Shopping

Online shopping: “Coming soon” is insufficient as a delivery time for goods

An online shop is not allowed to sell goods with the indication “available soon” as a delivery period. What is still allowed now – and how retailers can solve the problem with an uncertain release date. According to a current court ruling, the delivery specification “available soon” is insufficient. The Munich Higher Regional Court has decided that information about a delivery date should not be too vague. The North Rhine-Westphalia consumer advice center had sued the electronics chain Mediamarkt.   The lawsuit concerned a Galaxy S6, which customers were notified of in August 2016 – well after the start of sales – that it would be “available soon. Get a copy now. ”. However, the statutory information obligation of a seller in e-commerce states that he must specifically specify by when the goods will be with the customer. It is not mandatory to specify a specific day, but reference to the period in which the customer can expect the goods. The legal basis for this is the current version of the consumer rights guidelines from 2014. Various courts have assessed this in the same way in the past. This is how dealers solve the dilemma with delivery times However, this requirement cannot be implemented by retailers in all cases: the newly introduced smartphone, for which even the manufacturer does not yet specifically specify when sales will start in Germany, cannot be sold this way. If the retailer gives a date too far in the future, he runs the risk that the customer will buy elsewhere. If the date is too close in the future, the dealer will not be able to keep it and not only risk dissatisfied customers, but in the worst case also claims for damages. Amazon solves this well with the clear description of a pre-order and an indication of when the product is expected to be available. The company makes it clear that the customer will not be charged until later and that the price will also be adjusted in favor of the customer in case of doubt: “Order now, we will notify you as soon as the item is available.” Such a procedure is sensible when it comes to supposedly scarce goods, for which some customers want to hold the goods in their hands as early as possible and therefore order. Companies should also work with the phrase “reserve now” in order not to lose potential customers. Because this is how retailers generate at least one lead that shows that the customer is very interested in a certain item and wants to buy it as soon as possible. Basically, a customer usually has his 14-day or longer right of withdrawal anyway. Therefore, a generous attitude in this case also benefits the retailer. But in the legal dispute mentioned above, the problem went beyond that: the date of the start of sales was well in the past. Mediamarkt itself apparently does not want to take action against the judgment. A Mediamarkt spokeswoman told dpa that the vague delivery instructions have not been used since January 2017, so that the subject of the lawsuit was settled .

