Price Points by Omnia Retail

Here you can read more about Omnichannel Retail, Direct-to-Consumer Strategies and Retail Trends. Learn about the Implementation of Dynamic Pricing and Pricing Strategies.

Reflecting on Price Points Live: Lessons for e-commerce in 2024

It’s been a few weeks since Europe’s e-commerce and pricing event of the year, produced and hosted by Omnia Retail, took Amsterdam by storm at the modern Capital C building in early March. Our invited guests were on the...

It’s been a few weeks since Europe’s e-commerce and pricing event of the year, produced and hosted by Omnia Retail, took Amsterdam by storm at the modern Capital C building in early March. Our invited guests were on the receiving end of the knowledge and expertise of some of the e-commerce world’s greatest minds and leaders, making for a successful annual rendition of Price Points Live. On this year’s stage was Prof. Hermann Simon, the co-founder and chairman of Simon-Kucher, who was a returning speaker at Price Points Live. He is known as the world’s leading expert on pricing and growth consulting. Also on the stage was Natalie Berg, an analyst, author and podcast host; Dr Doug Mattheus, a business executive and consultant in marketing, retail and branding; Gerrie Smits, a business consultant, speaker and author, and lastly, Cor Verhoeven, Group Product Manager at Bol, specialising in pricing and assortment insights. To conclude, the warm and confident Suyin Aerts returned as our host. Whether it be transparency in pricing, marketing or e-commerce practices, our panel of speakers bring more than a century of collective knowledge and experience to the table. So, what did our guests learn and take away from each of our speakers? What can brands and retailers understand about pricing, consumer behaviour and branding? Omnia shares the insights and knowledge pertinent to e-commerce success in 2024. Natalie Berg: E-commerce author and analyst “We are living in a perpetual state of disruption, and retail is no stranger to this, but the past few years have seen unprecedented levels of volatility and uncertainty,” shared Natalie. Whether we want to call it disruption, a seismic shift or a geopolitical and socio-economic tsunami, the one mitigating force to today’s ecommerce landscape was - and still is - Covid-19. “Covid has digitised our world - the way we live, the way we shop, or the way we exercise. And when it comes to shopping, most of it is still done in a brick-and-mortar store, but the majority of these sales are digitally influenced,” shares Natalie. This has brought brands and retailers to the popular omnichannel strategy, which has become more and more common and necessary. However, Natalie predicts that retail will start moving from omnichannel to ‘unified commerce’ which is “not just about being present in those channels but centralising those operations and connecting everything in real-time,”.. We see this already taking place with the partnership that shocked the e-commerce world in 2023 when Meta and Amazon announced that Meta users can shop Amazon products without even having to exit their Instagram or Facebook apps, creating a centralised and synonymous experience for social commerce and marketplaces’ shoppers. She goes on to speak about the customer’s time and how much more precious it is going to become for e-commerce and retail leaders. “28% of Amazon purchases take place in three minutes or less,” she stated,” so if you’re not saving a customer’s time, you have to be enhancing it.” A customer’s tolerance for mediocrity or for average service or experiences is getting lower and lower, which is how the customer experience has become the new currency. “It’s about really wowing your customers. Going beyond! Disrupting the status quo.” She shares that a new phenomenon is taking place because of this refreshed focus on the customer experience: The democratisation of white-glove service. “It’s a technology that is helping brands and retailers give this level of service,”.. This includes Walmart, in the US, which will go into your home to stock your kitchen with your newly purchased groceries while other retailers will collect your returns from your house when they make delivery, allowing the customer to kill two birds with one stone. Adidas in London has installed a system called “Bring it To Me” in change rooms where, if you want an item that’s in a different colour or size, a store assistant can collect it for you without you having to leave the change room. “Tech-enabled human touch - that’s what will separate the retailer winners from the retail losers,” Natalie argues. To conclude, Natalie speaks on how the use of AI will empower both e-commerce players and customers when shopping. “In the future, we won’t know where the physical world ends and the digital one begins,” giving an eerie yet exciting conclusion. “As a brand or retailer, standing still is the most dangerous thing you can do.” Dr Doug Mattheus: Consultant and branding expert Hailing from South Africa and living in the UK is Dr Doug Mattheus whose presentation focused on the art and science of brand building. So, what makes a brand long-lasting? “It is a mix of tangible and intangible features that, if properly managed, creates influence and generates value,” says Doug. But, as we’ve seen brands rise and fall over the last few decades, what are some of the factors that have created the most valuable brands in the world, from Apple to Mercedes Benz to Walmart? Creating a brand hook The ways in which a customer can get hooked on a brand are limitless: Reflecting back to the time he received his first pair of Nike shoes in high school, the one item Doug cared about keeping just as much as the shoes themselves was the box they came in. “It wasn’t just a box - it was a Nike box.” Fast-forward to adulthood, he visited a Harrods store and witnessed customers buy empty single-use packets and bags with the Harrods logo on them. In a more recent case, the fragrance of bath bombs and body scrubs in the air at a mall or airport has become one that is synonymous with LUSH. “Just