The E-Commerce Berlin Expo 2018 took place on February 15, 2018 at STATION, Berlin! From 10AM to 5PM, more than 4000 visitors, 120 exhibitors and 32 speakers from the entire e-commerce sector gathered for a day filled with networking opportunities, insightful talks and panel discussions and yes, fun!
On February 15, 2018 the third edition of Berlin’s biggest e-commerce event of the year opened its doors to more than 4000 visitors! Situated at the heart of Germany’s capital city, the historic landmark STATION hosted 120 exhibitors from more than 30 countries. Representatives from industry giants such as L’Oreal, eBay, Facebook, Google, Zalando, Scout24, DHL, Idealo, DeinDesign and Notebooksbilliger were present to connect with visitors.
Across 4 stages, sponsored by Geizhals (Stage A), Fiege (Stage B), DS Smith (Stage C), Idealo (Stage D), speakers such as Victoria Chirita - (Founder) DeinDesign, Deniz Macura - (Strategic Partner Lead E-Commerce) Facebook, Tina Nord - (Teamlead Content Marketing Strategy) Zalando, Andrea Monaci - (Marketing Director Cloud EMEA) Hewlett Packard Enterprise, Miro Morczinek - (CEO) Moebel24, Luka Brekalo - (Head of E-Commerce) L’Oreal, Pascal Volz, (Managing Director) Fischer Appelt (Ex AirBerlin), Erik Meierhoff - (Head of B2B Business) Idealo and Daniel Kramer - (Client Solutions Manager eCommerce & Sports) Facebook, held their presentations.
An informative day with e-commerce companies and e-commerce business solution providers, a large topic was the implementation of machine learning and A.I. in e-commerce.
In addition, the event launched the E-Commerce Berlin Awards this year. The awards serve the act of recognition for e-commerce business solutions providers active on the German market. The competition registered more than 200 companies who were able to compete in 8 categories. The first round was driven by a public voting system which allowed 10 companies with the highest number of votes enter the next round in each category. Finally a carefully selected jury which incorporated industry experts and leaders, evaluated the applications and determined the winners.
The ceremony of the E-Commerce Berlin Awards 2018 took place on Stage D at 1:30PM and ended at 2:15PM and was hosted by Adam Formanek, (Project Manager) SIBB e.V.. The award was accepted by all 8 winners on stage.
Winners of E-Commerce Berlin Awards 2018
The event has almost doubled in exhibitors, visitors and speakers since 2016. With ever growing numbers since the first edition, the E-Commerce Berlin Expo has become a household name and a must-attend event for all e-commerce companies operating on the German market. The event has already confirmed the fourth edition for 2019. The date and location will be announced soon.
On Monday February 19, 2018, the E-Commerce Berlin Expo has a follow up satellite workshop event with speakers from the expo, register below...
For further questions, reach out to PR-Manager, Charlene Pham at [email protected].
Find out more about the E-Commerce Berlin Expo.
The E-Commerce Berlin Expo will be taking place for the fourth time February, 2019 (Location is yet to be confirmed. The annual fair has become a leading e-commerce event in Berlin with representatives from Google, Otto Group and Alibaba Group as past participants. Learn more at: http://ecommerceberlin.com
Discuss your growth with our CTO
This year again, Pentalog will be exhibiting at E-commerce Berlin EXPO, 15th February 2018, at
STATION Berlin, booth C4.
We are offering something new to our visitors, our CTO and our Head of Web Apps will be present and available to discuss your e-commerce pain points: e-commerce product life cycle, analytics, what skills you need for your e-commerce team, choosing the correct technology for your e-commerce website, how to scale, how to integrate marketing automation tools...
Register now and book a slot for a meeting (limited number) with them:
E-commerce Berlin EXPO brings together more than 4,000 attendees, 32 expert presentations and over 100 exhibitors from the e-commerce sector.
Pentalog will present its services addressing e-commerce players: web & mobile development, software & embedded experts, traffic acquisition services, cloud computing, marketing automation, UI/UX design, etc.
Our team will provide project overviews (check our track record) and present Pentalog's vision for technology in e-commerce for 2018.
Our value proposition: the best people on the market for your ecommerce growth.
One day, four stages, 34 speakers.
For the third time, the E-Commerce Berlin Expo 2018 has the entire e-commerce ecosystem in one place for you: attendees to meet, exhibitors to network with, and speakers to learn from.