Shopping

The market for customer feedback is only just emerging

The start-up Zenloop sells software that companies can use to analyze customer satisfaction. Zenloop co-founder Paul Schwarzenholz on response rates and whether he would recommend WirtschaftsWoche. Paul Schwarzenholz (38) founded Zenloop in 2016 together with two colleagues in Berlin. The start-up now employs 50 people and takes care of querying and evaluating customer feedback. Zenloop customers include Deichmann , Douglas, Peek & Cloppenburg , Thalia and Energie Baden-Württemberg. Schwarzenholz had previously sold his first company, the online perfumery Flaconi , founded in 2010 , to ProSiebenSat.1 . In the middle of June, Zenloop closed a new financing round in the amount of 6.1 million euros. The main shareholders Nauta Capital from Spain and the British investor Piton Capital increased their investments; Signals VC, the investment company of Signal-Iduna-Versicherung, has also been added. The three founders still hold more than 50 percent of the company’s shares. Zenloop sales are in the single-digit million range. WirtschaftsWoche: Mr. Schwarzenholz, your first start-up was an online perfumery. How did you come up with the idea of ​​collecting and analyzing customer opinions for companies? Paul Schwarzenholz: What we built with Zenloop is exactly the software that we would have liked to have at Flaconi back then. Back then, the shopping experience was the most important issue for us: What can we improve for our customers? We asked ourselves this question after every single transaction. And a little later we also asked our customers this question. At first, it was very upbeat: We received several thousand comments every day, and we really evaluated them individually using a long Excel list. At some point it was no longer scalable. But there was no software for that. So we first developed an internal solution. When it became clear that we were going to part with Flaconi, it was clear relatively quickly what we would do next. At the center of customer satisfaction measurement is the so-called NPS, the “Net Promoter Score”. The value measures the willingness of customers to recommend a product or a brand – and was invented 17 years ago. Aren’t you just reselling an old idea? The method is a bit older, that’s true. We didn’t invent the NPS either, but the management consultancy Bain. Because I used to work at Bain, I know the methodology very well. And there was no software for it back then, at least not in good. How is your business developing? We are in an extremely fast growing market. How big the growth rates actually are is unclear because there are no valid market figures. You can only look at the individual providers, and they are growing very well. An estimated 90 percent of companies in Germany hardly ever use customer feedback, and very few have a system in place. According to the US magazine “Fortune”, two thirds of the 1,000 largest US companies now use the NPS. Is customer feedback a hype? No, because then it would have collapsed in the corona crisis. But we gained new customers during the crisis, and also a new investor. Hype sounds like little substance. But business is still in demand during the crisis. We have three-digit growth rates per year. We are extremely satisfied. What do you offer your customers? What do the companies want to know? We offer a complete feedback management platform. Our customers can click into our surveys at any point in the so-called customer journey to collect feedback. In the second step, they can then evaluate their customers’ comments, automatically with the help of artificial intelligence. In the next step, the customer can decide what to do with each individual feedback. The point is that I use each comment one or more times, what I can deduce from it to improve my product or my service. And it’s also about how I can bring back unhappy customers who drop out. Do you have a specific example? The most common question that our customers ask is roughly: How likely is it that you will recommend us on a scale from 0 to 10? This is queried at various points, either directly after the purchase or after the order has been received. How meaningful and representative is customer feedback anyway? Doesn’t the German consumer tend to express their opinion especially when they are dissatisfied with the product or service? Yes, he does that when he is not asked proactively. If you are not asked directly but are dissatisfied, write a nasty comment when in doubt. But our customers have a response rate of around 25 percent of their users, which is more than representative. That is extremely meaningful. Classic market research, in which the customer base is surveyed once a year, has a response rate of perhaps one to two percent. We have already evaluated x-million feedback, so we are sure that there is no distortion. Also because all customers are interviewed: the satisfied and the dissatisfied. And what do the companies do with the feedback? What almost all of our customers do regularly, mostly weekly, is a so-called continuous improvement meeting. Specifically, the question is: What can we do better about the product or the service based on our customer feedback? And around two thirds of our users also ask those customers who say they will never order again for feedback. This means that the moment they threaten to churn, these customers are either called or written to again, asking them to better understand their feedback. This almost always leads to greater customer satisfaction. They then receive a tailor-made apology if something has gone wrong. With all due respect for your software, but: It all sounds pretty simple. It’s not rocket science either. The secret is the speed. Such an apology and request for an explanation must be made very quickly – then customers will forgive. And when a company has tens of thousands of customer interactions, it needs very good automation and a good technical infrastructure to make it scalable. The challenge is the amount of feedback. One of your competitors, the US company Qualtrics, is attracting attention : SAP bought the company for eight billion dollars at the end of 2018 , which triggered criticism. Now SAP boss Klein wants to put parts of Qualtrics on the stock exchange . Where do you see Zenloop compared to the Americans? Qualtrics comes from the market research corner, and they’re good at that too. As I judge, your system is less geared towards responding to each individual feedback as individually as possible and integrating this into the respective system. I see us better there. But the purchase price that SAP paid is probably justified. Experience management is one of the fastest growing and the market is just emerging. I would compare it to Facebook’s takeovers of Whatsapp and Instagram: Facebook paid billions of dollars and there was a lot of criticism at the beginning because the companies hardly generated any sales. In retrospect, however, those were two very smart decisions.

