Miesięczne archiwum: Październik 2015

i-systems among Deloitte Technology Fast 50

Company i-systems entered 16th edition of Deloitte ranking of the fastest developing companies with innovative technology in Central Europe.
Deloitte Technology Fast 50 Central Europe ranking identifies the fastest developing companies with innovative technology based on the growth rate of annual operating revenues in the analysed periods. In Central Europe, the programme includes companies from 17 countries: Poland, Czech Republic, Hungary, Latvia, Estonia, Slovakia, Bulgaria, Romania, Serbia, Croatia, Slovenia, Bosna and Herzegovina, Albania, Macedonia, Moldovia, Montenegro and Lithuania.

Strong position of Poland

16th edition of Deloitte ranking of the fastest developing companies with innovative technology in Central Europe included 19 companies from Poland. The leader of the main “Technology Fast 50” ranking became Czech company called Simplity and the second place was taken by Polish Sky Cash Poland. The third place was taken by the last year’s winner, Hungarian company Szallas.hu.

Fast50

Polish laureates in the major category of Technology Fast 50

i-systems entered Deloitte Technology Fast 50 ranking for the first time. In Europe, it takes 39th place and in Poland – 8th place. Fast 50 Central Europe ranking is a part of Fast 500 EMEA and all laureates of the “fast 50” are automatically enrolled in it. The Partners of Honours of the competition include the Polish Minister of Economy, the National Centre for Research and Development, the Polish Agency for Enterprise Development, Warsaw Stock Exchange and the Polish IT and Telecommunications Chamber.

The time of eApocalypse – the influence OmniChannel exerts on the future of commerce

We are witnessing big changes. Following the events of the last decade on the eCommerce market and putting it together with the current situation in traditional commerce, it is difficult not to resist of impression that big changes are coming.
The market of shopping centres in Poland will soon reach the boundaries of dynamic growth. In 2015 the first noticeable decline in the so-called footfall appeared, which means that particular stores are visited by a smaller number of potential customers. Such situation enforced, in some cases, changing the strategy and renegotiating some of the lease contracts. And this is only the beginning.

An online store that supports traditional sales is a standard for each sales chain

In the chains that thought about it well in advance we can see that as standard about 5% of the whole turnover of the store is generated by an online store. There are also companies that from the very beginning treat the Internet as the main source of their activities and now have the results of 10% to even 20% of turnover online.

It often happens that a single online store may generate the turnover of a few good brick and mortar stores, with less expense. This results in resignations from some of less profitable points, which can in turn result in vacant places in shopping centres that have to be managed somehow. The so-called pop-up stores may turn out to be the hope for such places; these are the stores that appear in a given area for promotional purposes, for a specified time, and then disappear. This strategy is particular favourable to online stores. A well-established image, among customers, may hold their attention and arise their interest in the offer of an online store. We could observe such strategy in Złote Tarasy in Warsaw where Zalando presented its pop-up store. The opening of a temporary store was preceded by a series of events like giving Blogger Award awards and a series of DIY workshops.

The best results may be expected by the companies which backs sustainable development consistent with the OmniChannel strategy

A well-managed online store additionally drives traffic in brick and mortar stores, among other things by free collection points, the possibility of checking the stock levels, reservations, returns, claims etc. The example may be the Polish project Answear.com which intensified the opening of an online store in 2011 by opening two brick and mortar stores in Kielce and Poznań, offering a part of the functionalities mentioned.

And here another challenge appears: how to settle with the ingoing customers that come to sales chains only to collect the product bought earlier at the online store. This is the situation in which the store is forced to pay double for the customer. The first time at the online store. The second time, when it has to pay the owner of the shopping centre for the fact that the customer has come to collect the parcel bought, thus increasing the footfall and turnover of the store on which the rent is calculated. There are several ways to solve this problem and in each of them the software may play the key role.

commerceRSR2015 Commerce Convergence RSR

More and more actively the companies of the so-called pure internet join the game for the offline customer

These are the companies that grew based on the technology, they have been keeping online stores for a long time and more and more often they think about not the single point of sale but about the whole chain, thus fulfilling the OmniChannel strategy.

Only now in Poland we can observe the single examples of opening brick and mortar stores by companies which are typically online in their nature, and such trend will be more and more stronger over time. Their unquestionable advantage is that they usually already have a well-developed system in which they are constantly investing and know its possibilities. For them, adding subsequent functionalities and increasing the number of free collection points, having selected a well-organised team of specialists, may take little time. These are, despite everything, the companies that we heard relatively not much of in Poland but their capital and trend towards OmniChannel customer, that are constantly growing, rouse appetite for investment in physical points of sale.

