The E-Commerce Berlin Expo 2018 is only 2 months away and you can now nominate your favorite companies to be recognised at the E-Commerce Berlin Awards 2018 on the stage of Berlin’s biggest e-commerce event of the year on February 15, 2018!
We’re getting closer to the final day! After two successful runs in 2016 and 2017, the E-Commerce Berlin Expo is returning to Germany’s capital on February 15, 2018 at Station, Berlin. More than 4000 visitors and 100 exhibitors are attending, with representatives of industry giants such as L’Oreal, eBay, Facebook, Google, Zalando, Scout24, DeinDesign and Notebooksbilliger.
This coming edition will include a special segment for all e-commerce industry peers. The event will host its first annual E-Commerce Berlin Awards 2018! The E-Commerce Berlin Awards will recognise companies within the e-commerce sector for their accomplishments on the German market in one of the eight categories.
Companies can apply to enter the competition in the following eight categories:
The E-Commerce Berlin Awards 2018 nominees will be evaluated by a carefully selected jury consisting of industry professionals and experts of the international e-commerce sector who will eventually determine the eight winners. The award winners will be announced on Thursday, February 15, 2018 during the E-Commerce Berlin Expo 2018.
Companies participating in the E-Commerce Berlin Awards 2018 are guaranteed great exposure to a wide range of industry peers while being recognised for their contributions to the industry. Further options include a joint participation of a company along with their client, if there has been a significant accomplishment over the course of this year resulting out of a partnership.
Entering the E-Commerce Berlin Awards 2018 is free of charge. For further questions, reach out to PR-Manager, Charlene Pham at [email protected].
Find out more about the E-Commerce Berlin Awards 2018 here. Or register below!
The E-Commerce Berlin Expo will be taking place for the third time on February 15, 2018 at Station Berlin. Doors will open at 10 AM and is expected to welcome more than 4000 visitors. 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
That’s not an easy thing to achieve, is it? Well, Jonathan Anguelov and the other co-founders of Aircall have made it easy for you. As a sneak-peak to his talk during the E-Commerce Berlin Expo 2018, we’re releasing an interview where Jonathan explains how Aircall products can make your customers happier and your business more profitable.
Paulina, E-Commerce Capitals: You are the co-founder and COO of Aircall, a cloud-based phone system and call center software. What are the origins of this idea? Was it born in the Eureka-type circumstances – or is it the result of months or years of hard work and thinking?
Jonathan Anguelov, Aircall: A little bit of both. My co-founders and I were always astonished at how complicated it was to set up a basic phone system at our previous companies. I used to work on a trading floor in a bank, and I’d see IT teams spending hours getting a single phone line ready for an employee’s first day. And the work obviously didn’t end there. The maintenance was so constant that we were hiring additional personnel just to handle it. That made no sense to me.
So after agreeing on this initial inefficiency, we started asking more questions about business phones. How come when you call a company’s support line they never know who you are? Why do you constantly have to repeat your information to several agents? How, in the digital age, has no one developed a better experience? And that’s where the idea of Aircall was born.
We wanted a system that any company could set up in minutes. A phone that could be used for support teams, sales teams, or the entire company. One asset integrated with all the critical tools each team depends on (CRM, Helpdesk, ATS, etc.).
How fast did the company grow? How many employees were there at the beginning – and how many are there now? What were the milestones of your growth?
Extremely fast (once we started). It was just the four co-founders at the beginning and throughout our first year. But we hired aggressively over the next two years, opening offices in New York and Berlin. Today Aircall is approximately 100 people and counting.
Aircall provides a phone system solution for call centers, sales teams and customer support teams. From the point of view of your products, are these three areas different from each other or maybe they’re similar? All in all, they’re all meant to support effective, conversion-driven conversations?
They are very similar in the sense that they’re designed around the customer. One is to acquire customers, one is retain customers, and the other is to do both at scale. We think the best companies have both sides of the conversation not just covered, but connected. And our product helps all of their teams to have smarter, more productive interactions.
Aircall also integrates with CRM and Helpdesk apps or products such as Zendesk, Intercom, Salesforce, Helpscout, and many others. This is possible through CTI – Computer Telephony Integration – but how does it exactly work?
