics makes it all possible. Secures the basic supply, supports the innovations in the trade. However, she does so very secretly. So it’s time to promote the image of logistics in the booming online trade and to extend the responsibility to retailers and consumers,” the logistics specialist is certain.