The example of such kind of actions may be the Chinese giant Alibaba who in 2014 bought, after years of dynamic expansion in a global chain, the block of 220.5 mln shares of Intime Retail Group (IRG; the owner of department stores and superstores) for approx. USD 219 mln. In 2015 it bought 19.99% of shares of Suning – one of the biggest chain of stores with electronic equipment in the country (for approx. EUR 4.15 mln). This is a simple way for natural competitors to establish cooperation, which will after all be advantageous for both companies. Suning will get the opportunity of starting online sales fast, among other things by creating an online store, on Alibaba website, designed for commercial partners – Tmall. Alibaba, however, will be able to use Suning infrastructure to store and deliver the goods sold at the platform in OmniChannel model.

CCC brand applied a similar strategy. One of the biggest chain of stores with shoes bought 75% of shares of Eobuwie.pl – a company from Zielona Góra. Although the average shopping basket in both cases differ significantly, both entities gained a natural complement to their offers. Eobuwie may offer brick and mortar free collection points, which in turn, as a natural consequence, will increase traffic in CCC stores and may translate into increased sales.

Online and offline commercial companies are looking more and more intensely for the possibility to get through to the end customer, from different places, thus diversifying the sales and fulfilling the OmniChannel strategy

This may take place in the form of acquisition, merger, like in the case of Alibaba and CCC, or the attempt to create one’s own dedicated solutions, like Answear.com did. We should, however, bear in mind that such programming-related solutions does not come into existence immediately. The era of fast and easy entry into online sales has come to an end. A good system of sale that implements the strategy of sales chain and meets the requirements of OmniChannel customers needs a few months and time for tests and stabilisation. Before the actual works can start, one has to draw up an analysis, deal with all legal matters and create system specification.

The changes in commerce are quicker and quicker. Postponing the key decisions on investment in OmniChannel even longer is disadvantageous and increases the costs of implementation and acquiring a potential customer via Internet.

B2B benefits in eCommerce you do not know about

B2B solutions in eCommerce are characterized by the fact that their results are not conspicuous right away. New code lines, invoices, statistics, analyses, reports and prognoses are not solutions giving us a thrill of positive emotions. They come (especially for people dealing with finance and its optimization) when we realise the likely benefits of B2B system in e-commerce. The solutions described were implemented by i-systems in Higma Service, a company supplying products, hygienic systems and professional chemical agents for companies, institutions and HoReCa sector.

Easy access to data

Even today you can find some archaic solutions, frequently adopted in companies. The nightmare of each tradesman – one main computer with access to all data which can be used for entering the order in the system. The tradesman is forced to ask the computer owner (usually Sales Manager) to provide the hardware to her/him even for a couple of minutes.
It would be hard to find a better example of wasting resources and losing time for the team. Open web access to the IT system for all company employees enables the tradesman, having her/his own account, to come and enter the order in the system from any computer connected to the Internet. The introduction of such a solution (along with other) help Higma Service sales representatives to meet with as much as 12 customers during a single day and to prepare a customised offer for each of them, including a full presentation. Such a solution offers also a comprehensive control of each ordering stage. It is enough to have a look at the system to learn what happened to a specific order, when and why.

Optimisation of overhead costs and expense prognosis

Each document in the form of a sheet of paper can be lost, get wet, be taken by the wind and is a cost in itself. Higma Service generates over 23 thousand invoices a year and several times more Goods Dispatched (WZ) Invoices. This is an immense amount of paper which was replaced by electronic documents. They are generated automatically and attached to the order performance stage preferred by the customer. What is more, the electronic documents are grouped in sets to analyse and obtain Business Intelligence information more easily, of key importance for the strategic decisions. Such an analysis of data can be created any time in a month, not only after the end of any settlement period.

Improving the work qualify of sales representatives

B2C or B2B solutions can actually be reduced to H2H, that is Human 2 Human, relations. Here, personal likings and dislikes (partially subconscious) of our sales representatives towards some companies come to play. How to encourage the sale representative, beside her/his personal animosities, to contact and visit all the companies? The IT system can also be helpful here. The solution implemented suggests the employee should make an appointment for the meeting and if s/he keeps ignoring the message, s/he will lose the opportunity to make other appointments before vising all customers suggested by the system.

Logistics handling

Warehousing costs constitute a large part of sales companies’ expenses. The logistic solution adopted analyses sales of products and prognoses warehouse shortages. Thanks to that, the warehousing space is optimized and does not generate unnecessary costs. Such a policy can reduce warehousing costs by 45%. Additionally, each manufacturer connected with the company can generate the sales reports for their products themselves as this offers information to both companies for improved cooperation.
Business activity cost optimisation is the most important challenge for companies in almost any sector. As you see, B2B systems are able to optimize costs in many areas of the company operation: from sales, through employees’ time management, debt recovery, offering, expense control, to the logistics. It is worth considering implementation of B2B solutions in e-commerce as some money can still be obtained from the designated subsidy from the EU funds.

