Choosing the best eCommerce platform is as subjective and tricky as trying to find the most beautiful woman in the world. eCommerce solutions comparison shows that each of existing platforms has its own advantages and strong points suitable for some clients but totally improper for others.
All e-commerce platforms may be divided into 2 big categories according to code and data access:
- Open source solutions
- Hosted solutions.
‘To host or not to host?’ - this is an eternal question, since it’s a choice between the complicated freedom and limited simplicity. If you prefer an Open source platform, you are not obliged to host it and you can delegate hosting responsibilities to the company that has developed the platform, meaning Enterprise versions of Open Source products that provide full customisation freedom and take care of store hosting. Hosted solutions like Shopify or Bigcommerce offer a narrower range of customisation opportunities, but since most if the hosted out-of-the-box solutions have pretty standard functions to offer, a hosted eCommerce platform can become the best choice for you.
For those of you who are not looking for an easy way, we have compared TOP 5 Open Source eCommerce Platforms:
Magento is a well-known enterprise-level player and it is a great fit for large-scale retailers with high sales load.
This platform has already gained recognition of the world’s leading brands and it is capable of handling massive amounts of data and traffic, which is considered to be one of the most important requirements for big enterprises. However, such success is quite predictable stores built on Magento can easily handle up to 4M page requests and 50K orders PER HOUR! Such high performance is a proven advantage over other platforms, and magento keeps its position as one the most robust eCommerce platforms.
Furthermore, it has a very high security level and in case any detects or vulnerability issues occur, the security team immediately reacts to them and launches security patches. Due to these regular updates Magento stores can be protected from malware attacks.
Magento is fully customizable and scalable, which might seem to be a strange advantage over other open source platforms which claim to be flexible as well; but keep in mind that all of them have some restrictions while Magento is absolutely tailor-makeable. This customization freedom is another side of the medal though, since the cost of adjustments may be quite high. Professional Magento development with its $60-120 hourly rate is considered to be relatively expensive in comparison with other platforms’ development which can cost 2-3 times cheaper. But such investments in Magento base store will pay off with increasing sales rate, time and money saved due to lack of unnecessary operations and automated processes.
OpenCart is a lightweight system and it requires less resources than Magento, but it can also serve a limited amount of users and it has certain restrictions in the number of products being handled and your store’s bandwidth is not promising a very high performance.
In general, OpenCart looks like a great solution for startups and small companies that are going for independent web store development. The tremendous advantage of this platform is its clarity and user-friendliness, and the fact that it’s suitable for less experienced users. Also, it can save your a ton of money, since its development costs about $10/hr. Its another obvious advantages for novices is that its management is clear and intuitive due to convenient Admin panel.
WooCommerce is the most highly used tool in the eCommerce category worldwide. Its community includes a lot of professional developers who can release vast array of options and customizations for your web store and both of them are equally flexible with the wide range of ready solutions, so if you couldn’t find the required feature installed by default, it’s highly likely someone has already developed such extension and it is available at the system marketplace. And this huge community can easily help you to resolve your issues. WooCommerce allows to uploading and managing an infinite number of products, run a blog, perform SEO and marketing activities.
WooCommerce is a leading eCommerce platform in the entire web due to its big target audience of WordPress users and small companies that are familiar with this CMS. All you need to do is install a shopping cart plugin, run and customize it to your requirements and you are ready to create products. Manage orders, coupons, reports, inventory, linked products, shipping, settings, add-ons, add tags and categories to all of your products effortlessly.
Woocommerce security mainly depends on the hosting company.
If you’re new to eCommerce environment or you targeting on a marketing niche in general or have a slim range of products, it may be reasonable totry out WooCommerce.
Prestashop numbers about 250.000 customers, 30.000 Community and 850.000 forum members. Despite the fact that it extends to more than 200 countries and has been translated to 65 languages, Prestashop community forum is only available in English and French.
Hire a PrestaShop developer will cost you less than hiring the one for Magento, but you’ll have to pay those extra money for quite expensive modules for this platform.
PrestaShop is pretty easy to set up if the hosting company supports one-click installation, but in order to install it manually, you must have technical knowledge.
There are about 11 306 web stores built via Shopware. From the first glance it may seem like an unfair competition with other platforms, such as Magento or WooCommerce, but what if we stopped comparing platforms globally and scaled this research down to a specific country? If we take a closer look, it becomes clear that this competition has a distinct local character on the German eCommerce market, since there are 13 463 live Magento stores and 7 848 active Shopware stores in Germany. And these numbers are impressive, especially if you pay attention to the fact a big part of new Shopware adherents actually switched from the Magento platform. Shopware mainly targets on German market where it owns 3.76% share.
