They practiced ample self-criticism. Rarely before, the own industry has been scrutinized so critically as at the etailment Summit 2013. Jack Wolfskin CEO, Michael Rupp, said the retail industry has by and large missed it to respond to the changes in consumers’ behavior. Additionally, the relentless questioning of Moderator Olaf Kolbrück stripped down the speakers’ innovative ideas and concepts.


Olaf Kolbrück and Martin Gross-Albenhausen moderated the conference.

The atmosphere in the closed down airport “Berlin Tempelhof” – holding the ‘raisin bombers’ in Hangar 6 – reflected the mood of the distance selling. The Berlin Senate does not know what to do exactly with the empty Tempelhof, and so does the retail industry not know for sure how to respond to online big players such as Amazon and Zalando, as well as to the new consumer behavior. Nevertheless, the first etailment summit was anything but a mourning event. In fact, the summit of interactive trade sparkled with pioneering ideas and spread a spirit of optimism.

Discharge of the classics

While Thomas Lipke, CEO at Globetrotter, still considers catalogs to be a suitable medium to attract new customers, Conrad Electronic plans to abolish this channel in the near future, as per Jörn Werner, CEO of the German consumer electronics giant. Conrad wants to convince customers by making the entire product range available for sale on tablets, in combination with salespeople providing the required information at the point of sale. In general, the seamless intertwining of online and offline continues to be the big issue: “Each channel has to provide advantages to the other.”, says Max Wittrock, mymuesli. While everyone has a slightly different implementation strategy, everyone pursues the same goal: to increase sales.

Even if the customer is in the physical store, he shall be offered the possibility to also purchase unavailable products. While being online, the consumer is simultaneously provided with information about what he can purchase around the corner. This blurs the boundaries between online and offline sales. In doing so, the point where the assortment data is made available can no longer be assigned to retail stores or ecommerce.

The latest changes also affect trade with groceries and convenience goods. “Why do people tow shopping bags home every week, while buying books online?”, asked Dr. Andrej Busch, CEO of DHL package. The packing service of the German Post has impressed with an innovative booth and shows its supremacy among the German deliverers with its large exhibition booth, equipped with trendy videos and catchy sayings. Thanks to those packing stations and their fresh ideas for delivery processes, the sober subject of logistics becomes almost exciting. To this: Dr. Andrej Busch in the video „Handel im Wandel” (German):

How retail space fuels social media marketing …

Bring the party to the store!!! Fashion stores and other distributors play an important role in the use of social media marketing. In particular, when customers experience the brand and share these sensations. For chain operators, this implies focusing on enhancing the physical in-store experience through e.g. events. Thus, the community will feel more comfortable there, motivating them to buy more. “Brands need to create a compelling shopping experience across all consumer touchpoints.”, says Michael Rupp, CEO of Jack Wolfskin. His 4 theses got great approval not only among the participants but were also widely spread on Twitter. Read more on the theses  Stefan Hofmeister’s post (German): Jack Wolfskin CEO zeigt Impulse für den Handel von morgen

Internationalisation á la Rocket Internet

Ex-CMO Rocket Internet Luis Hanemann talked about international expansion strategies. They need to be centralized to be successfully implemented. From the home country, the essential measures could be taken in order to start with the local trade abroad. Thereby, 70 to 80 % of the success is dependent on the employees’ expertise (e.g. SEM, affiliate, etc. ) and about 20 to 30% is dependent on the country know-how. Unlike in the typical brick and mortars, the processes of online shopping are more or less similar amongst different countries. This means that there may be significant economies of scale by copying strategies and by iterative customization. Incidentally, the Chinese are on the rise in Europe: In order to supply us smoothly and quickly in the near future, they now begin to fly in products and land at an airport they just bought. The retailers of Europe keep an eye on the internationalization of China …

Dr. Andrej Busch, DHL Package, said: “Our generation is doomed to put into action everything we have seen in Star Trek.” And this quote would also fit the oracle of Zurich, IBM’s Moshe Rappapport. The Swiss researcher who grew up in New York impressed with his trend insights on the future of shopping.


The oracle of Zurich, IBM’s Moshe Rappapport on the future of a data-driven world.

Retailers must use their data to predict customer behavior and to learn what needs to be done. It is difficult to simplify his speech and therefore I will keep it short: The internet of things and the use of structured and unstructured data will predict “the next best action” in business. The difficulty will be that by 2015, 80% of all data available will be uncertain. Which makes big data pretty difficult for machines to analyze if the information is true or false.

Product recommendations should be given in context as if a real person is there that knows the customer and the situation he/ she is facing. According to Rappapport thinking n scenarios that predict “the next best action” will be one of the strategic challenges.

Read more about the etailment summit 2013:

Daniel Friesenecker: Was war los am etailment summit 2.013?

Ariane Nölte: Der Auftakt zum etailment Summit

Thomas Lang: Nachlese zum etailment Summit 2013

Branchentreff unterm Rosinenbomber

Olaf Kolbrück: Kurz vor 9: Otto bietet großes Kino, Netto bietet Autos, Summit, Prognose

Jochen Krisch: Neocom vs. etailment Summit: Wenn Onliner auf Veteranen treffen

Martin Groß-Albenhausen: Der etailment Summit – Familienfeier oder Gipfeltreffen?