Shopping

They said yes: This is how emotional customer loyalty works in e-commerce today

In order to bind users to a company in the long term, emotional customer loyalty is essential. But how do shop owners get their customers to stay loyal to them? Spoiler: By understanding your needs and specifically addressing them! Emotions as the key to success Today, good prices alone are often no longer enough. This is because, although these provide incentives to buy, they do not create an emotional bond between customers and a shop. It is precisely the emotional experiences, such as the interaction with a brand, a company or its employees, that influence the purchasing decisions of users. In order to stand out from the crowd of providers and the wide range of products, you have to reach your users on an emotional level. You can do this by knowing your customers’ needs, understanding them and addressing them specifically. User needs in the digital age Stationary retail has already shown what needs users have in the various phases of their customer journey: They value orientation, advice and inspiration. If these things are fulfilled, it leads to a positive shopping experience and consequently to a new visit to the shop. In the digital age, another need has come to the fore. A study by the French media group Vivendi, the network agency Havas and Cannes Lions shows that digital entertainment has become a basic need. In the international study, 83 percent of those surveyed said that entertainment was a key need for them – also with regard to advertising and brands. 74 percent of respondents said they wanted a fun experience with brands. This makes it clear: entertainment is a key success factor. This also explains why platforms like Netflix, Instagram and Co work so well. But what can online shop operators learn from this? Emotional customer loyalty in the after-sales phase There are many ways in which customers can be retained by a company. Classic after-sales measures include discounts for loyal customers, customer magazines or exclusive events. Sending personalized e-mails , for example after a transaction or as a birthday greeting, is also popular. All of these approaches are so-called push measures , in which the company specifically approaches the user and wants to offer them added value with interesting content and personalized product recommendations. However, it would be even better if customers regularly visit the online shop themselves. A pull measure with which this natural customer loyalty effect is achieved is a personalized shopping area  . Personalized shopping area: pull measure for emotional customer loyalty This focuses on the individual needs and interests of the user and thus ensures emotional customer loyalty and an increased repurchase rate . The personalized shopping area is the central place in the online shop for the favorite brands, categories and articles of every customer. Online shoppers receive relevant content suggestions and are shown suitable blog articles or shopping news. The personalized shopping area is as interactive as it is individual: On the one hand, users have the option, for example, of putting together suitable product sets for themselves, on the other hand, they are automatically presented with personalized content. The order, content and layout in the personal stream are adapted to the individual preferences of the customer. Each stream is as unique as the customer himself and provides new inspiration. This mixture of relevance, service, inspiration and interaction ensures entertainment and thus leads to regular visits to the online shop. Outletcity Metzingen sets new standards for emotional customer loyalty The example of Outletcity Metzingen shows how well this strategy works. Outletcity Metzingen is already using a personalization strategy and is a pioneer in using the personalized shopping area epoq My Stream . With the support of epoq, technology provider in the field of online shop personalization , the complex display of relevant content was implemented in the Outletcity Metzingen online shop with a selection of thousands of products from over 270 brands. By fulfilling the digital need for entertainment, a new form of online shopping is introduced that creates emotional customer loyalty. If you want to learn more about the personal stream as a measure for emotional customer loyalty in the online shop, watch the webinar recording on this topic now.

Shopping

Google Pay is to be expanded into a shopping platform

In the future, consumers could order goods from the Google Pay app . Apparently, the company is planning a corresponding portal within the app that could tie dealers closer to Google. According to media reports, Google plans to expand its Google Pay payment service to include an e-commerce portal. As The Information  reports, dealers will have the opportunity to implement a branded button in the app this year. The aim is for the customer to be able to order goods and services from the merchant from the Google Pay app without having to leave the app. Apparently, Google wants to sell the plan to various companies, including gas stations, grocery chains, and large national restaurants. Even if it is not yet clear when the plans will also be implemented in Germany, such an “augmented” Apple Pay could also be a good fit for the local market. Because the corona crisis has made many customers more aware of contactless payments, even in Germany, which has a strong affinity for cash. This would be a suitable approach, especially if this also works efficiently for small amounts. Google Pay: a win-win situation for retailers and banks The banks could also benefit in this context – because services like Google Pay or Apple Pay always work in the context of an account – and Google itself declares that you do not earn anything from the pure payment transactions via Google Pay. While in the USA the link to credit card payments and cashless procedures has always been close, Germany’s banking industry has been experimenting for years with numerous girocard-based procedures such as Paydirekt, Kwitt and Co .. at least among younger and more tech-savvy Target groups, however, have shown that Paypal and Klarna , but also Google Pay and Apple Pay as well as the planned but still not available Whatsapp Pay are quite desirable and used. Incidentally, Germany also has an advantage here: Because it is not so common in this country to pull out the card when paying, it could work to persuade the customer, who usually has his smartphone with him anyway, to hold it in front of the scanner to trigger a payment. Experience has shown that the emerging countries, which – unlike Germany and Western European countries – do not have such an extensive network of ATMs and bank branches do it even easier.