follow your nose,” says Doug. “So, what is your brand hook?” On the contrary, we see brands like The Body Shop that have struggled to keep up with digitally-native challenger brands like Drunk Elephant, Glossier and Paula’s Choice in the personal care market and is undergoing mass closures across the US and EU. Doug’s advice to brands is to create a unique hook - whether it be in the sights, smells, sounds or physical world. What’s your differentiator from competitors? A small player in the award-winning wine industry in South Africa is a vineyard called Vergenoegd Wine Estate. By a large stretch, it is not the most well-known or award-winning brand. However, this boutique vineyard did not refrain from harnessing the commercial value of organic farming. The winemakers introduced runner ducks to the vineyard, which roamed around eating worms, snails, and bugs that could be detrimental to the vines. In addition, these ducks became a tonic for families and couples with kids wanting to experience the vineyard while having something fun for children. The ducks have become a unique feature to Vergenoegd Wine Estate and a key driver of foot traffic and revenue. “This is a great example of how a small player is not being defined by its smallness and not being intimidated by bigger players.” Multiple touchpoints for customers Stemming from Natalie’s thoughts on brands having to go the extra mile to impress customers, Doug shares that there are moments of magic around us at all times, and it is up to business leaders to find and develop those moments. However, where there is ease and innovation between brands and customers (like at Nordstrom in Seattle, USA who did not want to lose their “eyeball moments” with customers from rapid digitalisation, began offering curbside pick-up so they can still have face-to-face interactions with shoppers), there are also moments of friction and time-wasting that cause frustration for customers. It’s about fine-tuning interactions and creating moments that make a brand memorable. Relevance: Do you reinvent like a butterfly or a bull? As the title suggests, brands in many verticals, but especially in fashion, personal care, sporting goods, fitness, and electronics, are faced with the rapid rise of digitally-native brands that exist to challenge the status quo. In fact, these brands, which have only known a digital world, are, in fact called “challenger brands” because of the innovative approach to design, production, supply chains, customer interactions, marketing, and everything under the e-commerce sun. According to Doug, brands who reinvent like a butterfly are those who can go with the changes and challenges in front of them with agility and resilience while those who face reinvention like a bull may be stubborn and ignorant and may face their own downfall. Cor Verhoeven: Group Product Manager at Bol. Coming from one of Europe’s largest and most successful marketplaces, Bol., Cor Verhoeven delved into pricing, specifically how Bol. tackles bad prices on the platform and what the negatives are for a marketplace or e-commerce brand. “We have 38 million items for sale, 13 million active customers, and 50,000 unique selling partners. That means almost every home in the Netherlands and Belgium has bought something from Bol.,” says Cor. With numbers like that, it’s more than possible that a marketplace would run into pricing issues. “Part of our strategy is to make Bol. an equal playing field. Our sellers must be able to make a living off what they sell on Bol. - it’s not just us that needs to do well.” So, how does a customer-centric pricing strategy fall into this? “We all work hard to make sure that the price of an item is not the reason someone doesn’t buy something on Bol.,” says Cor. “Pricing is important because it positions you in a competitive market, it establishes customer trust, and it establishes customer lifetime value. Our success is caused by growth, monetising and retaining in a loop,” explained Cor. “Our three main beliefs when it comes to pricing are High-quality deals, trustworthy and reliable prices, and competitive prices in line with the market.” The balancing act between insult pricing and best-in-market pricing is tricky and precarious, which is why Bol. judges their products on their prices. “If a product’s price is above an allowable price, we take it offline to product the customer,” Cor stated. How does Bol. decide on what is an allowable price? “We source benchmarks. If a product has a benchmark, it’s given a classification - an insult price or an allowable price - and business rules are set,” explained Cor. “When we don’t have a price benchmark, that’s when we have little control.” When Bol. doesn’t have a price benchmark for a product, they utilise their data science model to predict a price while, daily, the model is manually looking for prices to benchmark those products.” The result is a price for a product that is more aligned with the market and within the boundaries of what a customer will accept. “Of course, taking insult prices offline decreases revenue, but what we get back in return is way bigger. The seller sees increased conversion,” said Cor. Sander Roose: CEO and Founder of Omnia Retail Joining the panel was our very own CEO Sander Roose who started his keynote speech by making good on a promise. “At the last Price Points Live event, I promised that Omnia would release a new platform sometime in 2023, and the whole Omnia team is proud to have achieved that.” As a veteran in the dynamic pricing industry, with 12 years at the helm of Omnia Retail, Sander brought to the stage what he believes are the pricing elements and design principles of successful dynamic pricing. According to Sander, there are three factors to successful dynamic pricing implementations: Clearly defined objectives; securing engagement and support; and the spirit of continuous learning. “Without clear objectives, you can have a strong pricing platform, but you won’t know how to harness it,” he said. “And as the market changes, you need to be able to change your objectives.” For the second