E-commerce Berlin Expo 2019: goals, expectations, and results

Boost Solutions strive to track current technology trends and attend industry-leading events. So, our employee’s team visited e-commerce conference on 20 February.

Today we would like to share our impressions and talk about plans regarding development in the direction of e-commerce based on interviews with the participants of the event: CEO Viktor Mikla, Deputy CEO Viktor Kompaneiets and Head of Sales Department Vyacheslav Ivanov.

Viktor, for what purpose did you visit the e-commerce conference?

At the moment, we consider the direction of e-commerce as one of the key ones for Boost Solutions. Therefore, we wanted to get more detailed information about trends, issues, current products, and solutions. It would give us food for thought about developing our own solutions.

Furthermore, we wanted to get a visual representation of the current situation on the German market, learn about nuances of entering on it, and to make acquaintances with potential partners.

Which questions were covered during the conference?

This event addressed issues relating to:

  1. Making payments;
  2. Logistics in general and delivery to end customers in particular;
  3. Sorting and packaging products;
  4. Computer security;
  5. Digital Marketing.

 

Particular attention was paid to marketing, as German companies feel an urgent need for media support. In this context, lead generation schemes, remarketing, retargeting, pop-ups, roll-ups, SEO optimization were actively discussed.

The participants of the event presented both ready-made services and complex solutions, mainly adapted for Germany. There were a few global solutions. Besides, some attention was paid to machine learning and VR/AR technologies.

Who were the participants of the event?

German companies accounted for about 70% of the participants. Most of the representatives of other European companies had offices in various cities of Germany and was a member of the German Business Association.

So, having a physical representation in Germany boosts the chances for successful entering the German market. But there are also alternative ways to take part in the business of the region, for example, to find a local partner.

Among the remaining 30% of participants and visitors, we saw quite a lot of Chinese, Estonians, Poles, Swiss, Austrians, Italians. Poles, Austrians, and Swiss paid attention to computer security problems in the field of e-commerce. Estonians presented machine learning products.

The Chinese sought and presented solutions related to logistics – especially cross-border transportation. Italians and Germans considered solutions related to cashless payments, logistics (including cross-border transportation), sorting and packaging, and also marketing.

It is understandable, based on the list of the most significant problems for Germany. As for the scale of participants, we mainly saw medium-sized market players; there were almost no small and large companies.

Germany makes an impression of a steady state. Which problems would you still have identified?

Problem №1 is difficult cross-border logistics. This is because the government deliberately restricted imports to support domestic producers.
As a result, legislation and technologies related to it haven’t received much development. At one time, such measures really helped to strengthen the economy. However, given the current volumes of exports and imports, this situation becomes critical.

The second problem is the undeveloped payment systems. Not all non-cash payments are feasible, which complicates international trade and the flow of money from tourists. For example, you can’t freely pay at the store with a credit card, as in most European countries – for this you will need a cash or debit card.

The third problem is the technological gap. For a long time, the government deliberately prevented large foreign companies from entering the market. This approach led to a lack of exchange of experience and technologies.

Currently, Germany is still a fairly conservative state, but some shifts towards cooperation with foreign partners did occur. This market is underdeveloped, but it exists, and we could be useful for German customers.

Did you achieve your goals?

When we went to the conference, we were looking primarily for information and partners to expand our presence in the European IT industry. I think that we managed to achieve the intended goals.

We got a good overview of the features of work in a particular region and found potential partners for cooperation based on the introduction of the WooCommerce plugin and the expansion of the functionality of the basic Shopify platform. We also intend to provide media support to local companies through an already existing German partner.

How do you assume to use this knowledge in practice? Do you plan to release your own products in the direction of e-commerce?

It is too early to talk about it. We plan to start with a supply chain consultation, media support and design creation for commercial websites. We are also ready to develop small and medium-sized online stores, adapt them for mobile devices and expand the current functionality.

Later we will consider the possibilities for developing web platforms for tendering and miscalculation of optimal routes, taking into account the distance, cost of transportation and the ability to choose different types of transport. I think that in May 2019 we will be able to talk about specific projects and solutions.

Which trends do you consider as a key for Germany for 2019?

The primary trend of this year will be the concentration of efforts around several platforms, mainly devoted to logistics and non-cash payments. Also, it will be reinforced tendencies to:

  • modernizing commercial websites to increase conversion;
  • increasing the levels of privacy;
  • improving technologies to protect against online fraud.

So, most of ideas will be developing in their context.

What do you think, which trends will prevail next year?

In my opinion, the above trends will be relevant in the next year with high probability. Furthermore, the demand for professional UI/UX design and development of cross-platform web apps will increase, as competition in the e-commerce sector will increase, due to the expansion of the market.