Shopping

Google Shopping is restructuring: Changeover brings advantages and disadvantages for retailers and the market

Google Shopping is splitting off from the group and will in future also be offering advertising spaces. Is that a positive or a negative development? An analysis by t3n editor Jochen G. Fuchs. Google is said to have abused its dominant position as a search engine in order to cross-finance its own price search engine, Google Shopping. Therefore, in addition to a billion dollar fine, the US company was also given access to the competition . Now the Google Shopping service is being outsourced and restructured into an independent company. In the future, the price search engine from Google will then compete on an equal footing with other price search engines for positions in the product advertising field of the search engine. A step forward or a step backward for retailers and competing price search engines? Google Shopping is restructuring due to a billion dollar fine from the EU After a long series of proposals to the EU Competition Commission, Google has initially averted further measures by the Commission with the last proposal. While Google initially suggested that the advertising field placed directly under the search mask should only be opened for third-party suppliers in the auction process – the new proposal apparently met the taste of the Commission. Google Shopping will be spun off as a separate company, and will offer around the same ad spaces as everyone else. Under the condition that the company finances itself from its own advertising income and is only allowed to bid for advertisements if the product placement is still profitable. This is to prevent the effect that is to be achieved by the outsourcing of the company from being thwarted by unprofitable and excessive bids in Google auctions. Otherwise the group could push up the bids of the competitors or simply restore the old status quo by constantly outbidding the competitors in the price war for ad space. How the new advertising field for product search engines should work In principle, the previous advertising field specifically for products remains, which is displayed either directly below the search mask or on the right-hand side next to the organic search results. In the future, the ten ad spaces there will no longer be exclusively occupied by Google, but can theoretically be booked by any company. Provided that the company is the highest bidder. The potential disadvantages of the new advertising field In principle, many price search engines would have wished that the organic search results, which also contain their own offers, were in some way equivalent to the Google Shopping ads. The EU Commission does not go that far, but Competition Commissioner Margrethe Verstagen told Bloomberg that the Commission will keep an eye on the development of the new Google advertising fields and the development of Google Shopping. “The compromise will be tested on the market, should complainants continue to be unhappy, and the new regulation does not work, then we will start an investigation,” said Verhagen to the US news channel. Some retailers and industry media, such as the Google Watchblog or the online retailer news from the Händlerbund, fear that this development will develop to the disadvantage of the market and to the disadvantage of the retailers. The Google Watchblog writes that Google is now in competition with online shops, financially strong companies could simply buy all ads and, above all, the user would lose an overview and variety. Even if the critics consider the possibility that all ads will simply be bought up as unlikely, the development is rated rather negatively. In the end, so fear the critical voices, the new advertising field only flushes more money into Google’s coffers. Advantage or disadvantage for dealers and the market? It is understandable that price search engines would like to see organic search results on an equal footing and would be detrimental to the market because of the poor feasibility. How so? Google would never do without prominently placing its product ads. If the EU Commission had asked for the organic search results to be put on an equal footing, a soft regulation would have been implemented that would have required constant individual checks. For example, it is difficult to answer the question of whether this or that product ranks worse because Google inconspicuously pushes a bestseller from its own offers. The Google search algorithm is a black box. As has already been done, the US company could use ranking factors as an argument. The search giant’s obfuscation tactics would be varied and difficult to document. The auction process, on the other hand, can be documented by means of a simple, imputed check. The commissions from Google Shopping are known, so it is possible to quickly calculate whether a Google auction bid was profitable or not using standard market comparison data. Price search engines that are permanently losing to Google could document this. Traders have so far had no choice. If you want to generate sales at Google, you have to use Google Shopping and Adwords campaigns in addition to organic traffic. So far, your own offers have always had to assert themselves against the competitor Google and its advertising field – or just be placed on Google Shopping. The retailer now has less competition from Google because his own offers or those of the price search engine of his choice appear for the first time alongside the Google shopping offers. Yes, so far the Google Shopping advertising field has always diverted attention from the organic search results, but that would not have changed because Google would definitely place ads there. Then just Adwords ads and no Google Shopping ads. The market and the Google Shopping competitors benefit from the fact that the prominent product placements under the search mask are now at least available to everyone. It’s surely nicer to wish back to the golden days when organic, free traffic made up the lion’s share of sales. The fact that it is no longer the case today is not just down to Google. It’s because of changed user behavior, Amazon as the number one product search engine and the fact that the point of sale is now shifting to all sorts of channels: especially social media channels, but also messengers and, in the future, voice assistants.