It’s a real problem when your phone is isolated from your everyday apps, so we found a solution for that. We developed a deep API that allows us to easily connect to any software we think could add value to voice conversations. These bridges help us push relevant info back and forth between tools, which ultimately makes lives easier and conversations smarter.
What makes Aircall disrupt the traditional professional phone system industry?
Our vision is to take away the pain of managing traditional professional phone systems and help companies focus on what really matters: their productivity and their customers’ experience.
We are disrupting the industry by offering a solution that’s simple to set up and flexible enough to meet the demands of any employee. This is made possible by our promise of easy operation and endless integration.
You have a strong educational and professional background in Finance – with roles in banks and Asset Management. How did you land in eCommerce and the SaaS segment? What was your way to the current point in your professional life?
At some point I was just bored of being in an industry where everyone complains about the market and insists everything was better in the past. It just wasn’t an environment I could be inspired by anymore. I can’t imagine what today’s recent graduates feel like starting their careers in such a discouraging setting.
But I think I’ve always had an entrepreneurial spirit burning below the surface. Even while I was preparing for a career in Finance, I was paying for my studies by running a mobile recycling side business. So I’d say my Aircall story is more the result of connecting with the right people at the right time than me trying to find a way into SaaS or eCommerce.
You’ve appeared on a number of industry events – according to your Crunchbase profile, there’ve been as many as 50 so far! Did you speak everywhere? How many talks have you given so far?
Every time we went to an event in the early days of Aircall, we either pursued or were offered speaking slots. We probably spoke at about 30 events in the past 3 years — so maybe 60% of the time.
What does speaking at industry events give you as a person – and Aircall as a brand?
First and foremost, awareness. We’re still a growing startup that needs to raise attention. Our solution is relatively new to the market, so IT specialists and telecom industry veterans still need help understanding how things can be so simple. It’s always interesting to explain what we are actually changing, how we do it, and why switching to pure software is such an advantage.
As for me personally, I know some of the sharpest business advice I’ve heard in recent years has come from the casual conversations I’ve had with other speakers off stage. There’s also an energy and excitement at events that you obviously can’t get sitting in your office.
‘The customer support, from ticket centric to customer centric’ is the title of a talk you will give during the Ecommerce Berlin Expo 2018. Can you reveal more details about this? What will be the key message of your presentation?
The idea of this talk is to explain how the best customer support teams in the world are changing their way of working. Basically, we’re in the middle of a mind shift away from handling tickets and toward understanding the people who submit them.
If executed correctly, this more personal approach can turn customer support into a profit center through increased loyalty and retention. But it all starts with equipping employees with the information they need to effectively tailor the conversation to the customer.
Why did you decide to pick this specific topic? How long will it take for you to prepare this presentation?
I chose this topic because I believe customer experience will continue to be the best way to differentiate an eCommerce brand. It is not all about creative marketing campaigns, it’s about delighting real people with the service you provide. That’s what launches the virtuous cycle of satisfying existing customers and attracting eager new ones.
Both good and bad experiences travel fast in the digital age, and you can only build a sustainable business off the former.
What do you want your audience to learn from your talk?
First, how the dynamics of power have shifted between brands and customers. Second, how support team performance impacts your entire business. Third, how to build the foundation for better customer experiences.
All Photo credits: Startup Begins
If you are still looking for your niche in eCommerce, food is the answer. Max Wittrock and his two other mymuesli Co-Founders Hubertus Bessau and Philipp Kraiss are a walking proof that a successful eCommerce business idea might as well come from as close as your breakfast bowl. In this interview, Max Wittrock assures that food market is big enough to accommodate everyone.
Paulina, Ecommerce Capitals: Mymuesli is one of the tastiest and the healthiest eCommerce brands in Europe! But how did it all start? How did selling cereals online turn into a business?
Max Wittrock, Co-Founder, mymuesli: It all started in 2005 when we took a trip to the lake. All three of us were students in the Bavarian town of Passau at the time, and on our way to the lake we heard a radio ad for a muesli company. This got us thinking. Users have long been able to choose their browsing content online, yet not the contents of their breakfast bowl! After a couple of hours of brainstorming, we were all in agreement: We not only wanted to make better radio ads, we wanted to make better muesli. Our muesli should source ingredients regionally wherever possible, these should all be organic, free of artificial aromas, colourants and additives, and contain as little sugar as possible. But above all, our muesli should be personalised.