February 15, 2018 is D-Day for anyone willing to see what is now going on in e-commerce. If discovering what is hot this year, learning from other’s successes and mishaps, and growing your business is what you’re after, you must be there.
Each stage is a knowledge session led by e-commerce industry professionals covering a healthy mix of topics for you to choose from. So, to help you see how diverse these talks are going to be, we’ve listed 10+ speakers you just cannot miss.
But before we get on with it, make sure you register online and grab your free online ticket.
The E-Commerce Berlin Expo 2018 will take place on Thursday, February 15th at STATION, Berlin. Doors will open at 10AM. Visitors may enter the expo by registering for a free ticket before the event. For information to the full agenda and all 31 speakers see below.
What is bad for your app or online shop? According to Tanja Borzel from the HolidayPirates Group, when the journey of your customer in it becomes more of an odyssey than a straightforward go-get-it. In this interview, Tanja shares spot-on insights on the importance of the right Design, User Interface and User Experience for your business – whether big or small. A must-read for anyone thinking these three are “something we’ll focus on later”.
Paulina, Ecommerce Capitals: You work as Product Manager, UX / Art Director at the HolidayPirates Group. Could tell us a bit more about what your job there entails and how it affects people – your users & customers?
Tanja Borzel, HolidayPirates GmbH: Being a product manager is a very diverse job. That’s why I love it. You get to do a lot of things, develop your skills and always learn something new. There are probably not two PMs that tell you the exact same story about how their work life is.
The UI/UX part in my job comes from me being originally a designer, so the look & feel, proper layout, typography and user flows are very important to me in all my projects. This means I’m going to challenge my team on these aspects and not release a project which doesn’t satisfy my expectations. Users will profit from this clarity to find important things faster and not get lost.
I’m a holiday pirate since the early beginning, when it was a tiny startup of five people. Now there are around 200 employees. While the company grew, processes had to be reviewed and adapted constantly, and new departments with new needs developed, all of which fuelled a feeling that I was basically doing a different job every half year. But of course, while the company itself matured, my main responsibility remained the same: Make sure we have a great product out there.
A very important part of my job are ideas. Without good ones, your product is going to be lifeless, mediocre. Excellent ideas can come from everywhere, but there are always at least ten times more ideas than time and resources. Collecting, curating and promoting the most relevant ideas into features are essential. Only the ones that will achieve key objectives should be promoted. I’m owning the roadmap, so I have to make sure everyone understands the strategy and the business value, in order to build what matters. There is so much more to the job. Basically, the quality of the PM decides if all parts of the product make sense, are useful and innovative, are released in a time- and resource-efficient manner, thus making the company money and not burning it.
What is the most difficult – and undervalued – part of your job?
Getting the needs and expectations of all business units aligned. Obviously nobody is ever truly happy with the amount of time and resources they get... So they try to get projects relevant to their own business area to be prioritized over other ones. It’s completely understandable, but it does take noticeable effort to maintain a strictly functional roadmap. If you don’t stand your ground, soon that roadmap is overcrowded with nice-to-haves and pet projects.
The HolidayPirates Group is a travel company offering flight, hotel, and package deals through 11 travel portals in 7 language versions. In terms of website/app design and UX, are there any stark differences between the markets you are present on? Is this all somewhat uniform – or perhaps there are some local peculiarities that you need to consider?
Design and UX are almost the same for all of our markets. Currently we’re operating only in European countries and the USA. This means the UX in our markets is not as different from each other than if we also had Asian or African markets. Nonetheless, there are differences between all the countries. They are “details”, but if we didn’t care for them, using website and app would constantly feel a bit off to our local users, and we might even face trust issues.
To start with the basics; in order to structure a number like “1000” and improve its readability, some countries will use commas, some periods and some white spaces. In our case we often publish prices in our deals, so the currency symbol comes into play as well. Some countries prefer to put the currency in front of the price, some put it after the numbers. Dates will not only vary in which separating character is used (backslash or full stop), but also if the day and then the month is displayed or vice versa. If you care to show the hour of the day, make sure to check if you’re operating in a 24-hour system or the usage of AM/PM is preferred.
Some market differences are also due to legal requirements, for example the cookie disclaimer that you’ll find on any EU-based website nowadays, which is not needed in the US. Something else that’s especially important for German users are trust badges. It’s much harder to convince a German to buy on an ecommerce platform if its trustworthiness is not vetted by trust badges.