Shopping

Stress test super sale: How to get your online shop ready for the influx of customers

Whether Black Friday or Glamor Shopping Week – high discounts attract customers. But is your online shop even able to cope with the onslaught? With this guide, your online shop can withstand the stress test easy. Price and discount battles are not an invention of e-commerce. Black Friday was an important sales opportunity for retailers in the US even before online retailing made its breakthrough. In Germany, too, there was a fixed time for special offers with the winter and summer sales twice a year. The annual sales records reported by Amazon and Alibaba for their bargain days stimulate the imagination of many retailers. The fact that Alibaba reported 554,000 orders per second on Singles’ Day in China last year makes people sit up and take notice. As with the Super Bowl, global networking has contributed to the fact that interest in major shopping events such as Singles’ Day or Black Friday has increased enormously and is also noticeable in this country. Most retailers, however, would be satisfied with a fraction of the orders that Alibaba can handle in a second. More than just using the red pencil In order to achieve maximum sales on the bargain days, retailers and brand manufacturers have to do more than just lower the prices in the online shop. As the example from Alibaba impressively shows, additional customer flows can be managed quickly and to their satisfaction within a very short time. The warehouse does not only have to contain the corresponding quantity of goods. The orders must also be delivered to the customer and invoiced. This places special demands on your own processes and technology. A new e-book from ChannelAdvisor shows how retailers prepare for shopping events. The e-book reveals when it is best to start planning discount battles and what needs to be taken into account. The reader learns what he should pay attention to while preparing his technology and why he also has to deal with his internal processes in order to avoid customer frustration. Because whoever disappoints consumers during this critical time can hardly expect them to come back next time. The book gives tips on which special offers and discounts are promising. More and more retailers want to do good business during the shopping events. The competition for customers and their attention increases accordingly. The e-book also provides material on this topic and offers specific information on planning advertising campaigns and on promotions around the bargain days. Incidentally, a calendar with relevant dates in e-commerce can also help not to miss deadlines for these shopping days . Why traders should have a plan B. The free e-book offers a condensed guide to help you prepare for the year’s shopping events today. Because only those dealers are successful who manage to attract the attention of customers, win them over with attractive prices and convince them with perfect processes. A look at the book shows that there is not that much time left to start solidly with the preparatory work. The authors also reveal why it is necessary to come up with a plan B in order to be prepared for all eventualities. The e-book is aimed at all operators of an online shop, regardless of its size, and is also of interest to all retailers and brand manufacturers who sell via marketplaces.

Shopping

Amazon: Summer sale for fashion in June instead of Prime Day

The annual Prime Day was probably postponed to September. Now Amazon is to plan a summer sale for fashion items in June. The shopping event could last up to ten days. Because of the corona crisis, Amazon will probably postpone its Prime Day discount battle, which usually takes place in July, to August or even September . This should relieve the infrastructure that has reached its limits in the past few weeks as well as the employees in the logistics centers . In June, however, another shopping event will take place at Amazon, if a CNBC report has it. Accordingly, the e-commerce giant is planning a summer sale for fashion items for June 22nd. Summer Sale: Amazon wants to boost sales The US colleagues found the reference to the date for a so-called fashion summer sale event in an internal document. There was also stated that participation in the shopping event was only possible by invitation and could last between seven and ten days. The document should also mention that Amazon is promoting the whole thing as the “Biggest Summer Sale” and hopes that it will boost sales. Amazon sellers are invited to participate in the letter in order to increase customer loyalty. An Amazon spokesman has confirmed to CNBC that there will be a summer sale in June. According to this, both established and young fashion brands should be involved. However, Amazon has not yet revealed specific details about the date, expiration or the name of the event. It is also still unclear whether the event and the corresponding discounts are only available to Prime customers or to all Amazon users. Summer Sale: At least 30 percent discounts? According to the report, the group is currently still working on completing the details, such as the corresponding landing pages. In any case, the invited sellers should be required to submit articles with a discount of at least 30 percent for the event. In any case, the summer sale is a departure from the previous two-day shopping event Prime Day in summer. The fact that the potential discount battle should primarily be about fashion and fashion items is probably due to the fact that this area did not go well during the corona crisis, despite the booming online trade in parts . Industry observers explained this with the fact that there was hardly any desire for new clothes in view of home office and exit and contact restrictions . Now that the situation seems to be normalizing – at least temporarily – fashion retailers could get their full warehouses a little emptier through an event like Amazon’s summer sale.

