What is the share of mobile on online orders? What is the importance of "click & collect"? Is there still place for brick-and-mortar stores?
Our associate Keros Digital, Keros Digital was one of the sponsors of eTail Europe. NetComm Suisse met its UK Country Manager, Tal Ofer, and asked him its views on the latest e-Commerce trends in an interview given exclusively for our members.
Read the interview below.
NetComm Suisse: For anyone isn’t familiar with your business, can you tell us a bit more about Keros Digital?
Tal Ofer, Keros Digital: Keros is a Swiss omnichannel technology company helping brands and retailers to drive more sales domestically and internationally. We have a modular end-to-end suite comprising an enterprise e-Commerce platform, a powerful order management system, an in-store app and marketing intelligence. Our headquarters are in Mendrisio and we have offices in London, Kiev and Tel Aviv. Our clients include names like Benetton, Twinset, Cisalfa Sport, Mandarina Duck, Everything5Pounds and Lumene.
NetComm Suisse: Keros Digital was one of the sponsors of eTail Europe, a world-class event for European e-Commerce innovators, held in London this June. As a Swiss company, what does this kind of international exposure mean for your business?
Tal Ofer, Keros Digital: As a company that is just 4 years old, eTail Europe was a major event for us as it brings together top European retailers and brands, as well as senior decision makers including CEOs, e-Commerce directors and IT directors under one roof. As a new name in the UK market, the event gave brands and retailers the opportunity to find out more about Keros, what we do and how we can help them grow their business both online and in-store. We received excellent feedback and had some interesting conversations throughout the event: we’re looking forward to working with our new contacts in the near future.
NetComm Suisse: The conference was attended by thousands of industry players, including giants such as Amazon, Sainsburys Argos, Vivienne Westwood etc. Could you single out three key market trends that were most talked about at the conference?
Tal Ofer, Keros Digital: I would say the three main market trends discussed in detail were personalization, omnichannel and the future of retail. In terms of personalization, many retailers are trying their hardest, though it is by no means easy. Brands that do, however, get it right can expect to be rewarded with increased loyalty from their customers; indeed, one of the biggest challenges for brands operating in such a competitive world is to retain the customer and differentiate from competitors. In terms of omnichannel, we know that 36% of online orders in the UK are click and collect, however customers also expect same day or next day delivery; in this area technology can help businesses to, for example, deliver from store or to offer customers an endless aisle. As for the future of retail, we are currently seeing sizeable brands going into administration and closing stores – the question is whether there is still place for bricks and mortar stores? In my view, despite the increase in online sales, stores are not going to disappear. Some brands won’t need as many stores as they have now, but they will still need some – decision makers will have to consider how they are going to transform these stores and make the connection between the online and offline world totally seamless.
NetComm Suisse: There is an overall consensus among retailers that omnichannel is a must. From your experience in the field, what do you see as the main obstacles and opportunities on the road to creating a seamless customer experience enabled by omnichannel?
Tal Ofer, Keros Digital: Whether a business is a pure player or a more traditional retailer, there is a growing need for omnichannel solutions as the market becomes more competitive and customer demands evolve. In terms of challenges, there are some business that still don’t have an omnichannel strategy, or that are taking too long to transform their businesses – retail is a ruthless world and if you are afraid of change or are not prepared to act fast, you will struggle to maintain growth and profitability. Businesses need to listen more to what their customers want and expect from them.
The opportunities to guarantee a seamless customer experience focus on quick delivery times and the ease of returning a product bought online or in-store. It is important to have both the right software and connect different IT systems to enable, for instance, a unique view of the inventory and the financial consolidation of orders and returns.
NetComm Suisse: During your presentation in London you mentioned that mobile now accounts for more than 50% of online transactions. Could you please comment/expand?
Tal Ofer, Keros Digital: Mobile now accounts for over 50% of transactions worldwide, thanks to technological advances and the prominence of smartphones and tablets. Though you could get away with not having a mobile site up until a few years ago, responsive design then hit the scene, changing the site based on the device used (desktop, smartphone, tablet), followed by the proliferation of apps. These changes once again relate to customers and what they expect – they want an easy and convenient shopping experience whether they are at work, on the train or at home. While every business may not invest in an app, having a modern mobile site with smooth check-out is a must.
NetComm Suisse: And finally, looking to the future, could I ask what’s next for you and Keros Digital?
Tal Ofer, Keros Digital: I think we have a great future ahead of us. We are recruiting more people and now are part of a big technology group. The group have a very interesting eco-system with sister companies that provide payment processing, mobile advertising, affiliate marketing and a new marketplace. We are in conversation with some major fashion brands and retailers and also working on strategic partnerships with other technology providers. There is a lot of hard work ahead of us but we are on the right track.
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