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by Daniela Köhler
The Hamburg-based novomind AG, an IT partner of numerous suppliers in the fashion industry, is this year’s guest at the Digital Fashion Summit on May 22 in Frankfurt. In a workshop David Spaeth, Head of Marketing, explains the prerequisites for successful omnichannel trading.
“Every omnichannel platform needs its own content” – David Spaeth, Head of Marketing, novomind AG.
Mr. Spaeth, how does a software provider experience the development of the fashion industry? Are companies in the industry prepared for digitization?
David Spaeth: The market is divided into three groups. There are companies for whom digitization is an extreme challenge, especially because they are still in their infancy. Often, such companies still have the Patriarch, who prefers the convenience store to the online business. This often leads to dissatisfaction among the employees in this area, because they feel permanently disadvantaged. Then there is the good center, now the largest area of the market. These are companies that sell online, have implemented good processes and interfaces to work best with digital data along the supply chain. And then there are some innovative pioneers, such as Mammut, who also communicate their high standards to the outside world. One distinguishing criterion is, for example, how companies view the “time to market” factor. It is fascinating how this has changed over the past few years: that a company offers eight to twelve collections a year has become standard. And then there are big vendors who could launch a collection in a week if they want.
What is your prognosis regarding further development?
We assume that online commerce will further encourage offline commerce – if the offers are right for it. One positive example of this is the “Digital Mall” initiative of ECE, which increasingly maps its offline shopping centers on the Internet and thus offers tenants and customers a seamless customer journey. Ideally, this will mean that as a customer I will first be able to find out on the Internet whether the desired product is in stock at the mall. I can then try it on the spot and probably buy a shirt in addition to my pants.
That would be the ideal case. In practice, omnichannel trading is still a very big challenge for many companies.
Yes that’s true. In fact, today’s fashion companies are facing huge challenges or “construction sites.” And one should not underestimate the need for manpower to cope with the complexity of omnichannel, the ever-increasing demands of customers and the literal addiction to personalization in the customer journey.
In your opinion, what are specific challenges in connection with omnichannel?
The biggest challenge – by the way, not only in the fashion sector, but in many other industries – is the need to present the product individually and, above all, personalized in the different channels. In many companies, it is still common to work with identical product data in both the in-house shop and on other platforms such as Otto, Amazon or Zalando and to present the product in a standardized manner. That does not make sense. On the one hand, because Google penalizes the multiple use of identical data as “duplicate content” due to lower rankings. On the other hand, depending on the platform and customer expectations, a different presentation and description of products is usually necessary. All this must be ensured by a software solution as a standard: For this reason, we are currently talking about “selective omnichannel” in our solutions, because our product information management, abbreviated to “PIM”, includes different levels of care, so that different content can be played depending on the target.
The fashion industry is evidently increasingly aware that successful digitization is not just a question of the right technology, but is also or above all a matter of employees and leadership.
Yes, we can only confirm that. There are more and more companies that have said goodbye to top-down announcements and say: we can not do anything but act together with our employees. At the same time, the demands on the software people work with are increasing. It is becoming increasingly important to provide intuitive and user-friendly products. A typical application example is product information management – a task that is often not very popular and that hardly anyone likes to do because it’s manual work. We put a great deal of effort into relieving our customers and their employees of our software products and, of course, making the processes more efficient. Customers should be less concerned with the question “How to describe the collar shape of a shirt for the 700th time?”, But more with the question of the right, future-oriented digital and marketing strategy.
What awaits the participants of your workshop at the Digital Fashion Summit on May 22 in Frankfurt?
We want to give listeners an in-depth look behind the scenes of successful brands and dealers. And we would like to convey in a very hands-on manner how one can positively influence the customer journey through intelligent Product Experience Management – abbreviated PXM. At the end of the workshop, the participant should know why certain companies are successful and what the conditions are.
Interview: Bettina Maurer, TextilWirtschaft Kongresse – www.conferencegroup.de/kongresse/textil-mode/digital-fashion-summit-2019/executive-insights-by-novomind
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