But all those things have nothing on language itself. It might not look like it at first glance, but there are tons of interface texts all over app and website. There are multiple challenges here: During the design process, mocking up the UI in English just doesn’t do. It would only result in either cut-off or overlapping texts on the translated product. A short English text can expand up to 3 times in another language, and if you account for unlucky word wrapping situations, it might even become larger. This ruins the most nifty of designs, and is even more upsetting when discovered after the design phase, so you have to redo the layout completely.
Another challenge with language is how true the translation stays to the original. In our case, words have to convey their meaning concisely, but at the same time we try to give a “pirate” touch to everything! It’s just how our brand is, and the users love it. There is no way around a native speaker (regardless how fluent you are), and a lot of back-and-forth communication about the intention, meaning and feeling of a certain word or sentence.
What exciting projects have you recently worked on at HolidayPirates? And what exciting is yet to come?
We always have several projects in simultaneous development. They are all exciting in their own way, but probably I’m just too biased! I just love how each of them makes its own small or big contribution to the idea of HolidayPirates. Some add new functionalities for our users to enjoy, like the recent revamp of our custom travel alerts. Some enable long-awaited possibilities for our staff, like additional data tracking or new tools for our editors to find good deals and create mouth-watering articles about them.
We have a few very cool projects in the pipeline, that will definitely delight our users once they get a taste of it. But you’ll have to see for yourself – for now I have to keep it under wraps. All I can say is: You’re gonna be amazed!
Based on your Design and UX expertise, what changes in these two domains have you seen throughout your so far professional career? What did Design and UX mean in the past compared to what it means now?
When I started working in the field, skeuomorphism was still a huge thing, at least in the Apple-centric world. Everyone marvelled at the complexity and intense level of detail that went into making app icons. They were literally artwork! At the same time, people became increasingly uneasy about what that meant for asset sizes and the effort that had to go into visuals. With each Apple keynote the default icon sizes doubled, and the industry worried about exponentially growing app sizes.
Then in 2013 Apple finally abandoned their hyper-realistic visual language and produced their own take on flat design, which had been spearheaded by Microsoft and Google already for quite a while. Although it was a huge step into the opposite direction, Apple wouldn’t go all the way. They kept some whimsical things, and their extensive use of neon-colored gradients elicited a lot of criticism and mocking. My personal highlight in that regard was someone submitting a picture of the actual iOS7 “charging” home screen to a blog exclusively dedicated to showing made-up “redesigned” things for people to laugh at the impossible creations. Well played!
After that, it seems to be an almost all-encompassing win for flat design. This trend has continued to thrive and is very much alive and kicking today.
Design and UX have made much bigger leaps a couple of years back than now. Hardly anything groundbreaking has happened in the last few years. As with smartphone manufacturers, who have spent more than a decade refining their products, and now tend to improve them only marginally with every iteration, UI/UX patterns have become solved problems. Every designer has now vast libraries of interaction patterns at their fingertips, which offer an excellent starting point for all kinds of situations. As voice controlled devices enter our living rooms and augmented reality is becoming a recent trend popular once more again, those may present new challenges for the ones working on them. And also, there is the Internet of Things, which is very interesting and opens up a new playing field.
Can you give our readers any examples of best mobile website & app designs? What makes them great in our opinion?
I’m just in love with Duolingo. They push continuously for a better product and it shows. To some, their style is a bit too much on the “childish” side. I like how they combine flat design with cute illustrations. But the more relevant part is that they are constantly experimenting, running hundreds of small and big A/B tests all the time. Whether it’s features, UX, UI, core concepts … they are reinventing themselves every day. I have huge respect for this company, not just because of their great product, but also because they genuinely seem to be amazing people. Check out their blog.
Another all-time favourite of mine is Pocket. I use it every day. Really revolutionized my phone reading habits. What makes it great is the minimalist style that doesn’t get in your way, and how they carefully chose the options to customize that to your liking. If you’re going to read for hours in there, it’s important that you like what you see, after all. Sadly, not fully available in the free version of the app anymore, I was happy to discover the “dark” mode, helping me read through so many nights. To be able to choose a serif or sans serif font style made the typography nerd in me rejoice. Even better, they show mercy with those that have bad eyesight. Reading for hours in bed was made possible only because I could increase the font size enough to read without my glasses.