New Balance Polska opens a new e-shop with i-systems

A cutting-edge, fully mobile website, clear and legible offer presentation, a number of improvements in product searching and outstanding product page. This is, in short, the result of implementing the new e-store by i-systems for New Balance brand in Poland. According to the global idea of the New Balance brand, both the brick-and-mortar stores and e-shops are characterized by a similar visual identification. For this reason, one of the key tasks was to create a layout with the graphics compliant with the key visual of the brand. The new New Balance e-shop in Poland was created in a responsive web design. This enables the store website to display correctly on any device available, increasing the number of prospective customers in the same way.

newbalance

New Balance store in responsive web design

New Balance shoes stand out thanks to their innovative technology which is why the information on the solutions adopted needed to appear on the product page. It can be presented in 3 ways: as a description, video or infographics. The photos presenting the product are available in the panoramic format.

newbalanceprodukt

Multiple options of the product

New Balance shoes are characterised by a huge range of colours and sizes. The available colour options are signaled by miniature photos and the standard size table is complemented with the ability to choose an additional option, that is width.

Additional functionalities

New Balance brand has a wide range of products. To keep a simple and clear menu, hidden categories were used. The hidden categories can be ascribed any name, description and graphics, including a horizontal advertising banner placed directly on the page of a specific category, by the administrator.
We needed a flexible technology partner who will be able to create and develop solutions customised to our brand, says Arkadiusz Kotula, E-commerce Manager newbalance.pl
What is more, the store is integrated with the warehousing & accounting software called Hermes thanks to which it is able to gather information on the current warehouse stock. There are plans to develop this integration further, e.g. by introducing the ability to book the goods in any New Balance outlet in Poland.

B2B eCommerce: how to reduce costs and increase profits?

eCommerce activities in B2C are very easy to identify and define: a store offers a product, the customer buys it. We can also speak of marketing, offer comparison, customer service and, eventually, the transaction. When we ask about eCommerce in B2B, the most frequent answer is the sales of the same products but in wholesale amounts and preferably on pallets. eCommerce area in B2B looks, however, different. What is more: it can change entirely the company strategy and its efficiency.

eCommerce in B2B is the abundance of opportunities

There is a multitude of studies, analyses and reports describing the sales potential of the Internet B2B channel. According to the most cautious estimates, the level of 150 billion PLN is within easy reach (unless it has already been exceeded). This is close to six times more than B2C market, but only about 5% of all B2B transactions. Observing the development of the Polish eCommerce sector, we frequently look at the U.S. The said share in that country reaches 30%. The potential is, thus, present but where is it exactly? The products most frequently bought in the Internet business to business sales include: office products, raw materials, manufacturing materials and products related to using the company assets. Also Higma Service sells such products. The case of competitive advantage building by this company through technology will be described below.

Optimising the costs of acquiring and retaining the customer

Strong competition between distributors makes it difficult to compete by means of the price, which is more and more similar for all distributors. If it is more difficult to compete by means of the price, you can offer more to the Customer for the same price. What can this added value be in B2B eCommerce transactions? It can be comprehensive control of the expenses, minimizing the likelihood of mistaken order performance and consequent reduction of error handling costs, complete automation of document flow, improved efficiency of employees’ work or the ability to report and verify sales plans in real time. If we are able to provide such a benefits’ package to the business customer, they loyalty will grow. What is more, the exit barrier will be much higher and we will reduce customer rotation, still offering the same product for the same price.

Business analysis a key to success in B2B eCommerce

All large B2B and IT projects should be started from a cross-sectional analysis. Implementing the project for Higma Service, key eCommerce challenges were identified, that is: more efficient service of customers in the entire territory of Poland, creation of a settlement mechanism for contract customers having many outlets, higher automation of the sales process, elimination of errors caused by a growing base of compatible products, improved efficiency of meeting scheduling or improved warehouse management. Each of those aspects contributes to significant improvement of the financial efficiency of the company.

Solutions adopted

Abraham Lincoln used to say that every work can be done if it is divided into small tasks. The same is true for IT solutions. In the said case, all works were divided into three major stages. The first consisted in creating new infrastructure and taking the load off the resources possessed by simplifying and automating repeatable processes; the second one was devoted to improving the entire sales process and creating new tools increasing the operating capacities of the sales department employees; the third one assumed that all the regular customers will be covered by the panel facilitating the process of sales, service and debt recovery.

