Online trading has overcome acceptance hurdles
Last year, 53 per cent of Internet users in Germany bought goods or services online several times a month. Every tenth buyer even placed orders on the Internet more than five times a month. Altogether, some 30 million German residents bought something online in 2007. The turnover volume of Germany’s online retail trade amounted to some 18 billion euros. Today, surfers who have never before purchased anything in virtual shops are few and far between – and account for only four per cent of Internet users. That’s a sign that online retail is overcoming the acceptance hurdles that once loomed and is establishing itself as a regular distribution channel alongside the traditional branch outlets. Online shoppers name fast access to information (75 per cent) and not being bound to a particular place or opening times (62 per cent) as the main motives behind their virtual buys
These are the findings of the survey "Buyer typologies on the Internet - sales stimulation through fulfilled buying motives" conducted by novomind AG in collaboration with wiwo.de and handelsblatt.com.
Internet traders recognise their customers’ need structures
Apart from the convenience of virtual shopping, above all, it is the freedom and anonymity of comparing products online that online customers in Germany value. In addition, they can make sure of the soundness of their own purchase decisions by consulting product ratings and reading the opinions of other Internet users. For 71 per cent of respondents, this opportunity is an advantage that classic in-store shopping does not offer. Service elements such as these, further improvements in user-friendliness and their expanded product range make online shops attractive to an increasingly broad buying public.
Desire for virtual shopping miles
In a rating of online user focuses, online shopping comes fourth behind e-mailing, search engine research and the reading of messages. Large virtual marketplaces, such as Amazon and Otto.de, are particularly popular here. One in three users says he or she buys there frequently – more than 40 per cent at least occasionally. Objects of the virtual shopper’s desire are primarily books, entertainment electronics and clothes. With product groups such as these, impulse-related buying motives play a special role. More and more retailers are specifically targeting such needs and boosting the buyer’s enjoyment of virtual shopping by giving their shops a more attractive design and integrating modern service functions. Intelligent search functions, simplified order processes and recommendation mechanisms containing references to other interesting products, for instance, improve the standard of service in the virtual shops. This is how virtual marketplaces are overcoming their service and assistance deficits, as compared with the personal consultation that retail stores can offer.
Growth forecast for 2008
As a result, the significance of browser-aided trading will continue to increase. Today, some 19 per cent of all companies based in Germany sell their goods and services via the Internet. Projected turnover figures are even higher. Last year already, German online traders generated some 18 billion dollars in turnover, according to an estimate made by the HDE (the German retailers’ association). In 2008, turnover volume is expected to increase appreciably once again, to an estimated 20 billion euros.
novomind AG: innovative software for professional customer communications and Internet systems
The novomind Services division specialises in modern software solutions for electronic telecommerce (e-commerce). Consulting, implementation and operational support in the fields of e-shopping, PIM and marketplace integration together lead to tailor-made e-commerce solutions for novomind customers - manufacturer-independent, individual and successful.
Integratability, scalability and availability of systems are as much a prime focus, therefore, as pragmatic project management and fast software-development cycles.
novomind’s technological partners include: Intershop, IBM, Oracle and hybris.
The novomind clientele includes: Der Club Bertelsmann, buecher.de, Otto-Group, Mexx, Ernsting’s family, Media-Saturn, s.Oliver and Weltbild.
The Products division portfolio features, among other things, the novomind Self Service Suite. This software package contains all the necessary communication modules a customer service centre needs, based on a central knowledge database.