Putting brand names aside (and keeping them a secret), what is the other side of the pole? What are the worst examples – and the worst mistakes made?
Hard to believe nowadays, but horribly designed apps still exist. Maybe it’s just me digging around obscure topics and coming across niche products that didn’t age well. I can stand neither bad UX nor bad design, and whenever such an app makes it onto my device for whatever reason, it won’t stay long.
Hard to tell where bad design ends and mistakes begin. A no-go without doubt is everything that feels clunky or heavy, is slow and painful to use. You find those annoyances in every category, and they are closely followed by poor interfaces and bad user flows. For example when looking for a thing, which you know has to be in there, becomes more of an odyssey than a straightforward go-get-it.
I must say I don’t mind outdated or old-fashioned design styles very much, as long as the two above problems aren’t present. Not abiding by the latest visual trends is really not a big deal compared to huge usability issues. Old design isn’t necessarily bad design. Of course, I let that slide for old products only! If you have a something alive and kicking now, giving it a slick design is a must!
Looking at ecommerce and SMBs, is the focus on design and UX a must-do even for the smaller players? In your opinion, what type of smaller ecommerce businesses do – and do not – need to have their own designer & UX specialist on board?
In my opinion, nobody can afford subpar design and UX. I’m not saying that each and every business needs to employ a design specialist. This can be financially impossible when you’re only two people and just starting out. Depending on your line of business you might be able to make use of cheap website templates for a good while. But this can’t go on forever. There is the absolute need to get a professional involved, and the time for that is much sooner than owners of small businesses would think. It doesn’t even have to be hiring. There are really good freelance designers and UX consultants around. To answer the question, yes, it’s a must-do even for small players! If the fingers on one hand are not enough anymore to count your employees, it’s time to get a specialist on board.
How much does website/app design and UX affect sales? How can we measure this impact?
Design and UX have a huge impact on sales. Users nowadays are used to fast and smooth experiences, getting to where they want to be quickly, and buying what they want almost effortlessly. Sometimes just with one click. Or a voice command.
If implemented properly, excellent UI/UX removes all obstacles from the customer’s path to purchase, and it instills the trust they need to pull through with it. If they don’t trust that your product delivers what you promise, and they will actually receive it after the payment process, they won’t buy.
The impact of design and UX changes can be easily measured by tools that let you test your original version against one or several different versions. There is a huge variety of free and paid tools. You can perfectly start with trying what free ones have to offer, and they often enable you to perform simple tests without needing to get a developer involved. Starting split testing will give you unexpected insights. Soon you’ll thirst for more! I recommend getting a tool that offers additional services like crowdsourced testing. They don’t look cheap at first glance, but the quick real-world user feedback will speed up your product cycles immensely, not only saving you big bucks in the long run, but also leading to better sales figures.
What resources would you recommend to those of our readers who would like to better understand this impact?
If you start looking, you’ll find a plethora of research, case studies, benchmarks and articles. While it is notoriously difficult to assign a ROI to UX beforehand, the results of many done projects are out in the open.
My favourite to follow is the Baymard Institute. They conduct a lot of research and publish very detailed articles about their findings, which are also entertaining to read. They give a very good overview, and in-depth research is there to buy as well. I suggest to just go through their articles (a new one is published every two weeks) to get a good picture of what they’re doing. And you’ll learn a lot already by just doing that.
In your opinion, what are the current hottest trends in website/app design and UX that will soon rule the world? Is there anything that will be particularly popular in 2018?
For me, the next big thing is machine learning and AI. Although AI is a topic that has been around for quite a while, we are witnessing its rapid development right now. On a side note, I can’t recommend highly enough Tim Urban’s article on AI on his blog Wait But Why. Also, the complete rest of his posts as well. Thank me later!
Remember what the automobile did to the horse carriage industry? I’m not saying that designer’s jobs will completely vanish into thin air, but they will look very different pretty soon. Not 2018 though, but the transformation will start affecting the industry soon. We already see commercial products that aim to remove the tedious legwork part of the job. And we shouldn’t be afraid of technology taking the boring jobs from us. I’m all for getting rid of repetitive tasks; this frees up our time to focus on the more strategic side of design. As already hinted at earlier, vast libraries of UI components are available to efficiently assemble product interfaces. Design styles have become simple and easy to standardize through flat design. This means a machine can do it. We can be its boss, tell it what we want and correct it to get the best outcome. Split testing is an excellent candidate for being taken over by machines as well. Looking automatically for optimization potential, implementing that change and running the test, analyzing results and updating the design with the best version, and then starting the cycle again.