Due to our university commitments, however, we had to dedicate a lot of our free time to working on the project. At some point we realised that we wanted to use the idea to start our own business.
On 30 April 2007 the website mymuesli.com went online. This was just the start of an incredibly exciting journey for us.
It has been a decade since the company started selling personalised muesli mixtures. In eCommerce and the world of start-ups shooting out of the ground like mushrooms, 10 years means A LOT. What is the secret of this success? What helps your company to prosper?
I think our products and team both are excellent, we do everything we can to make our mueslis very special and stand out! Furthermore, our timing was quite good, I think. And of course we've been very lucky as well!
You have co-founded Mymuesli together with Hubertus Bessau and Philipp Kraiss. How do you divide responsibilities between each other? How many employees do you have now?
Currently our team consists of more than 800 people. The three of us are still Co-CEOs. Hubertus is responsible for Marketing and IT, Philipp's in charge of Finance, Operations and Retail while I am working with the Legal, HR, and PR teams.
What do you love – and hate – about your job of an entrepreneur?
Well, cliché answer most probably: being able to make the most out of your skills, making an idea and vision come to life, to follow your passion: Those things really drive the three of us. It does have its disadvantages, it's tough at times, but it's worth it.
You have delivered an awesome presentation about Mymuesli at the K5 conference and the people just went crazy about the story of your brand. Thinking about our non-German speaking readers, could you tell us a bit more about this? From your company’s point of view, what was in that presentation that triggered so much enthusiasm?
Wow, thanks for the nice feedback! I am glad it resonated with many people. I tried to be very honest about everything, that being an entrepreneur is about dreams, a vision, not just about KPIs and Exits. If you forget that, you're just as stuck as some corporate people who hate their job and the Startup world tends to look down on.
Mymuesli offers over 80 different ingredients for the customers to choose from and mix. How do you decide to introduce new ingredients? Are there any particularly popular ones? Do you see any trends in mixtures ordered?
Our products team lead by Stephan Schwarz, Head of Brand, is doing a great job of coming up with their own ideas while incorporating trends and customer feedback into them. I guess that and much love for the product… that's our secret sauce recipe :)
Have you ever had any specifically crazy or awkward order? Or perhaps you have come up with your own unusual recipes?
Hmmm ... Some people have proposed through Love mueslis and corresponding mymuesli greeting cards, “Hope you like muesli, will you marry me?”. I love that!
Mymuesli sells both online and offline – you have a number of stores in the DACH region. Did you start online – and went offline to back up your sales? The big number of stores serves as the best proof of the speed of your development!
Mymuesli is also available in the Netherlands and Sweden – both online and offline. How is the company doing on the non-German speaking markets? Are there any different food preferences or local peculiarities that you had to adjust to?
Yes, we started online in 2007, added the first store in 2009; at first it was more of an experiment than a strategic decision, but as we saw the potential of mymuesli stores we chose to open new ones.
Internationalization is always tricky for Startups, but we're quite happy in the Netherlands, we've been around for some time now. In Sweden, especially online the concept is catching on as planned, but there's still lots of work to do!
Do you plan any further expansion into other European markets?
At some point that would make sense, yes. But right now we're focusing on existing markets and Xmas which is just around the corner!
Mymuesli is just one of the awesome examples of the online world becoming the promised land for all food lovers. We can easily order and explore food that we just didn’t have in our nearby shops or supermarkets. Isn’t it so that eCommerce has rediscovered selling food?
Yes, I would agree. The market is huge, and it's so much more fun than selling algorithms for example. Thus, I can heavily recommend the food industry if you're unhappy with your current job. There's still great potential for new businesses.
Do you have any competiton? Nowadays, especially in the domain of food, companies imitate each other. Do you face the same problems? What do you do to stay as unique and crunchy as on day one of your business?
We really don't look to left or right too much. Not because we're arrogant or anything. But we have our own vision and strategies that are mainly impacted by intrinsic goals. And: The market is really big, there's room for everyone, I hope.