Shopware developes its community and its events are quite similar to those held by the Magento. Shopware community is mostly German speaking, so it’s quite challenging to find information and user reviews of this solution, especially in English.
This platform still looks like a mysterious eCommerce platform and you might have heard its name before but it has always been complicated to describe its key features. Keep in mind that for bigger projects you will need to use paid editions, so if you’re going to build a multi-store system, be ready to go to an expense of a license that significantly raises the initial costs. Also, despite the Shopware’s flexibility and prominent design opportunities its usage is limited geographically to german-speaking countries.
Average Shopware developer hourly rate is around $35-70.
Less than a month left to the E-commerce Berlin Expo: on 2nd February, Station Berlin will be the venue for the second edition of the e-commerce trade fair that gathers the biggest
e-commerce companies in one place.
This year, the organizers expect 3,000 visitors and 90 exhibitors. These include the representatives of Deutsche Post, Rakuten Deutschland, Idealo, Semrush, Freshdesk, PrestaShop and Handlerbund eV.
The visitors will also have the opportunity to participate in presentations covering the current e-commerce trends. Leading industry experts will give their talks and share their expertise on as many as four stages.
One stage will be dedicated to selling on different markets. Hugo Smoter, CCO at Spreadshirt, will talk about the influence of cultural differences on sales. For these purposes, he will compare the German and the American sales strategies.
There will also be a dedicated panel session on international expansion, moderated by Oliver Prothmann, President at BVOH. The speakers invited include Karl Wehner (Alibaba Group), Roman Decker (Schneider Group), Dominik Johnson (Yandex) and Nenad Cetkovic (Lengow), who will focus mostly on China and Russia.
Other experts such as Annegret Mayer from Handlerbund AG and Nadine Litchfield from Germany Trade & Invest will focus on the German e-commerce market. There will also be a joint talk of Konstantin Guratzsch and Christian Schlueter (Xing), and Laurence Kozera (Foucault) from Google who will deal with AMP, i.e. Accelerated Mobile Pages.
The experts will also present the most up-to-date strategies for e-commerce companies. Bjorn Espenes (FINCH) will talk about programmatic advertising, Karsten Koehler (HubSpot) will elaborate on the topic of personalized ads, while Fernando Angulo (SEMrush) will discuss the importance of SEO in e-commerce. Philipp Hädrich (Home 24 AG) and Emanuel Koechert (Smartly) will in turn focus on how to scale advertising in the social media.
A detailed agenda and the list of speakers and exhibitors are available on the official website of the event: ecommerceberlin.com
Anyone interested in participating in the event should also register here. Participation in the event is free of any charge, but the number of tickets available is limited, so it is best to hurry up and register as soon as possible.
To stay up to date with the event, follow E-Commerce Berlin Expo on Facebook and Twitter.
The strategic partners of the event include: BEVH, Meet Magento Association, Bundesverband Onlinehandel, SIBB and Handlerbund eV. The event takes place on Thursday, 2nd February 2017, from 9 to 5 at Station Berlin in Berlin, Germany.
So you still cannot decide whether to start your business in Germany or not? Turkish, Chinese, Japanese, Indian and American companies are already here – and succeeding. In this interview with Nadine Litchfield from Germany Trade & Invest you will learn how to get free support when starting up in Germany and how to best attract the German customers.
Paulina, E-commerce Berlin: I’ll start in a provocative way: compared to other European countries, why is it worth running a business in Germany, especially in e-commerce?
Nadine Litchfield, Senior Manager, Germany Trade & Invest: With 68 million people (84% of the German population) online on a regular basis, Germany boasts not only the most internet users in Europe, but also the greatest e-commerce customer potential. Germany is also responsible for around one quarter of all European B2C e-commerce revenue. The A.T. Kearney Global Retail E-Commerce Index 2015 identified Germany as Europe’s second largest online market behind the UK – but with almost triple the UK’s current growth potential. Germany has the highest total purchasing power and is the biggest market in Europe with 82.2 million potential customers.
There are strategic considerations too. Germany is located in the center of mainland Europe, which offers a number of practical advantages for companies to expand into and deliver to the rest of Europe. In today’s e-commerce world, where shipment time is crucial for customers, setting up a warehouse or a logistical facility in Germany is beneficial.
Germany Trade & Invest is the foreign trade and inward investment agency of the Federal Republic of Germany. What do you do? How do you attract business to Germany?