Shopping

Mobile shopping: determine the future of retail with ALDI North

In order to create exciting shopping experiences for tomorrow’s customers, ALDI Nord is looking for IT project managers who have integrated digital thinking and action into their DNA. Imagine this: a young couple wants to go shopping. Let’s call the two Tina and Andreas. When they arrive at the supermarket, Tina and Andreas stand in front of the shopping cart. They have to wait two seconds. The built-in chips do not need any longer to connect to Tina’s smartphone. Then it starts already. Tina and Andreas no longer have to push the shopping trolley of the future, they are accompanied by him. The battery is conveniently charged directly through the shopping cart’s smartphone holder. The digital shopping experience can begin … Smart shopping – this is how it works Tina and Andreas used their mobile phones to find out about personalized offers. When they arrive at the ALDI branch, the shopping cart uses the information on the smartphone to quickly guide them to the products they are interested in. The app knows the history of the last purchases in the store and in the online shop and therefore knows exactly what the two of them like. Based on this, the two also receive suggestions for new products. The app also knows, for example, that the toothpaste at home will soon be empty – otherwise you would have forgotten it. Tina and Andreas eat very consciously and still have questions about origin and more detailed product information. Hold the article in front of the camera on the smartphone and the desired data is already on the display. “The right recipes are also displayed here,” says Tina happily. As she scrolls through the pictures of the meals, she remembers that she recently discovered a delicious wine for herself. You go to the wine rack but can’t find the bottle directly. Quickly clicked on the contact field and asked about the wine from two weeks ago by voice. The chatbot recognizes your concern and writes back directly: “You can find the wine on the shelf at the top.” The product image is displayed and the bottle is found. Once at the checkout, the app has already calculated the value of the goods in the shopping cart. The two confirm the purchase with their fingerprint. When you get home later, you will get tips about the products you have bought. Don’t dream, act! Did the little thought trip give you new ideas? Would you like to help shape the digital shopping experience of the future? At ALDI-IT, we are looking for innovative e-commerce and omni-channel project managers who would like to create the shopping experience of tomorrow for our customers. Exciting international challenges await you at ALDI North. More information about working in IT at ALDI Nord is available at aldi-nord.de/karriere/it-berufe.html

Shopping

Online shopping for the summer: Corona crisis drives prices by up to 23 percent

According to an analysis, the corona crisis has caused the prices of summer products to rise sharply. Online shopping fans have to pay up to 23 percent more for garden furniture or tents. In the past few years, the prices for typical summer products such as garden furniture, suitcases or tents in online retail have fallen in time for the season. This is currently significantly different, as an analysis of the comparison platform Idealo shows – price comparators blame the corona crisis for this. According to this, products were up to 23 percent more expensive in May than on average in the May months of 2017 to 2019. However, there were also some items that are currently cheaper than in previous years. Online shopping: seasonal products are much more expensive Specifically, there are higher prices to be booked for garden furniture. For example, garden loungers were 23 percent more expensive in May than in the same months of previous years. For garden chairs and garden tables it was 14 percent and twelve percent respectively. Parasols were eight percent more expensive, suitcases, fans and tents each nine percent. For garden hoses and bicycle racks, online shoppers also had to dig deeper into their pockets – here it went up by 21 percent and 13 percent respectively. Boats and barbecues were only slightly more expensive than in previous years, each two percent more expensive than in previous years in May. Swimwear and sunglasses were even three and five percent cheaper. Anyone who wants to buy a lawnmower can save real money right now. In May the full twelve percent were cheaper than in the same months of the previous year. Prices: No forecast for June and July possible According to Idealo, May, June and July are usually the cheapest months for many seasonal products. Compared to autumn or winter, ten percent or more can often be saved in summer. For the current month of June and July, Idealo did not want to give a forecast. The price development in the coming weeks remains to be seen in view of “the extraordinary situation”. It is also unclear whether the reduction in value added tax decided by the federal government could have a positive effect on consumer prices.