Shopping

Game changer Google: online shopping in transition

In the past, Google has drastically changed the rules of the game in the area of ​​Google Shopping. Another turning point is currently taking place, with serious consequences for the industry. A contribution as part of our Dmexco theme week. Froogle, Google Product Search, or Google Shopping. History has produced various titles for Google’s shopping universe. In 2002 Google started the “Froogle” project in the USA and Great Britain, and since 2008 the Google product search has also existed in Germany. Even then, it was possible to influence the display and ranking of products in the organic search results: the more rich the data feed sent to Google, the better the cards. Optimizing shopping feeds was a lucrative business model for agencies that suddenly cracked when Google stopped displaying products for free. Product listing ads: Shopping ads cost money At the beginning of 2013, Google introduced the chargeable Product Listing Ads (PLA) in Germany . From then on, advertisers had to spend money to display their products on Google. While the organic presence of product results gradually collapsed, the new PLA appeared in the top positions of the search results pages. The paid version was well received because the investments paid off: Compared to the regular Adwords ads, the new PLAs stood out due to their higher conversion rates and, on average, lower cost-per-clicks (CPC). The Google Shopping ads established themselves as highly relevant traffic and sales drivers in e-commerce. From feed optimization to shopping campaigns For advertisers and the agencies at their side, the change meant a realignment. While the optimization of product data feeds was the focus of efforts so far, the new system required the data feeds to be linked to Google Adwords. If you wanted to advertise successfully via Google Shopping, you had to learn to set up shopping campaigns. The core competencies consequently migrated to search engine advertising (SEA). A high quality product data feed is still essential for a successful shopping campaign. In order to play this out, however, you need sophisticated and delicate campaigns that are controlled via Google Ads (until recently Adwords). EU Commission condemns Google to record competition penalty The importance of Google Shopping grew so much by 2017 that the European Commission began to listen carefully. Only products from its own price comparison site, Google Shopping, were found in Google’s search results. On the grounds that the US group had “placed its own price comparison service at the top of its search results and downgraded the comparison services of the competition”, the EU imposed a record competition fine of 2.42 billion euros on Google and ordered the giant to make its shopping playground for others Open product searches and price comparisons. Google opens up the world of shopping for external price comparisons At the end of September 2017, shortly before the EU Commission’s 90-day deadline, Google announced that it would decouple its Google Shopping service, which had previously been integrated into the web search . Since then, the Google price comparison has had to book ad spaces itself on the search results pages and is in competition with other so-called “Comparison Shopping Services” ( CSS ). In order to enable competition, Google granted the competition a not inconsiderable margin on the click price on shopping ads. However, these measures had little effect. Apparently, the existing price comparison sites with their business model could not make a profit from the new auction system. You accused Google of distorting competition again earlier this year. AA study by Seachmetrics confirmed Google’s unbroken dominance of shopping ads: In December 2017, the search engine still controlled up to 99 percent of PLA. The problem: The price comparison sites faced several major challenges. In the fight for the display of their shopping ads on Google, they competed with the advertisers and specialized agencies who benefited from their know-how in setting up shopping campaigns. The click prices to win the auctions were apparently too high for Google’s competitors, despite the margin granted. Google is pushing competition, CSS landscape is flourishing For some time now, especially in Great Britain, it has been possible to observe what Google has been striving for for over a year: the competition for ad space on Google Shopping is booming. This trend is currently spilling over to Germany. Instead of “From Google”, external price comparison sites are increasingly visible under product ads. What are the reasons for the suddenly emerging competition? Google has managed to convince service providers such as tech providers or agencies to get involved in the CSS environment. On the one hand, Google promises merchants who run their shopping ads via CSS, lower click prices. In addition, Google started a time-limited incentive program called “Spendmatch”, which offers advertisers financial reimbursements in Ads accounts under certain conditions. Price comparison site as a heavyweight in competition The race to build price comparisons is in full swing. It sets the entire industry in motion and even throws it a bit into chaos: If CSS providers and companies benefit from the lower click prices, there is soon a risk of a price war among the product searchers. Many questions arise. How are advertisers dealing with the new situation? If you import your ads via an external CSS, you can either reduce the click prices by the margin estimated by Google or keep them stable and expand your reach. How long will Google maintain the additional financial incentives? Price comparison sites are sprouting up like mushrooms right now. Will Google soon tighten the requirements for price comparison sites in order to curb the hustle and bustle? Hopefully What plans Google still has for its shopping channel remains exciting. There are first indications that Google Shopping could in future have a shopping cart to position itself in the fight against Amazon – that would be another game changer for the entire industry.