The biggest chance this whole automated machine learning process opens up is a groundbreakingly thorough personalization for each and every of your users out there. AI will take it to the next level. The user’s experience with digital interfaces will become fluid. The UI layer of a digital product will be able to automatically re-render content to accommodate a user’s unique needs, preferences, personality, etc. Designing for the majority will become obsolete. Although people may still fall into bigger and smaller groups, it’ll no longer be an issue to accommodate everyone. Providing different solutions to different people will become much less of a resource issue.
It’s easy to see that this development radically changes the notion of what a visual and a UX designer does. We might be surprised to discover that the robots that took worker’s jobs in factories are now finally coming for us. There are few examples where the revolution that took countless jobs, gives back the same or a higher amount of similar jobs. Those that were put out of work by the commercial success of cars didn’t all become chauffeurs or mechanics. And while the rise of motorized individual transport was followed eventually by more dire consequences, for example environmental problems, look at today! Technological advancements have overall done so much more good than bad. Completely new, previously unimaginable industries were born, there are types of work only science fiction writers could have thought of, and some more that nobody would have believed to ever exist 15 years ago. We’ll be fine. Unless AI kills us all, which might actually happen, but that’s not a hot trend for 2018. Yay!
“The consumer pressure for more convenience is driving the race to reduce delivery lead times. (…) If everyone continues to want to drive in the ‘fast lane’, this will eventually lead to a traffic jam. And 2018 is predicted to be a particularly acute jam,” says Darko Atijas from Neopost Shipping. In this interview before his talk at the E-commerce Berlin Expo, he shares spot-on remarks on the current state of logistics in ecommerce – and the state-of-the-art solutions developed to meet this demand.
Paulina, Ecommerce Capitals: Since June 2017 you are the Sales Director Europe at Neopost Shipping. What does your position involve, how large is your team, what key responsibilities do you have?
Darko Atijas, Sales Director Europe at Neopost Shipping: The reality is this responsibility started even before the official title change. During the acquisition of Temando by Neopost Shipping, we decided early on to join forces and not duplicate efforts where possible. We subsequently extended our focus to include additional Neopost Shipping product like Packcity, and our carrier technology stack to cater for the full cart to customer proposition.
Today, my main marketing responsibility is as the lead regional representative across all products. At a sales level, it is migrating all of our existing business onto our new technology Software as a Service contracts as well as securing new retail, carrier and channel contracts. I am responsible across the business to ensure our success.
I am proud to say that we have 20 people across sales and regional marketing in Europe. We are focused on developing an inclusive, transparent and results-based culture. Most importantly, we are retaining a learning culture where team members are encouraged to ‘push the envelope’ and learn from failure when it happens. In a fast-moving environment this is hugely important to our success as a business.
Neopost Shipping is a provider of supply chain technology from cart to customer. Your product portfolio includes shipping/tracking software for retail, Magento Shipping, Parcel Lockers, and a range of other hi-tech solutions. Yet, the company started in 1999, in times when everything was different – especially the technologies. How has the company changed since then? Is the team larger – or more specialised? How do you steer the course of your development?
In recent years, Neopost Shipping has made significant investments in delivery management technologies for Commerce, with a strong focus on eCommerce sector, which experiences sustainable growth on all continents. Neopost Shipping has specialised in Supply Chain management software as well as data acquisition technologies and has a strong combination of technology and domain knowledge in Transport, Logistics and Supply Chain processes. In order to develop increasingly innovative offers, we put Research & Development at the heart of our business, and half of our resources are devoted to Product Development and Technology. Our R&D teams are based in France, the Netherlands, the USA, Australia and Vietnam.
What’s the Neopost Shipping’s current position in Europe?
Neopost Shipping currently has over 400 people working for its clients, located in France, the United Kingdom, Netherlands, Spain, the United States, Australia, Singapore and Japan. We also distribute our solutions in Europe, Asia and North America via subsidiaries of the Neopost Group, and to the other continents via the Export division.
