New year, new trends. The e-commerce scene, in particular, will not leave you waiting: companies are being restructured and innovations will cause a great stir this new year. Which five trends will push on the e-commerce market in 2019? Our Spryker experts reveal the developments this year has in store for you.
1. Employer Branding is Expected to Fulfill all Wishes - Alexander Graf
The lack of specialists in IT is going through the roof – according to the digital association Bitkom, there are currently 82,000 vacancies in IT jobs in Germany. Competition for software developers and the like is tough and the talent pool is too small to keep up with the growing need for IT resources. Especially now that digital skills in businesses are required to remain competitive in the market, businesses should be able to offer applicants added value.
War for talent
Developers are not looking for work – they are looked for by recruiters. Due to the shortage of specialists this is how the application process now works. Therefore, businesses must increase their appeal. It is particularly important to stay authentic as a corporate brand and to have a clear position.
Salary turns into a secondary matter
Hygiene factors like salary and position become increasingly less relevant, while environment and brand increase their importance. Employers with a particularly appealing brand are also the ones who have the best chances of growth. Finding digital experts for employers with mediocre brands will prove to be impossible in the future.
2. Everyone can Have a Slice of the Online Marketplace pie - Boris Lokschin
Online marketplaces will experience enormous growth this year and provide large manufacturers and retailers with new opportunities for growth. Amazon has already led the way and fashion giant Zalando also went from successful online mail order company to online marketplace. What is it that both companies have to offer? Access to a target-group-oriented customer base, an all-round customer service and international reach.
A win-win-win situation
Why is making the move to become a marketplace retailer or provider worthwhile for nearly everyone? Because everyone wins.
1. End customers are provided with a larger choice of products and services. The example of Amazon proves that buyers prefer more convenient ways of purchasing. Smart combinations of products and services or related assortments save time, money on shipping costs and enhance the shopping experience.
2. Retailers also profit: Due to additional reach, they can increase brand recognition,
unveil sales potential and save in marketing costs.
3. The biggest winner of the bunch, however, is the provider of the marketplace. This party holds all the reins. He manages the customer relationship and the customer access, which finance the investments in the technical infrastructure. All costs for setup, customer service and marketing are also covered through merchant fees.
Marketplace models beat retail
The move from store brand or platform provider to online marketplace can go in two directions: vertical and horizontal. A vertical online marketplace focuses on a single segment and offers niche products or services as, for example, Spryker customer Sourceability is doing in the retail market for electronic components. Sourceability has assumed a forerunner role this year and, as a platform owner, operates a digital marketplace that keeps pace with Amazon’s product range; thus, providing customers unbeatable deals.
An alternative marketplace model is the horizontal one, towards which players such as Amazon and Spryker customer Lieblingswelt are oriented. Products from a variety of categories are offered on one platform as a one-stop shop and achieve a level of convenience that retailers can hardly achieve on their own.
3. IoT Will Dominate the Digital Commerce Systems - Michael Vax
In 2019 we will see the first deep implementations of Internet of Things (IoT) in the B2B area. Gartner predicts that by 2020, 95% of all new electronic products will use IoT-technology. These implementations will focus primarily on the integration of information gathered by existing business processes from intelligent devices.
IoT as a helping hand
I don't think devices will start buying on their own yet. The most likely scenario will be that IoT devices report the need for additional purchases and automatically add them to a shopping list. These will be sent to a company's purchasing department and from that point, the human business process will take over.
New digital services
The process does not stop here: the purchasing list will be converted into a request for proposal and an order will be placed after consultation with the supplier. Modern digital commerce systems will evolve at this point to facilitate this process. This will create new opportunities for retailers to differentiate themselves from their competitors. For B2B customers, automated ordering options mean greater efficiency and convenience.
4. B2B Manufacturers Must Redefine Customer Access - Alexander Shashin
Customer loyalty is a thing of the past: customer reviews and price comparisons that are available online, as well as a larger range of products, define B2B purchasing by now. Those who want to remain competitive have to establish direct customer retention. Therefore, more and more manufacturers look for an immediate customer outreach and expand their digital business models.
Indirect distribution prevents excellence of products and services
Those who only distribute their products indirectly are missing out on the valuable opportunity to get to the bottom of customer needs and adapt their products and services to changing demands accordingly. Next-day delivery, for example, was no issue at all five years ago. Amazon established this demand even for business customers. Those who are part of long supply chains cannot keep up with this. Only those companies who are able to study customer needs and implement changes accordingly can sustainably ensure their existence.
Listen and respond
How to get to the bottom of customer needs? Clearly by recognizing what the problems are and by ‘listening‘ to the customer. Analyzing data-based purchasing behavior is as important as providing after-sales services. Only those who understand their customers can respond with the right measure. Too many companies shy away from this, but players like Hilti and Tom Taylor successfully showed how to quickly secure market shares in this way. Direct customer access and the possibility to reliably collect and assess data should, therefore, be high up on the priority list for B2B businesses.
5. Next Level: API-first - Loana Junge
The new year has just started and you have already built yourself an online shop, a marketplace or perhaps even an omnichannel solution before 2019. On this path, you have managed to integrate systems and touchpoints that help you manage ERP, payments and more. In a nutshell: you are no stranger to APIs. In fact, you already know that the key to running different functionalities and services is a solid API. But have you given this topic enough attention?
API-first entails that you design and build your API first and then add customer-facing, graphical interfaces, like a desktop or mobile store, and also other applications on top.
What’s the advantage of this approach?
Designing an API before determining and developing the various channels and applications that will use the API, leaves you with the flexibility to integrate solutions that may not be relevant yet, but may become important at a future stage. Think of connecting to IoT devices or launching/integrating into a marketplace - which will both become a hotter topic in 2019.
Following an API-first strategy, you can efficiently develop different applications and touchpoints simultaneously. It’s easy to test new integrations and also easy to abolish them if you find your customers’ needs have changed. Mobile apps used to be the next big thing just 5-10 years ago. In a time when users don’t actively use more than 9 smartphone apps, your app stands a much lower chance of success. Being able to test and verify these type of trends quickly will be crucial in 2019.
Starting with your target developer’s interests first and then building on top of it, simplifies development. Making your development team’s life easier, pays off on productivity and is one step towards attracting valuable IT talents.
We wish you a great start into 2019!
The Business Transformation Network has shared this article in partnership with Spryker.