In our experience, most retailers (online as well as offline) are experts in their market but need support in the individual local customs, for example tax and legal frameworks or visa regulations for employees, or even ways to get into the local market.
We function as the ‘man on the ground’ to foreign investors, the local contact who knows the market and market conditions, speaks the local language and has the local connections, for example to trade associations, that make the difference and facilitate market entry for a potential investor. Our services range from first market information for an interested investor to the final location selection for the project. We see ourselves as a “one-stop agency” that supports the investor closely in every stage of the decision-making process. We help attract business to Germany by informing potential investors about the advantages of an investment here at trade shows and conferences all over the world.
What are your responsibilities as the Senior Manager Consumer Markets & E-Commerce at Germany Trade & Invest? What does your everyday job entail? What do you like in it?
I work with companies from all over the world which are active in consumer products both online and offline and which would like to learn more about the German market in order to decide where in Germany to set up their business. The work entails keeping up to date with current trends and developments in Germany in order to be able to inform clients accordingly, as well as listening to their needs and matching them with the right information. I visit conferences and trade shows to connect with foreign companies who intend to set up a subsidiary in Germany. Sometimes, the investing company knows exactly where it would like to set up their business but sometimes that’s a longer process. What I like about my job is that I get to meet so many diverse companies and people from different countries and cultures. I get to learn about their story, product and business model, their motivation and their objective of setting up a business in Germany. Every day and every project is different: I work with small companies, with young designers and start-ups but also with big international players, some of them family-owned. It makes me very proud when I see their first facility open, or their first advertisement on TV, or their website translated into German. Knowing that I have been a tiny part of this development and seeing the companies succeed in the German market is a good feeling.
What are the statistics for new businesses in Germany? What countries most often seek growth opportunities on the German (e-commerce) market? What’s the share of big players – and SMEs?
According to data from the federal states, Germany recorded 1,912 greenfield investment, expansion or relocation projects in 2015 (that’s a 60% increase on 2014). Additionally, there were 413 mergers & acquisitions. The most important region for greenfield and expansion investment in Germany is the EU-28 zone, while China and the USA remain the most important individual investor countries. Foreign investors tend to prefer investing in corporate and financial services, with the ICT and communications sector a close second. Third place is consumer goods (incl. Food & Bev.).
E-commerce is not a separate sector as it plays a role across other sectors, for example both ICT and consumer goods. Therefore there is no reliable data available on how many e-commerce companies have settled in Germany. I have recently worked mostly with companies coming from Europe, Turkey, China and Japan. Indian and American companies have also sought my support in recent years.
During the E-commerce Berlin Expo on 2nd February 2017 you will give a talk titled “The German E-Commerce Market: How the Consumer challenges the entire industry”. Can you reveal some more details? Why the focus on the consumers? And how do German shoppers differ from other European consumers?
After presenting background data on the overall German e-commerce market, the main focus will be on typical German consumers: who they are, what they are, their different habits. Every retail company which has conducted business here before will agree that the German consumer is different than consumers from other countries. Without giving away too much (as I’d like you all to come to the presentation!), the German consumer is more demanding than average when it comes to aspects such as website loading times, payment methods, delivery/return options and costs involved. German consumers are perceived to be ‘return champions’ by companies from abroad. I will discuss this in some depth in my talk as it is important to know the consumer specifics before doing business here.
What resources would you recommend to a non-German speaking person who would like to learn more about the German e-commerce market environment? Where can he or she check trends and look for niches?
Trade shows and conferences, such as E-Commerce Berlin Expo, are great ways to gather information and talk to market players in order to receive inside information. Beyond that, I would recommend getting in contact with domestic e-commerce associations, as they generate crucial market data as well as organize regular events for their members to interact and exchange ideas. There are several excellent newsletters with up-to-date information (although mostly in the German language only). When it comes to entering the German market by setting up a subsidiary here, such as a sales office, call center or warehouse, we at Germany Trade & Invest are the right agency to contact. As we are funded by the German government, our support is objective, confidential and free of charge.
Based on your expertise, which segments of the German e-commerce market are easy to conquer? By this I mean: are there any specific products or services from abroad that are more likely to sell well to the German shoppers?