Our solutions and business expertise have already attracted major players in Europe. In the Express transport and freight forwarding sector, such as Geopost, Geodis, Chronopost, Relais Colis, Parcelforce Worldwide, DHL Express. In the Postal industry there is La Poste or Royal Mail. In the Supply Chain sector we cooperate with DHL Supply Chain. In the Specialized Logistics sector, there is Baudelet aDHL Freight. In the Industrial sector we have Nespresso or Renault. In the traditional Distribution sector there is Metro Cash & Carry, Carrefour, Sephora, Kohl’s, Staples, Galeries Lafayette. And finally, in the eCommerce and Catalog Sell sectors our partners include La Redoute, Asos, Sunny Europe.
And what’s your position in Germany?
Germany is a very unique market. Germany’s consumers have been more guarded in their embrace of digital buying compared with some other European markets. Digital buyers have their own preferences depending on the country. For example, in Germany they are far more likely than those in the UK or France to pick up ecommerce orders from lockers in train stations or other public places. So that could potentially be a market for our parcel locker solution, Packcity.
According to Statista, revenue in the German "eCommerce" market amounts to $69M in 2018. Revenue is expected to show an annual growth rate (CAGR 2018-2022) of 6.5 % for us that’s definitely an interesting market to monitor. As a subsidiary of the Neopost Group, we have a presence in Germany and Shipping is developing capabilities in Germany through a partner-led model. One concrete example of this is our Magento Shipping and Order Management partnership. You can actually meet us at the event on the Meet Magento stand if you have any questions.
What competitors do you have – and what do you do to gain or maintain advantage?
Competition exists at each individual stage of the value chain, from cart-to-customer. However, there is not a single competitor able to offer an end-to-end solution as we do. This positioning offers 4 major added-value to our customers:
Delivery is the crucial element of the online customer experience. What are the biggest challenges that you and other companies operating in this niche face?
The biggest challenges we face as a global company is to understand the markets. If all retailers want to offer the best customer experience, this means something different in each market. As I said before, German customers are quite keen to use click and collect. In the UK, in turn, it is still a developing market because the UK digital buyers used to be more interested in getting parcels delivered to their home. For the carriers, the motivation is the same: offering the best customer experience. Amazon has disrupted the market, and customers are now used to ‘better, faster, cheaper’.
Most recently, we are seeing an investment crunch in delivery capacity. The consumer pressure for more convenience is driving the race to reduce delivery lead times. Consumers want this owing to services like Amazon Prime and consumer apps like Uber and Deliveroo. It is an inevitable trend that is exacerbated through age groups. Millenials are far more likely to value speed over cost. The issue with this pressure is that carriers and retailers cannot keep up with the level of investment required to match this demand. Wall Street, Frankfurt + The City of London will simply not allow them to raise money as cheaply as Amazon to keep up with demand and required capital investment. Therefore, if everyone continues to want to drive in the ‘fast lane’, this will eventually lead to a traffic jam. And 2018 is predicted to be a particularly acute jam.
So how are retailers and carriers collaborating to solve this issue? Get the inventory as close as possible to the customer. Through better integrated order management, retailers are better able to offer click and collect and ship from store options. We are focused on this as a differentiator for retailers. In addition to this, offer dynamic cart hourly slot and same day delivery options as a ‘premium’ and paid service offering it is possible for retailers to curate which products (or orders, or customers, or locations) are shipped at a premium service. This allows retailers and carriers to have much healthier commercial relationships.
What happens when click and collect runs out of steam? We are seeing automation through parcel lockers as a key part of this strategy. We have successfully done this with retailers like Auchan and Decathlon and have helped them manage volume of customer collections through automation. Shipping direct from store is also very much at the core of our retailers’ Omnichannel fulfilment capabilities.
As you’ve mentioned, globally, the portfolio of brands using your solutions is truly impressive: there’s DHL Express, Royal Mail, Australia Post, Singapore Post, Renault, Carrefour, Sephora, and many more. How different are your solutions depending on the location you sell them to? How much different are the supply chains?
We don’t sell all of our products in all markets. For example, our solution Packcity has been implemented in France for many years while we are piloting it in the UK. It depends on the maturity of the market and the real need of retailers and carriers. In terms of our supply chain software, Temando Enterprise, we make integrations with carriers according to the country we sell the product into. It is very much a tailored solution, designed for the retailer, depending on its goals and existing infrastructure and technology. One of the main drivers for our investment in restructuring is levelling the product offering globally in our key markets in the US, Europe and Australia/NZ.
