Onlinehandel 2012: A Few Words
23rd January 1 Comment
As mentioned before, I went to my first conference of 2012 and had a look what the people at Onlinehandel 2012 had do say. It should be a chance to reconnect, network and listen to some presentations. Some of these plans could actually put into practice.
The two-day-event which is now in its 8th year took place in the Kameha Grand in Bonn, Germany, a luxury hotel that is a mixture of modern, light-flooded architecture and a sense of over-the-top Kitsch. As usual, there was a mixture of service providers in their booths and a number of presentations entertaining the audience in three lecture rooms. As for the former, I spotted companies such as OXID eSales and Intershop and various others, the representatives of which looked amazingly underemployed. As I learned a little later on when talking to some of them, there simply weren’t enough prospective customers who showed up at the booths.
But rather than talking to a lot of service providers, I wanted to hit the presentations on the second day and see which interesting bits and pieces could be gathered from there. Unfortunately, like with so many conferences – and there are quite a few of them these days – most of them were uninspired renarrations of stuff you could find/read elsewhere without too much hassle – without having to spend the entrance fee of € 1290 (!!)
One slight exception was the presentation by Laurence Parkes, Planning Director of AKQA in Amsterdam. In a talk titled How tablets are transforming retail, he summarised the recent development of tablets taking taking away more and more market share from tablet PCs. In his opinion, there are two areas where the growth of tablet usage can be seen: Under Connected retail, he summarised all the instances where businesses make use of tablets. He gave an example of car salespeople being able to provide potential customers with additional, real-time information about the chosen car configurations or waiters bringing multi-media information about selected wines to the guests’ tables.
For the other area which he expected considerable growth in he used the term Couch Commerce to describe the situations in which people use their tablet at home in a relaxed environment. And this is where it becomes a little more exciting because this is indeed a branch of commerce that we also regard as providing ample space for innovation. (And, it so happens that our very own Alex founded a company just recently to offer services around Couch Commerce.) According to Laurence Parkes, using a tablet has many advantages over hunching over a notebook or even a desktop PC: When using such a device, one is able to properly immerse in the form of entertainment that one chooses, ie. reading a book or watching a film (ever tried to read a longer piece sitting in front of a PC? – Yep, thought so.). Also, he reminded the audience that we can witness a phenomenon he referred to as supercharged consumption: According to Parkes, 70% of tablet users want to purchase products directly from editorial features. In other words, give people good content that leads to even better – commercial – content and meet them when they are most relaxed, you will find great business opportunities there.
And that was about it really. According to the organisers, the videos of the presentations will soon be online, so maybe I’ll post an update for them in a couple of days. Generally speaking, I was disappointed (yet again) about speakers who just don’t deliver. Why not taking some risks and saying “Look, this is what we’ve tried in such and such a way, and it didn’t work, so we though …” Be transparent, give the people some good stuff! I’m not advocating the end of all business secrets, but hey, you want to make the news and spread the word about your company’s online retail ventures, this is your bloody chance!