Shopping

Amazon disappears from Google Shopping: causes and consequences

At the end of April, Amazon stopped advertising via Google’s product search engine. Possible backgrounds and consequences for dealers and Google. Amazon has withdrawn from the Google Shopping product search engine without giving any reason. According to the digital marketing agency Merkle , the US group has not been switching product listing ads (PLA) since the end of April, which indicates that Amazon is leaving. The step is understandable because Amazon has long since become a product search engine itself. While merchants could benefit in the short term, Google is more likely to suffer from Amazon’s withdrawal. Amazon on Google Shopping According to Merkle, Amazon invested most of its Google Shopping budget in the Home & Living category, but was also active in other categories such as furniture, office supplies and gift items. Since April 28, there should be no more activity from Amazon, product listing ads can no longer be seen. The digital agency Merkle claims to have recorded a decline in Amazon’s activities by the end of the quarter. The US group has remained active in the Google Adwords sector. Amazon as a product search engine Amazon has long since replaced Google as a product search engine not only in the USA but also in Germany. According to Amazon, the very special clientele of Prime customers now includes more than 100 million people worldwide. For comparison: Germany had around 82.7 million inhabitants in mid-2017. But that’s not all, Prime members are as good as lost to other online shops – they buy almost exclusively from Amazon. One possible interpretation of the lack of advertising from Amazon is a conscious decision against Google Shopping. And this decision could be driven by two factors: Amazon as a search engine is now independent from Google Shopping and does not want to upgrade the competition – and at the same time avoid wastage. Why external services pay money for users who already belong to Amazon. Google Shopping is losing Amazon customers One consequence for Google Shopping could be the loss of some users: Amazon customers who still use the Google service because Amazon is also present there. They will go now – whether this is a factor that matters is a question that is still difficult to answer. Amazon sees its range and access to customers as an integral part of its business model. If another provider tries to take advantage of it, it can trigger countermeasures. In the USA, Google has started to provide Google Shopping with a shopping cart and thus uses the customer and product range for its own purposes – this could have contributed to the possible decision to withdraw. Amazon has withdrawn from some affiliate networks and bargain portals in the past, but so far not from all of them: For example, Amazon offers can still be found at Idealo. Traders can benefit in the short term The digital agency Merkle expresses the assumption that the budget released by Amazon could free up advertising space on Google Shopping and thereby increase click prices and conversion rates.

Shopping

Gender Commerce: What is behind the little-known shopping trend?

