INTERVIEW: “The SHOPMACHER approach helps us massively.”
The SHOPMACHER have been in charge of the e-commerce platform of the men’s fashion retailer engbers since 2010. In an interview, Engbers owner Bernd Bosch and SHOPMACHER CEO André Roitzsch describe their collaboration and explain why the SHOPMACHER philosophy of continuous shop improvement has played a major role for around two years.
How long have the SHOPMACHER been in charge of the engbers e-commerce platform?
Bernd Bosch: In 2010 we placed our online activities on a modern, developable e-commerce platform. Since then we have been working closely, intensively and trustingly with the shop makers, who not only provided us with a modern e-commerce platform at the time, but have since been an important advisory companion in the continuous further development of our online activities.
What are the basic technologies on which the engbers platform is based?
André Roitzsch: The technological basis behind the platform is the Oxid shop system for the checkout in combination with a Symfony front end developed by us shop makers and our CommerceCockpit. The CommerceCockpit is a SaaS solution also developed by SHOPMACHER. It enables the editors at engbers to edit large parts of the shop platform themselves without having to have in-depth technical knowledge or having to consult us as an agency for every change. This not only applies to images and text, but also to many other areas of the shop. The CommerceCockpit gives our partners at engbers a high degree of flexibility and manageability of the entire e-commerce platform on their own.
The SHOPMACHER approach helps us massively. The Shopmacher advise us and, with their strictly data-driven approach, show us where requirements are changing and where we need to become more efficient.
How do you ensure that the e-commerce platform keeps up with the rapidly changing customer requirements in online trade?
Bernd Bosch: In the online area, the fashion business and customer requirements are developing much more dynamically than in the stationary area. Therefore, the SHOPMACHER approach to the continuous development of our e-commerce platform was and is exactly the philosophy that we need and that helps us massively. In its current form, our platform has very little in common with the status of 2010, both in terms of look and feel and in terms of technology. The Shopmacher advise us and, with their strictly data-driven approach, show where requirements are changing and where we need to become more efficient. And it is precisely at these points that we improve our platform together almost in step with the respective requirements.
How can such a cooperation, which reacts at short notice, be organized at all on the agency side?
André Roitzsch: In order to be able to efficiently implement our philosophy of continuous further development in day-to-day business, we have consistently redesigned many processes and structures at SHOPMACHER over the past two years. The shop improvement philosophy postulates no longer thinking and developing in long-term projects. This requires a resolute rethinking as well as appropriate structures and processes, not only from our customers, but also from the agency side.
For the purpose of the continuous and requirement-oriented further development of the e-commerce platform, engbers has been following this idea for about two years. At the end of each year, Engbers secures development resources for one year on the basis of a rough, jointly developed plan. Which topics are implemented within the framework of this quota is then decided on a monthly basis. In this way, engbers can react flexibly to constantly changing market developments and also tackle new trends with little lead time. The effort for planning that is often already obsolete by the time it is implemented is significantly reduced within the framework of this model and significantly more energy can flow into the ad hoc implementation of sub-projects.
The keywords “data-driven approach” and “measurability” were mentioned. Can the fruits of data-driven collaboration be measured in any way?
Bernd Bosch: Since the start of the cooperation with SHOPMACHER, engbers has achieved double-digit annual sales growth in the online business. One can say that growth rates of more than ten percent are almost normal in e-commerce. However, especially in the highly competitive fashion sector, double-digit growth is not achieved through standing still, but only through agile further development of one’s own services for online customers. And that is exactly what we do together with the Shopmacher.
In the area of mobile commerce, which is becoming increasingly important, we have been able to significantly increase the share of sales from mobile end devices in the engbers core brand from ten to thirty percent over the past two years. The mobile share of the engbers brands emilio adani and engbers xxl is currently almost 50 percent. In addition, engbers’ SEO visibility has almost doubled since the middle of 2015 thanks to numerous content-related measures and the further development of the e-commerce platform.
Further developments continue unabated at engbers.
How is engbers doing with the much-cited multi-channel sales and the cross-channel services that are popular with customers?
Bernd Bosch: engbers has also been using external online sales channels such as Otto and Amazon since 2013. By using these marketplaces, engbers, as a vertical provider, has not only gained additional online customers, but also new stationary customers who may not have known enbgers before. This increase in reach and awareness helps our company as a whole.
André Roitzsch: True to the motto that an e-commerce platform is never really finished, further developments at engbers continue unabated. The further optimization of customer services from the cross-channel area such as click & reserve, which will be activated shortly, and further measures for even stronger dovetailing of stationary and digital sales channels are currently on the agenda. For this purpose, among other things, a more flexible checkout system will be implemented. With this, engbers customers can not only exchange the goods they ordered online in the branch, but also pay.
So what would a brief summary of the previous collaboration and a look into the future look like?
Bernd Bosch: We are very satisfied with the development of our e-commerce platform and our online business over the past few years. But of course we know that the status at the beginning of 2018 will no longer meet the requirements at the end of 2018. We will therefore continue to work together with the Shopmacher to further improve the services for our customers. And the exciting thing about e-commerce is that we don’t yet know exactly what will be required in six or twelve months. Hopefully, Shopmacher’s data-driven consulting and philosophy of store improvement will help us in this regard in concrete terms, as it has in previous years.
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