Shopping

Instagram opens up shopping to more businesses and creators

New criteria apply to Instagram shopping that include more retailers. That opens up new possibilities for influencers. In the future, more companies than before will be able to register as retailers on Instagram and sell their products. The new criteria also apply to influencers who offer merchandising products on Instagram, Instagram announced . Only sell from your own shop From July 9th, new requirements for dealers apply. Before they can sell products through Instagram Shopping, companies must register and wait for approval. Dealers who are already registered will receive a notification on how they can meet the new criteria. One of the criteria is that only products from your own e-commerce website can be tagged. A link to Amazon or to various advertising partners is therefore not permitted. “This should make the shopping experience more uniform and trustworthy,” explains Instagram. Instagram checks trustworthiness Merchants must also have a “trusted” account. Instagram measures trustworthiness, among other things, by the number of followers and an established and authentic appearance. For most of the eligible companies, Instagram Shopping includes the option of listing products on Instagram and linking them to the online shop. A beta test for Instagram Checkout is also in progress in the US. This allows products to be bought and paid for directly via the app.

Shopping

John Smith: A Google bot on a “shopping” tour

John Smith leaves shopping baskets full in online shops, but never buys anything. No wonder: Because there is no person behind it, but a Google bot that checks the prices of the dealers. A mysterious buyer named John Smith kept filling his shopping cart at various online shops – but in the end he never bought anything. But neither could he, because as the Wall Street Journal reports, John Smith is not a person at all, but a Google bot. The bot should check whether the prices given in the shop match those in the last ordering step. “This generally leads to retailers seeing abandoned shopping carts because our system tests whether the displayed value matches the one at the checkout or not,” a Google spokesperson told the Wall Street Journal .   This affects online retailers who store their products in Google’s Merchant Center. Dealers who do this allow Google to independently check the prices stored there. After all, the search company has told the Wall Street Journal that they are trying to make the process a little more transparent in the future. Probably also to avoid confusion about John Smith. Especially since the abandoned shopping carts can also mess up the retailer’s statistics and related marketing measures. John Smith has been on a “shopping” spree for quite some time John Smith has been on a “shopping” spree for at least a year. This is indicated by contributions in various English-language dealer forums. Over the past twelve months, online retailers there have repeatedly turned to their colleagues or the operators of the e-commerce platforms they use to find out who John Smith from Mountain View is and why he’s leaving a trail of abandoned shopping carts.

Shopping

Scout: Amazon presents a new AI shopping aid

With the artificial intelligence of the new Scout tool, Amazon customers will be able to browse more comfortably in the future and find the product they want more easily through instant recommendations. Amazon’s greatest advantage is also its greatest disadvantage – at least so far: there are countless products in great variety on the e-commerce platform. Finding the goods you want is not always easy. If the customer knows exactly what the product name is, who makes it and in which version they want it, the purchase is done quickly. Starting with a vague idea becomes more difficult and takes longer. Internet users therefore often find out about visual recommendations from other platforms, in particular Instagram or Pinterest . With the Scout shopping aidAmazon.com integrates these recommendations, but initially only for a limited range of products. For the test phase, Amazon relies on women’s shoes and furnishings such as furniture and lamps with its virtual personal shopper. The German side of Amazon Scout initially only offers furniture, but promises that other categories will follow.   Shopping with images and the intelligence of the machine Amazon wants to get the problem of those buyers under control to whom one of the two statements applies: “I don’t know what I want, but I know when I see it” or “I know what I want, but I don’t know exactly what it is called”.   In both cases, it is helpful to approach the target visually. Scout works almost intuitively and is based on the likes known from social media. If the customer is looking for a new sofa for the living room through Scout, they may not yet have a specific idea. Scout shows him in the Sofas and Couches categorythe first pictures, and the leather sofas get a dislike, just like all three-seaters. Delicate sofas with a cozy fabric cover, on the other hand, are rewarded with thumbs up. Scout analyzes this feedback at lightning speed and consequently shows the right sofas. In this way, the customer can work out what he wants to buy comfortably and step by step. It remains to be seen whether and how the algorithms also take into account the further preferences of buyers with regard to the price or the sustainability of production.