This is a very difficult question. As you know, the German market is the biggest consumer market in Europe with the highest total purchasing power. This means that it is a very attractive market for companies from all over the world. Together with all the innovative companies that we already have here in Germany, it is also a very competitive market. As a result, I would not say that any market segment is easy to conquer. Success for any company in Germany – local or foreign – depends upon a shrewd strategic approach which finds a niche in the busy German market, either in terms of product or service or both. We have also noticed recently that companies which retain their own identity tend to be more successful, for example a Swedish company which retains its Swedish identity and culture and only adapts as much as absolutely necessary in order to serve the German market, will have more success than a Swedish company which sacrifices its identity and culture in order to operate in Germany. The idea/product/service needs to be authentic and if it is, the company will find its niche more easily.
What are your e-commerce market forecasts for 2017?
I believe that this year will be dominated by analysis of the customer journey with the help of big data, culminating in increased offering of personalized product choices with flexible delivery options and dynamic and individual pricing to consumers. Safety will also play a major role this year, especially in further developments of mobile payment options.
Big Star belongs to the biggest Polish sales chains. Brick and mortar (B&M) sales network embraces over 260 stores located in Poland and in the world. The company products are very popular among Polish clients.
The brand has been selling the products online since a few years. Intensive development led to the fact that there appeared the need to adopt more effective and advanced solutions. In the course of the pre-implementation analysis the most important tasks of the new e-commerce system were identified. These included:
- Effective combination of online and offline sales by using the best omnichannel retailing practices.
- Preparation of network infrastructure in the cloud that would be able to serve a big number of users.
- Preparation of logistics processes that support transborder sales.
- Creation of dedicated solutions of information exchange between the present systems.
- Preparation of a new integration with Impuls 5 IT system of MRP II/ERP class.
- Preparation of an online store based on the best responsive web design standards and carrying out the user experience optimisation.
Omnichannel retailing in eCommerce
When BIG STAR brand discovered the potential resulting from the combination of online sales with B&M sales and the change of clients' behaviour in the way of buying, it decided to become open to omnichannel issues.
The works on omnichannel solutions have been planned for the second stage of new system implementation. They will concern:
- The system of product reservation in an online store, with the possibility of picking up the product in a brick and mortar store.
- The possibility of checking online if the products are available in the closest B&M store.
Integrations as the keys to success in eCommerce
Some part of the works related to the combination of different environments of information exchange. We can distinguish the following types of integration:
- Dedicated integration with accounting and workhouse management programme Impuls 5 of MRP II class. The main goal of this integration is to support companies in managing their capital, team, production, document flow and relationship with clients.
- Dedicated integration with the Allegro Brands Sphere. It enables advanced control over the product structure, comprehensive after-sales service as well as process automation. All activities are carried out from an online store panel through advanced solution that uses full API service.
BIG STAR have B&M stores in over a dozen countries in the world. A new online store is prepared for international sales. The store has the possibility of fixing prices (independent of each other) for a given domain and a given language, the possibility of determining banner adverts and dynamic graphic elements for a given language version and the possibility of determining the product offer for a given product version. In addition, the brand introduced the mechanisms for optimising the costs of international shipment and for improving their logistics.
eCommerce solutions related to sales
The solutions that support network sales have also been prepared and implemented in the new BIG STAR e-commerce system. Among them we can find:
- the module of personalising stripes on the brand products;
- the module of promotion creator that allows effective creation of sales promotion by store administrators according to the set of configurable parameters;
- the module of abandoned carts that makes it possible to send the client information about uncompleted purchases. As part of the module the store administrators can also establish additional inducement in the form of a discount of a given amount or percentage to increase the attractive character of the offer;
- extended Lookbook module associated with collections and particular products;
- product recommendations presented when the clients go to the store cart – the so called cross-selling;
- a solution that makes it possible to create sales promotions that can be configured in any way. As part of this solution the store administrators may use discounts of a given amount or percentage, add flat or progressive discounts or provide codes;
- a module that facilitates promotion management, integrated with B&M stores.
The power of cloud hosting
BIG STAR is a very popular brand. An online store must serve many people and be prepared for fast and effective increase in server resources in case of large promotional campaigns. To meet these challenges i-systems has prepared a dedicated server infrastructure in the cloud called cloud hosting.
Currently the BIG STAR online store is visited by several hundred thousand users every month. Cloud servers is a flexible and optimally organised environment for application operation and it allows scaling. Thanks to this solution the store can also increase the power of a given element of that environment when the application generates increased traffic. The whole system of an online store is divided into smaller parts and each of them is served by independent server machines. Thanks to such solution the store operates faster while the risk of slackness or failure has
Percentage proportion of the actions most frequently carried out by clients and their complete activity
In order to improve the performance of servers in the cloud all elements of system application, like database, WWW server, cache server etc. work on their own, dedicated virtual server.