Until recently, websites and shopping apps were designed and built primarily for men. That should change with gender commerce. Julia Saswito and Marc Schürmann reveal what has happened in recent years and where the journey is headed. Women and men think differently. This is nothing new and also applies to their behavior in the digital world. What is new, however, is that more and more companies are becoming aware of this fact and are increasingly designing their online shops, websites and mobile apps to meet the needs of female users. If you consider that women make more than half of all online purchases, everything else could safely be described as grossly negligent. Great progress in recent years Mostly male developers have designed mostly male websites. Abstract cutouts, technical details, numbers and never-ending product names were commonplace online. Indeed, it took a moment for word to get around that this depiction was more likely to deter half the population than to motivate them to buy. A lot has happened in recent years. In the meantime, various studies have made it clear to what extent the online behavior of women and men differs, and service providers made recommendations as to why and how these findings can be incorporated into the design of websites and online shops. For example, it has been found that women are fixated on subjects, not objects. So if the exempted product works for men, women prefer the representation in the context of people. For this reason, brands are telling stories more and more frequently and showing the portfolio in connection with people and everyday situations. And what works for women doesn’t have to be bad for men: Both target groups can clearly see the actual size of the product and its functions or advantages in the picture. Since it is often women who do initial research on a particular product on the Internet before discussing the details with their partner, this strategy ultimately has a positive effect on the entire buying process. Offering inspiration instead of giving away potential In addition, the field reports, testimonials and influencers that are so important for women are now in greater use. The fact that women are looking for inspiration online is also increasingly being taken into account by shops. For example, the provider suggests other pieces that match the outfit for the selected trousers. This large selection of different products helps women to weigh, compare and ultimately find the “perfect solution”. For shop owners, this means making shopping lists and shopping baskets accessible for a long time and understanding them as a kind of pause for reflection. Because while the man searches and buys specifically, women constantly check and adjust their selection criteria. If shop operators no longer display the products that were “parked” on the watch list a few days ago, they are wasting great potential. Perhaps after much deliberation, the customer has come to the decision that she would like the parts stored there after all. Even more satisfied customers thanks to innovative technologies In addition to various studies, the topic of data analysis in particular has advanced gender commerce. Thanks to it, marketing managers can now understand much more easily what is working, how and why on their side. In addition, social media also makes an immense contribution to understanding the needs of customers and often even responding to them in direct exchange. It is currently difficult to guess where the journey in gender commerce will take us. New technologies such as AI (artificial intelligence), conversational interfaces or virtual reality are currently finding their way into the shopping area and have to assert their effect on customers only in the long term. The use of new technologies such as augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR), for example, is still in its infancy in shopping. However, since women have a spatial vision and imagination designed for 2D and men for 3D, innovative technologies are more likely to score points with male customers from a scientific point of view. In addition, the latter are naturally technology-loving and significantly less affected by the “motion sickness” that occurs when using VR. Nevertheless, there are already AR examples from the fashion sector that are particularly popular with women: In spring this year, the Zara fashion label tested an AR application in 120 branches around the world , with which Zara customers can experience the new collections of models to themselves to see certain pieces of clothing in motion. Of course, the look could then also be placed in the app’s shopping basket. Conversational interfaces make it possible to chat with an employee or bot while shopping in the online shop. Since we now know that women are particularly keen to seek advice from women, this area could have a beneficial effect on the buying process for female customers. The topic of linking brick-and-mortar retail and the online shop is also gaining in relevance when you consider the gender-specific differences. Women naturally have a finer sense of touch and therefore place greater emphasis on the quality of the material and structure of the product. Since you cannot touch the products shown online, women often make their first impression in the store. Brands and companies have to take this so-called “reverse ROPO effect” – research offline and buy online – into account in their concept. Pure online providers are doing well with offering new types of commerce and retail. Stationary retail, on the other hand, has to internalize this holistic purchasing process and develop solutions for it. Conclusion The design and UX design in e-commerce have increasingly oriented themselves towards the needs of female users in recent years, without neglecting male consumers. We expect that the awareness of those responsible for marketing for the different online behavior of women and men will grow steadily and that it will also come into play when new technologies are used. In general, one can say that every new technology can also open new doors and that the success of the application can often only be assessed after a certain practical test. Above all, it is important that brands and companies keep the needs of the target group in mind with every decision and weigh up whether and to what extent innovative technologies contribute to the positive relationship between customer and brand.

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.