Shopping

With these tricks you can save immediately when shopping on the web

Pay attention to bargainers! Here are 10 clever tips on how you can save tons of money when shopping online. D ie benefits from online shopping are obvious. Convenient, easy and quick. And things are usually cheaper online too. But did you know that it can be even cheaper? And in this way: Saving tip 1: Subscribe to the newsletter Many online shops offer a price reduction as soon as you subscribe to the newsletter. This way you save up to 20 percent on your first order after registering. And even after that, discount codes flutter into the mailbox of newsletter subscribers from time to time. If you fear a flood of spam messages, you can simply set up a new e-mail address especially for such stories. In the mailbox you can then check before each new order whether you have received a new voucher code. So you take all discounts with you, but you are spared from annoying advertising in everyday life. Savings tip 2: google coupons Found your desired product and no discount coupon in your mailbox? Then simply enter the name of your favorite shop with the addition “Coupon” on Google and all discount offers will be displayed. Internet sites such as ” coupon Pony “, ” Gutscheinsammler ” and ” saving the world ” provide an overview of where online stores are currently running which discount offers. Here, too, it is worth making a comparison: There are usually several codes per shop. With some you only save shipping, others only work with accounts that have also subscribed to the newsletter, but often there is also a really big percentage on the purchase. Even with products that have already been discounted, the price can be reduced in this way. Saving tip 3: Deactivate cookies and shop in incognito mode E-commerce algorithms adjust prices based on many factors. One of them is how many times you’ve looked at a product. It is often the case that traders drive prices up when they notice that there is a serious interest in buying. Saving tip: delete your cookies and switch your browser to incognito mode. Saving tip 4: take your time Okay, okay, that is in contrast to the previous tip. But sometimes the exact opposite also helps: Don’t buy immediately! Instead, leave the goods in the shopping cart for a while. Then an email with the subject: “Exclusive discount for your purchase” may soon flutter into your mailbox. Because the webshop notices that you are interested, but still hesitant and may try to lure you into buying. For this to work, you have to be logged in with your shop account. How which shop will act cannot be predicted – as the algorithms are constantly being adapted. To avoid bad purchases, however, it is smart to sleep on it for a night and think carefully about whether you really need the new part. Saving tip 5: Follow your favorite shops Aren’t you doing yet The time has come! Because many shops first inform their followers about new discount campaigns. So click quickly through the Insta stories and the latest posts. Maybe there’s a good deal right now. Saving tip 6: give feedback After ordering, you will often receive an email with the subject “Rate your purchase.” Do you always ignore Sure, nobody wants to do that – unless you urgently want to criticize something. But sharing positive feedback is worth it! Because it is not uncommon for you to be rewarded with a discount for your next purchase following the satisfaction survey. Savings tip 7: collect birthday presents The fact is: you should be careful with private data on the Internet. But if you subscribe to the newsletter anyway, then enter your date of birth directly (often you will only be asked for the day)! Because many shops surprise their subscribers with exclusive promotions for their birthday: This can be a fat coupon, a small voucher for 5 to 10 euros or a discount on a part that has been in your shopping cart for a long time and has not yet been ordered. Saving tip 8: Do not shop with your mobile phone Those who order new clothes on the phone in the subway often pay more than those who shop at home on their desktop. Because more expensive prices are often given on the mobile phone or the high prices are shown higher up. The shops take advantage of the fact that it is difficult to compare several offers at a glance on the small display. This way, good prices will slip through your fingers.  Savings tip 9: watch prices Do you think that it is necessary to have to click through all the shops to find the part you want at a reasonable price and in good quality? You can save yourself the effort! Special price comparison portals such as “check24.de”, “idealo.de” or “guenstiger.de” do this for you. Simply enter the exact product name of your desired product in the search bar and the Internet services will automatically compare the prices of all providers. If the best price is still too high, you can set up an email or SMS notification on some price comparison sites that sounds the alarm as soon as the Price for a product falls below your limit. Savings tip 10: Shop at the right time What day of the week and what time you click through the shops also plays a role in pricing. There are studies suggesting that the best time to shop is between 8 a.m. and 12 p.m. Shopping at the weekend is not only a pain in the overcrowded pedestrian zone, but also not recommended for online shopping. Saturday and Sunday the prices are highest. With our tricks and a little luck, you can save a lot of money when shopping online, because the yield makes even happier, right?