The Call For Papers Contest 2018 has officially ended and we’re excited to announce the final speakers who will be presenting at the E-Commerce Berlin Expo 2018 on February 15, 2018 at Station, Berlin.
We’d like to thank all 256 participants for taking the time and effort to submit some amazing presentation proposals. In a period of 18 days we were able to receive an incredible storm of support for our contestants. More than 6000 votes were collected and after a close race the past days, we’re now happy to congratulate the final winners of the Call For Papers Contest 2018!
The Call for Papers contest winners 2018:
More details about the final results you’ll find here: ecommerceberlin.com/voting
Our CFP-Speakers are officially part of the E-Commerce Berlin Expo 2018 agenda and will be sharing the stage with other speakers such as, Victoria Chirita (Founder at DeinDesign), Rob Cassedy (General Manager at eBay Kleinanzeigen), Deniz Macura (Strategic Partner Lead Ecommerce at Google) and Luka Brekalo (Head of eCommerce at L´Oréal) on February 15, 2018. To provide our visitors with the most insightful experience possible, the day will also be accompanied by more than 100 exhibitors from household e-commerce names like idealo, Oracle Marketing Cloud, real.de, OXID eSales and DHL Paket.
We’d like to once more thank everyone who participated in this year’s Call For Papers Contest and congratulate all of our winners! See you all at our event in February!
Have you not registered for a ticket yet? What are you waiting for?! Sign up here. Interested in exhibiting at our event? Book a stand here.
Sellers Miss Cross-Border Growth and Business Potential
Freiburg, October 19 2017 – German online retailers are less active in cross-border trade than their international counterparts. According to a recent survey as well as current market data and studies, under 60 percent do business outside of the German-speaking countries. Two thirds (68 percent) make less than ten percent of their online sales in international business, and only 18 percent have customers from abroad. These statistics are included in a new white paper on the “Internationalization of the German Digital Economy” by OXID eSales and TextMaster. It can be downloaded via http://bit.ly/oxid-textmaster. The authors show cross-border business potential and give recommendations for building an international shop presence.
international business: the state of german shops
Germany finishes sixth in the ranking of the most popular international trading places. Only 14 percent of international customers buy from German online shops – significantly less than, for example, from US sellers (45 percent). What is more, international customers are considerably more willing to do cross-border business than Germans. Just one in four (27 percent) German online shoppers buys abroad while some of their European neighbors reach 87 percent (Portugal), 49 percent (Czech Republic), and 67 percent (Ireland). The main reason for a cross-border purchase as given by 66 percent of respondents is the availability of an item.
Graphic: Four out of ten German online shops restrict their activities to their home country
As many as 33 percent of online retailers have internationalized their shops. Ten percent even have branches abroad.
The most popular items for purchasing online across borders are clothing, shoes, and fashion accessories (33 percent); consumer electronics (21 percent); as well as books, music, and media (14 percent).
Graphic: Only one third earns more than ten percent in international business
Percentage of international business
One of the largest obstacles to building an online shop for international customers is language. It is no surprise that German online sellers focus their cross-border activities on countries without a (or only a partial) language barrier. 89 percent of all internationally active German online shops do business in Austria, 77 percent in Switzerland. However, other neighboring countries are attractive as well: The Netherlands (73 percent) and France (72 percent) are the third and fourth most important markets. Outside of the EU, the USA (33 percent) and Russia (21 percent) are the top venues, while China`s share is relatively low at 14 percent.
“The results are clear,” says Victoria Weidemann, Marketing Manager DACH for Textmaster. “German online retailers, agencies, and trade show organizers want to reach customers abroad, they are active in these countries, and they expand. However, many of them do not realize that customers want to be addressed and be able to make purchases in their own languages, not just in English. With 23 different languages in Europe alone, there is a massive untouched potential.”
Strategies for International Success
OXID has three tips for online retailers to build their international businesses:
The Textmaster white paper with the results from all studies is available at: http://go.textmaster.com/lp-de-internationalisierung-deutsche-digitalwirtschaft
Data from the current OXID eSales survey can be found on pages 9 through 15.
More recommendations for internationalization are collected in the white paper “Global Success – 12 Success Factors for Efficient Internationalization.” It is only available in German.