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Online trade: There are no longer any universally applicable recipes for success

online-shopping – Foto pixabay

The online trade continues to be the industry’s strong growth driver. In the first quarter of 2018, a 10.6 percent increase was recorded compared to the same period of the previous year, according to the current figures of the Bundesverband E-Commerce und Versandhandel Deutschland e.V. (bevh) (German E-commerce and Mail Order Trade Association e.V.). Nevertheless, this doesn’t necessarily mean that it is plain sailing for online shops. The competition from Amazon is too tough for many of them. According to the Institut für Handelsforschung (IFH Köln) (Institute for Trade Research), almost every second Euro spent on the web in Germany flows into the tills of the giant.

“Especially over the past five years, Amazon has firmly anchored itself sustainably and comprehensively in the relevant set of the consumers – indeed so strongly that the way to the customer is literally cut off for other suppliers. Winning over new customers appears to be almost impossible,” said Dr. Eva Stüber, Senior Vice President at IFH Cologne. “The dealers have to do some radical rethinking and scrutinise their business model if they want to get a share of the pie in an Amazonised world of consumption.”

To make sure an online shop is successful today, finds its gap in the market and can successfully bind customers, one thing appears to be especially important: a clear unique selling point (USP). The benchmark survey “Customers’ Choice” that was recently carried out jointly by ECC Cologne and dotSource, also underlines this: More than 13,000 verdicts on around 100 top online shops were evaluated for the purpose in an extensive consumer survey.

ecommerce – Foto pixabay

The survey not only focused on customer loyalty, but also analysed the online shop performance according to seven customer-oriented success factors: User experience, content & inspiration, convenience, service, product range, price/performance and brand image. The outcome showed that there is no longer one single success factor that impacts on customer satisfaction and customer loyalty. Instead the online shops impress their customers with their different strengths.

“The results of the latest Customers’ Choice survey make it clear that the days of “one size fits all” are clearly over. There are no longer any universally applicable recipes for success in the online trade,” explained Dr. Erik Klautzsch, Project Manager at IFH Cologne. “E-commerce is too dynamic and the business models, target groups and industry vary too much for that. Every online shop is thus called upon to find its own individual way to the customer and identify precisely in the process which service claim fits perfectly to its business model, the industry and one’s own target group.”


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