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Irish innovation smoothing the way to seamless omnichannel selling

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One Irish company rising to the challenge and achieving great success in the German market, is ChannelSight. Photos: Stock image

One Irish company rising to the challenge and achieving great success in the German market, is ChannelSight. Photos: Stock image

One Irish company rising to the challenge and achieving great success in the German market, is ChannelSight. Photos: Stock image

Have you ever picked something up in-store, only to put it down and buy it online later?

Or perhaps you would rather spend your time doing research online before finally making an educated purchase in a physical location?

There is no doubt that the way we shop has been changing for some time, but the events of recent years have intensified this diversification of retail habits.

As a result, the online and offline retail ecosystem has never been more blended, and digital touchpoints have become central to influencing consumer buying 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, 92pc of Germans buy products online.

Together with France and the UK, Germany generates about two-thirds of total European e-commerce sales.

This growing market has not escaped the attention of international retailers, many of whom attended the E-Commerce Berlin Expo in recent weeks.

Given the increased focus on changing retail habits, it was no surprise that this year’s Expo was bigger than ever before, with more than 8,000 participants.

In attendance were speakers from some of the top DACH [Germany, Austria, Switzerland]-based e-commerce firms such as Henkel, Zalando and Otto.

“After a two-year pause of in-person events, we are seeing a huge increase of interest in the expansion of e-commerce service providers to Germany by foreign companies,” comments Peter Szczepaniak, managing partner of the exhibition.

“For the very first time in 2022, the number of international companies participating in the E-Commerce Berlin Expo is the same as German service providers.

"This shows how important this market is, and any company that has the ambition to be a leader in the industry must be present here.”

One trend that is demanding innovative solutions is the move towards omnichannel selling. According to data experts MacKenzie Corp, 86pc of consumers say they regularly hop between channels when shopping.

While many retailers try to sell across multiple channels – the challenge is to make seamless connections between each customer touchpoint to ensure the consumer experience is optimised and the path to purchase is frictionless.

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One Irish company rising to this challenge and achieving great success in the German market, and operating in over 70 markets globally, is ChannelSight.

ChannelSight’s e-commerce intelligence platform enables brands to optimise their path to purchase by streamlining the customer journey and ensuring their products win the digital shelf. “It’s not about being present everywhere, all of the time, notes co-founder Niall O’Gorman.

“It’s about focusing on the platforms that matter, engaging the consumer with great digital storytelling, then providing them with a seamless path to purchase, whether online or in-store.”

Take the Belin based KaDeWe [Kaufhaus des Westens] as an example of how innovative German businesses adapt to evolving shopping behaviour.

The KaDeWe belongs to the KaDeWe Group alongside the Alsterhaus in Hamburg and the Oberpollinger in Munich. Kadewe.de is their e-commerce platform.

As one of the largest luxury department stores in Europe, second only to Harrods in London, the KaDeWe had high customer expectations to fulfil when they launched online in 2020.

According to Philipp Engelmann, the general manager for omnichannel business at the KaDeWe Group, it was “important to create an online shopping experience that reflected the luxury of visiting the KaDeWe department store”.

Another huge trend in the sector is the growing appetite for immersive e-commerce shopping journeys in response to the often-impersonal online shopping experience.

According to conversion rate optimisation experts, Invesp, over a fifth (22pc) of returns occur because the product looks different from how the customer imagined when purchasing.

This is where technology such as augmented reality and 3D-rendered virtual store environments – which enable shoppers to even speak to avatars in the form of store associates – have excelled.

Irish company Lahoma is finding success in this area with Schaffrath, the leading furniture retailer in the German Rhineland region, which has an impressive 18 physical retail locations.

The Schaffrath Group has been using Lahoma immersive 3D visualisations since 2021.

“Our mission is to provide Schaffrath customers with an amazing experience in realising their interior design dreams,” explains David Hussey, Lahoma CEO.

Both Lahoma and ChannelSight attended the E-Commerce Berlin Expo with Enterprise Ireland – and there is plenty of opportunity for more ambitious Irish companies in this lucrative e-commerce market.

 

Cathy O’Shea is a trade development executive for the DACH region (Germany, Austria, Switzerland) at Enterprise Ireland. For more information on German market entry, contact: coshea@enterprise-ireland.com.


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