From the North of Germany to All the World via Web 2.0

E-Commerce, online sales, customer loyalty strategies, B2B partnership programmes were the main topics of interest during a company visit to the Popken Fashion Group, one of the top 15 most customer-oriented fashion shops in Germany. MP participants from Ukraine visited their offices at Rastede, the heart of the Ulla Popken brand. More than 700 employees work here developing tomorrow’s fashion trends and marketing strategies.

Marc Brocato, the group’s head of B2B, presented detailed information on all company divisions to the Ukrainian executives, and also covered topics including fairness, sustainability, corporate responsibility and ethics. After that the visitors moved on to the main objective of their visit: examining online sales. Three other e-commerce department employees were available for a marathon question and answer session lasting nearly four hours. The participants Daria Morarian, Kiril Filatov and Ihor Markuts were especially interested in cross-channel strategies, profitability, product availability and price transparency.

Nowadays customers might browse in an online shop and then buy what they want in a store – or the other way around. They expect a continuous shopping experience through a number of different sales channels (cross-channel). Mobile phone shopping is also gaining popularity. The Popken Fashion Group is fully prepared for this trend. An essential building block of their strategy is their online shop which uses SAP Hybris 4. The visiting executives learned about how challenging it was for the group’s IT solution partners to get the online shops ready to meet future trends in web design and provide customers with an emotionally attractive shopping environment. The new online shops are configured to deliver modern design, high performance and availability. They are also set up to be easy to maintain and scale. The new online shops were also required to integrate new functions like a zoom viewer, or marketing promotions like advance catalogues, live shopping or happy-hour products. “This company knows how to excite customers with quality customer service, a feel for customer needs, employee helpfulness and dependable statements,” noted Ihor Markuts. And exceptionally high e-commerce growth underlines that point, added Brocato. The visit ended in a showroom in front of a map of the world showing some country regions still blank – including Ukraine. “We are looking for new franchise and joint venture partners in these regions,” explained Brocato. His message did not go unheard amongst the participants. Daria Morarian, who runs a studio for wedding fashion in Tschernovtsy showed immediate interest. Her customers already include a Danish studio, and more recently, Studio Isabel from Hamburg. She thinks cooperating with the Ulla Popken Group in wedding fashion is a viable option.

By Marlies Riemer-Lange
Wirtschaftsakademie Schleswig-Holstein GmbH, Kiel