Big data – collection and effective use of business data

Public institutions, mechanical and food industry, medical sector, education, administration, catering and hotel sector (HoReCa) as well as private companies have different needs and expectations. The collection and analysis of data have become an important aspect of business. According to the studies by InsightExpress, 80% of Polish IT managers believe that big data will be the grounds of their corporate strategies in the five years to come. The demand for such specialists grows by about 30% a year. Another basis for operation in eCommerce is data analysis. For such operations, a unique tool enabling to optimize business processes between the company and its vendors in everyday work.

Business results obtained

The introduction of innovative solutions changes the nature of work performed. After the said system was implemented, the time and labour intensity required for the handling and performance of orders were reduced by 50%. Human and equipment resources were liberated and they can be shifted to perform other tasks. In Harvard Business Review Poland published in January, in the article devoted to the Internet of things we could read the statement by Jeff Immelt who claims that each industrial company will be the software producer. This vision can be expanded also to services and it can be added that each company will have to invest in cost optimizing software in the years to come. The said software will open up new opportunities for optimization and the B2B eCommerce case described is a perfect example of that.

eCommerce challenges in the OmniChannel epoch

Multi-channel sales, omnichannel, online and offline synergy, omnichannel retailing, sales channel integration… I have heard multiple synonyms for the new phenomenon in the eCommerce sector. What is more, the new ones will still be created to describe the omnichannel assumptions in a more or less precise way. All of them can be reduced to the following assumption: improved sales by using various channels to reach the target customer. What should, however, be considered when preparing eCommerce to make use of the entire omnichannel potential?

Creating coherent pricing policy

Adoption of one, coherent and implemented pricing policy can ensure success to brands in the field of combining brick-and-mortar and electronic sales. Most frequently, the coherent pricing policy means identical prices in all sales channels although there are exceptions to this rule in the form of e.g. local promotions in the brick-and-mortar outlets or discounts awarded for online shopping. Such solutions should, however, stem from strategic decisions concerning the co-existence of both channels. From the customer’s perspective, what counts is the coherent marketing information. Deciding to open the omnichannel issue, we must develop both forms of sales at the same time.

Creation of advanced Brick2Click processes

Brick2Click processes are aimed at completely two-directional sales and customer service in every channel. This is to enable the customer to: buy online and return the goods offline, buy and return online (by filling in a website form) or buy offline and return the goods online. Brick2Click processes can be further expanded with the online reservation system of goods with the option to check them (e.g. try on when it comes to clothes) in a brick-and-mortar store and pay. The above-mentioned pro-consumer solutions are a challenge for the logistics, software and marketing. We must also not forget about the shop assistants in the brick-and-mortar stores. It is them who will handle part of the transactions every day.

Offering the Device2Web sales opportunity

The number of mobile devices connected to the Internet which can be used to do shopping online is growing. And it will keep growing. The most important and popular include smartphones, tablets, TVs and web kiosks. An interesting fact is that the latter devices are more and more frequent in the shopping centres which are still afraid to sell online. Omnichannel assumptions force to adjust the contents for each device both with respect to the offer presentation quality and to the optimization of technical aspects and the website loading speed. At present, all the standards in this respect focus on e-shop creation in the responsive web design. RWD offers most benefits and enables to improve mobile shopping conversion by as much as 20%. Here it should be added that Google is more and more friendly towards the responsive web design websites.

mammut

Expanding the reach of product presentation via eAve2Web solutions

The omnichannel notion entails use of other sales channels besides the own ones. To increase the number of contact points with the target customers, it is also worth using external channels, such as price comparison engines, auctioning portals, vortals etc. Integrating sales with external channels we must pay special attention to automating all processes. Otherwise, their operation will be very labour intensive.

Creating a single sales management centre from many channels

For the manufacturers and brands selling solely their own products, the site where the customer buys products is frequently of minor importance. Regardless of whether the transaction takes place in the e-shop or in the brick-and-mortar one, it will always be handled by the same system. This is why it is worth creating one place to manage the entire sales which will be adapted to the corporate strategy. In that place all processes with additional integrations must be specified.

Omnichannel is not the future – it is the present time

“Online Shopping in the Fourth Quarter and in 2014” is the report published by the Statistical Office in South Korea which should be a favourite bedtime reading of anyone connected with eCommerce. The reason is very meaningful and important. Namely, for the first time in the market research history (not only for the South Korea) we can see a higher sales value for the online than for the offline channel. It was 46.9 billion wons spent for online shopping when compared to 46.64 billion wons spent offline. eCommerce has reached another breakthrough point in its history. Ominichannel solutions which are of key importance for generating improved sales results have contributed significantly thereto.