Connected Commerce: The bridge between online and offline shopping
“The shopping experience of the future will take place both online and offline,” says Alexander Otto, CEO of ECE. “In this joint project, we are combining our knowledge from both worlds and enhancing brick-and-mortar retail by expanding its reach online. This is truly a remarkable pioneering project. In the process, we can draw on our long-standing partnerships with major retailers and our dense network of shopping centers as well as the omnichannel approach of our Digital Mall project.”
“With this ambitious connected commerce project, we are building a bridge between online and offline shopping for our customers. Together with ECE, we have the opportunity to partner with brick-and-mortar retailers and brands throughout Germany and integrate products from the single largest network of shopping centers in the country into the otto.de platform. In this context, the two companies already share common values through their shareholders in order to provide a genuine alternative for partners and customers,” said Alexander Birken, CEO of the Otto Group.
New service launching with 20,000 products
At launch, the new connected commerce services will be available to retailers who operate a store in at least one of the 90 ECE shopping centers in Germany. Both consumers and retailers will benefit from ECE’s extensive nationwide network of shopping centers, with almost 60 percent of the country’s residents living less than 30 minutes away from an ECE center – a true USP. Technically, the connected commerce concept ties in with ECE’s existing “Digital Mall” technology, which allows customers to check the availability of products on the centers’ websites.
During the first stage of the project, customers will be able to see on otto.de whether an item is available at a nearby store, such as one located in an ECE shopping center. As of today, otto.de is showing local product availability for around 20,000 products from six selected retail partners: Marc O’Polo, myToys, RENO, SportScheck, Brax, and Ulla Popken. Additional items, stores, and partners will gradually be added over time. The service will not only be limited to stores in ECE shopping centers, but will also include products at other stores as well. In addition, the connected commerce concept has been designed to connect with other online platforms in the future as well.
Coming soon: nationwide same-day delivery service
In the future, the local services will be expanded to include additional elements. A reservation feature for products that are available at local stores as well as the ability to pay for products available in stores online via otto.de and then pick them up ( “Click & Collect”) are both planned. In addition, same-day delivery from a shopping center to a specified address in the vicinity will soon be possible making the shopping centers act as local warehouses and delivery hubs.
- Connected Commerce: “We’re building a bridge”: Interview with the Stocksquare management team Alexander Will and Sebastian Baumann (in German)
- “Multichannel from the perspective of e-commerce”: Guest commentary on connected commerce by Martin Gross-Albenhausen, Assistant General Manager of the German E-Commerce and Mail Order Association (Bundesverband E-Commerce und Versandhandel e.V., abbreviated bevh) (in German)
- ECE’s “Digital Mall”: Background information on ECE’s omnichannel approach, which can be used to check the availability of products at ECE shopping centers.