Such solution allows making their screen shot. Screen shot, in turn, allows reproducing data in exactly the same order in case of failure. Similar solution may be used if there appears a need to create another virtual machines to achieve better distribution of traffic.
Protection of data in the cloud
The whole BIG STAR e-commerce system is monitored 24/7. The aspects that are subject to monitoring include, among other things, database response time, www server response time, error occurrence or the percentage of resource use by particular virtual servers. The monitoring service also allows diagnosing the cloud elements which can be optimised in terms of speed of website.
Averaging response time of the application, divided into elements
The monitoring device used has the strategy consisting in informing of the errors and non-availability related to external databases. Thanks to that the service team, through communication canals prepared especially for that purpose, is informed of the cloud infrastructure status on a current basis.
The i-systems company creates dedicated e-commerce software for retail and distribution. It deals with projects, including omnichannel retailing solutions, cloud hosting, and B2B systems.
As THE change in e-commmerce, programmatic advertising is inevitable and will impact you sooner or later. It depends on you whether it will be a severe blow or a motivational kick. In this interview with genius Bjorn Espenes, the Founder & CEO of Finch, you will learn why you cannot afford to ignore it, how Finch built its enviable position and expertise in the paid search industry, and why you simply must not miss Bjorn’s upcoming talk at the E-commerce Berlin Expo, February 2, at Station Berlin!
Paulina, E-commerce Berlin: You are the Founder & CEO of Finch – a company that runs advertising campaigns for e-commerce and lead generation websites through a fully managed, cloud-based optimization service (SaaS+). How was the idea for Finch born?
Bjorn Espenes, Finch: My co-founder, Eric Maas and I spent almost 10 years building an omnichannel e-commerce platform (SaaS) company. We managed all channels except paid search. In our pursuit of finding a partner to manage that channel for our clients, we repeatedly had very poor experiences. We realized that running paid search for an e-commerce company with a sizable product catalog and very specific requirements needed a completely different approach than what the typical agency offers. The complexity demands software to help manage the channel, keyword management, bid modifier management, campaign structure and maintenance for Search and Shopping, influencing Quality Score, and many more areas. We set out to achieve two things:
Since its start in 2009, Finch has grown to be a global company with offices in the US, Europe, Asia and South America. Moreover, Finch is the 145th fastest growing private company in the US (Inc 500) and the #12th fastest growing software company. What has had the biggest impact on this spectacular growth?
The biggest impact on our growth has been achieved by focusing on two key areas: first, being able to automate and drive performance programmatically and, second, hiring amazing people.
We’ve been able to have such an astounding growth because of our unique approach.
I’ll give you an example of what e-commerce advertisers are dealing with: Imagine a company with a 5,000 product catalog, with likely four variables on the product details page. These are all terms that people can search for to find the products: title, UPC code, manufacturer ID, etc. That adds up to 20,000 keywords, add four match types and you have 80,000. Three devices–mobile, tablet and desktop–and that gives 240,000 unique click instances. Then separate between new visitors, homepage, product details page, abandoned cart and completed transaction, and now you have a staggering 1,200,000 unique click profiles that can be triggered from a Search (this doesn’t even include Shopping)! You don’t know which one you will get until the potential buyer triggers the search and the only way to know which one is coming is through the API from Google (or Bing).
Adding to this, the Advertiser needs to keep a certain profit margin from the transactions while the performance metrics constantly change! It is simply something a human cannot keep track of. Our approach has been to use our proprietary software and our expert team to execute the campaigns, and the performance has given us a word of mouth reputation of being “the performance agency.” Our ability to manage campaigns for our clients at very hard performance targets while generating substantial growth are the keys to our success.
Let’s focus a bit more on your clients. They range from small startups to well-known global brands. At which point should a company – irrespective of its size – decide that they need help from Finch? In other words, is it better start from zero with you, or to reach out to you when things get complicated (we lose leads, our online campaigns fail etc.)?
We typically do well for clients that have an existing program in place with ad spend and a site that converts. We run a free audit analysis for any prospective new clients to determine fit to make sure we are the right partner for each other. Independent of the past performance, it is always better to start with an existing account because there is a lot of data that can be used. We leverage that data and any content in their account when we rebuild it. We then structure the accounts around a data model that takes advantage of all the information that is available within Google to execute with a lot more accuracy what reduces the risk, and to create more leverage to increase sales.