How do you design new products? How are the ideas for these products born? Are they taken from the business – or perhaps from the perspective of the end customers?
We have developed very innovative products for our retailer’s needs. I’ll give you two examples. The first is CVP-500, an automated system that enables to pack orders in fit-to-size parcels created on the fly in a few seconds. This system optimizes parcel dimensions, automates the packing process, enables to reduce packing materials (cardboard and void fill) and saves storage space of standard packing boxes. A unique automated solution that generates operational and financial savings while reducing the shipper’s carbon footprint. CVP-500 was born from the idea of offering e-commerce players an alternative to shipping their orders in oversized cartons. It needed 18 months of development between the idea and the prototype. The first machine was installed in prototype in September 2013 at the Dutch e-logistician DocData. A phase of continuous improvement followed from 2013 to 2015 thanks to the feedback of various pilots. The machine was officially launched in Benelux at the end of 2015 and then launched in several major markets, including France, UK and Germany. This is now successfully used by European customers like C-Discount.
Another example is Zenda. Zenda is the answer to the increase in international e-commerce, growing at 25% per year. Traditional cargo businesses rely on a slow, offline process and are focused on a small number of large logistics customers. Retailers in the USA have two options to ship internationally: use fast but expensive express delivery, or cheap but slow postal shipping. Zenda saw a gap in the market to meet the needs of small and medium enterprises in the USA. Zenda fills the void between fast but expensive express delivery, and cheap but slow postal shipping. It is a revolutionary logistics platform that delivers packages from the retailer’s warehouse to the customer’s door. Zenda provides door-to-door tracking and delivers packages in just 4 to 7 days. Duties and taxes are also paid upfront, so customers aren't presented with a surprise bill they were not expecting when their package arrives. Zenda is currently shipping parcels with a pilot customer since October 2017. In 2018, we will expand the Zenda proposition to new markets, routes and airline partners.
We are continuing to invest and partner on new products at a steady pace. R+D continues to represent a significant portion of our global revenue.
On the 15th of February 2018 you will appear at the E-commerce Berlin Expo with a talk titled “Progress or Perish: the technology flywheel”. Can you reveal more details? What are you going to talk about?
We will keep some cards close to our chest, but sure! Every aspect of commerce, and Supply Chain is being disrupted through ever increasing technology leaps. The pace of change is increasing exponentially because of automation and Artificial Intelligence, and only businesses willing to take calculated and regular risk will survive in an increasingly competitive landscape. Consumer technology is driving increased consumer expectations. Businesses investing in predictive capabilities will only spur demand further and further squeeze the supply chain. Commerce is becoming more and more fragmented and fuelled by huge investment in ecommerce, supply chain, and in-store technology innovation. Retailers that don’t embrace these changes, invest NOW, and entrench technology at the very core of their being will disappear much more quickly than in the past. I’ll be discussing some strategies businesses can embrace to curb this trend.
Who do you address your talk to the most? Small ecommerce players of big fish?
Our solutions are relevant to any retailers. They share the same pain points and objectives: offering the best customer experience. We’ve done a research in 2017 and we found that consumers, now more than ever, demand choice. Retailers must offer the shipping options consumers expect, within an acceptable price range, or consumers find another retailer that does. When you look at why a consumer abandon the cart, you find shipping as a major reason. For 54%, the cost of shipping was too high. For 39%, free shipping was not offered. For 26%, the shipping was going to be too slow or inconvenient. At the top end of retail, E100M+, we do tend to work and contract with retailers directly. In the expansive mid-market, we tend to offer our solutions via partners like Magento where we underpin their delivery proposition.
Based on your experience with industry events, how should people – not speakers, but exhibitors and visitors in particular – prepare in advance to make the most of such meetings? What advice would you give?
I think the best is to have a look at the list of exhibitors and attendees and create a top list of the people you want to talk to. I would then connect on LinkedIn with them and let them know that I would like to meet them at the event. Also networking is key. You should be visible at every networking event you can find. And again connect on LinkedIn with everybody you have been talking to. I would also be quite vocal on Twitter using the official hashtag, so I make myself visible and I can follow the conversations going on.
And what do you expect from industry events such as the E-commerce Berlin Expo?
I expect to network with retailers, connect with partners, and learn from the industry. Of course, we will have some fun as well! Berlin is a great city worth exploring!