In 2016, Finch has been awarded with the prestigious Google Shopping Performance Award. Can you tell us more about how hard and how long have you worked to earn this award?
As always, there is that moment when you get a recognition for all the hard work after many years of development. Our development team has worked together for almost 15 years developing software for optimizing the omnichannel, with the last seven years exclusively focused on paid search and shopping. There is a lot of experience and deep understanding of how to optimize e-commerce channels for online merchants that forms the foundation of our programmatic advertising platform.
The combination of this platform and our team of performance analysts and client success managers is how we delivered the performance we were recognized for. We won the award having very tough competition with all the other Premier Partner agencies inside EMEA. What sets us apart is the combination of programmatic technology and a dedicated team of experts that is executing for performance on behalf of our clients.
What can the case of Neuesbad and their cooperation with Finch teach other companies?
Adwords has become a complex maze of options and the biggest challenge is not to do one thing right, but to do all the things exceptionally. In the end we just did everything that needed to be done in an Adwords Account, like Sitelinks, Mobile Bidding, Remarketing for Search, etc. What any company can learn from Neuesbad is that you need to know what you are capable to do in Adwords and what your company needs. If you can’t deliver what you need, look for a partner that helps you to achieve your goals.
You are one of the speakers at E-commerce Berlin Expo 2017. On 2nd February at Station Berlin you will give a talk titled “5 Ways Programmatic Will Change the Paid Search Industry”. Why do you think this topic deserves all the time and effort you are putting into preparing this talk?
I am very thankful that the organizers have given me the opportunity to share my views on this topic with the attendees at the Expo. The reason the topic deserves the time and effort of not only me preparing for the talk, but for the attendees to prioritize this session, is that this change in our industry is inevitable and it will impact all of us whether we like it or not. The complexity around each click that we buy has exploded over the past few years, and what used to be a click with a few variables is now a highly complex click profile with many different components that are co-dependent. This environment requires very sophisticated software to organize, structure, manage and execute campaigns.
Software and automation in this industry used to be limited to bidding engines and reporting, but those days are long gone. Nowadays it’s necessary to have software to manage your campaign structures, data models, keyword expansion, campaign maintenances, core bidding models, bid modifiers, and to influence quality score...and a flurry of other areas that impact performance.
Those who adapt to this new era will reap the benefits from taking advantage of what is possible, while others will be left behind. For the industry professionals, this is a golden opportunity to jump on board early and learn how to leverage new technology to obtain an unfair advantage among competitors when driving their financial performance.
Is "Programmatic Advertising" the next big thing in the online world? Will it make many flesh-and-blood online ad specialists redundant soon?
This is a very common question and unfortunately a common misconception. The concern people are talking about is using machines and software to do their jobs. In reality, we are utilizing machines and software to do what is not being done today and to automate some of the work that is being done. The practical implications of doing things programmatically allows more time for analysis and focus on areas that are not transferrable to machines such as: attribution modeling, strategy, conversion rate optimization for the keyword– ad– landing page–completed transaction funnel, and cross-channel (omnichannel) modeling. The list goes on.
Great online marketing professionals are in high demand and will not be redundant anytime soon, in fact it’s quite the opposite. Their jobs will change to more analytical and strategic, as we automate and execute programmatically. The good ones will welcome this change with arms wide open.
E-commerce Berlin Expo has proved to be an exceptional meeting place of, both, big international e-commerce players and SMBs that only aspire to enter new markets. This year, the audience will be even bigger and more diverse than in 2016. What do you personally perceive as the biggest benefit of attending such meetings?
There is never any substitute for personal interaction and meeting people face to face. I enjoy the conversations with customers, partners, competitors and other industry insiders very much. The opportunity to have direct dialog about each other’s opinions, approaches, products and industry developments to learn from each other, challenge each other and to form collaborative bonds going forward is always what I get from this type of conference.
In your LinkedIn summary you’ve stated that you “founded 3 internet software companies and have experienced the full spectrum of starting and building great companies, never easy, but always rewarding”. If you could turn back the time, would you do it all again – or would you something different?
I would absolutely do it again. I was very fortunate to have the Internet industry start as I was early in my professional career and I am very thankful for the opportunities it has given me. If I were to do it all over again I would worry a lot less about what other people think and take bigger risks.
Based on all these experiences, what would you say to those who start their tech businesses now? What’s the most important lesson that you have learnt as an entrepreneur?
Fear of failure is often the biggest enemy of an entrepreneur, one that too often severely limits the progress and potential of a new venture. Go big, fail fast, stay focused and aim for the stars!