factor, pricing managers and teams need to be fully on board: “If they don’t understand how prices are calculated, they will reject the implementation as a whole.” Then, the third factor speaks to a dynamic pricing user's ability to be agile and curious: “We see that customers that used the system most intensively to make iterations with their prices get the best results.” As a result, Omnia found that two key design principles for dynamic pricing success are necessary: flexibility and transparency. “Being able to automate any pricing strategy you can think of, to facilitate all the objectives, to keep control while the system is on autopilot, and finally, making sure the users are adopting the system.” Flexibility and Transparency A pricing platform needs to be able to support a vast array of pricing objectives and strategies. “A platform needs to be able to endure various high-level objectives. Perhaps on a global level, you have a profit maximisation objective while the strategy on lower levels, such as on a per country basis, may be different,” explained Sander. “For example, if your global brand has just launched in the Netherlands, you may want to maximise market share. Then, even further down, depending on your various verticals, you may want a stock-based strategy.” Flexibility must also be present not just in pricing strategies but in data collection and the recalculation process. Using the example of a Tesla self-driving car with a blacked-out windscreen, Sander makes the point that customers of dynamic pricing still need to be able to see and understand what’s going on - even if the system is on autopilot: “If you create transparency while the system is on autopilot, you can create buy-in from internal stakeholders and facilitate learning loops.” How flexibility and transparency exist in Omnia 2.0 The culmination of these two values resulted in the Pricing Strategy Tree, developed specifically for Omnia 2.0, making strategy building and interpretation easier and faster. “The copy-and-paste feature means a large D2C brand that wants to launch in a new country can simply execute their entire pricing strategy with just a few clicks by copying the strategy in the tree from another country. This is huge for an international customer to be able to do this.” Another feature called Path Tracking allows you to visually see how your strategy came to be, step by step. “This feature helps to validate if you set up the tree how you intended to,” explained Sander. Another feature that elevates transparency is Strategy Branch Statistics which works to answer burning questions from pricing managers: ‘Which part of my strategy is most impactful? The Strategy Branch Statistics feature works to show you which business rules are doing the work to give your prices.’ An additional feature highlighting transparency is the ability to name branches within the tree. The names not only help coworkers understand what you’ve built, but they differentiate the various strategies that are at play at the same time. Strategy Branch Statistics feature works to show you which business rules are doing the work to give your prices.’ An additional feature highlighting transparency is the ability to name branches within the tree. The names not only help coworkers understand what you’ve built, but they differentiate the various strategies that are at play at the same time. AI in pricing “From private label matching, creating automated weekly reports to send to category managers, to automated insights, AI is a powerful technology that has the potential to contribute to the superpowers we offer customers,” says Sander. However, as of today, Sander believes that AI is one part of the machine and should not be considered the holy grail of price setting. “The true need is goal-based pricing,” Sander says.”AI is a means and not an end.” Sander's vision for AI in Omnia’s pricing platform sees a move from granular pricing strategies that affect the business’s objectives to a scenario where the customer sets the objective, and the Omnia platform automates and optimises prices. “We want to move more and more towards goal-based pricing in our platform. We believe the end game for price automation will be rules and AI, not just AI, and the Pricing Strategy Tree allows for a rules and AI combination.” Prof. Hermann Simon: Founder of Simon-Kucher, author As a world-renowned expert in pricing and consulting, Prof. Hermann Simon joins the panel to share what he thinks are the hidden champions in e-commerce and retail and what their successful strategies are. Specifically, the small and midsized global market leaders with a market share of above 50% and that are little known to the public. “In China, which is by the largest global exporter, 68% of the exports come from small and midsized companies, and behind this number are the hidden champions,” says Hermann. “Inside super export performance requires large companies plus a very strong mid sector. Hidden champions, not large corporations, determine whether a country really excels in global competition. Hidden champions are an untapped treasure to learn about business success.” Focus and Globalisation What characterises these companies? “The three pillars of the hidden champion’s strategy are ambition, focus, and globalisation fueled with the tools of innovation, value and price,” shares Hermann. Focusing on your product makes your market small. How does hidden champions enlarge their market? An example of successful globalisation is Karcher, the global leader in high-pressure water hoses, which began internationalisation in the 1970s slowly and then accelerated in the 90s to become the global market share leader at 70%. Other examples include Deichmann, the largest shoe retailer in Europe, which sits in 31 countries across Europe, Africa, the Middle East and the US. “The lesson here is that if you have a good product, multiply it by regional expansion,” says Hermann. Value and Price For successful companies, value comes from innovation and a closeness to the customer. But what drives innovation? The answer is different for hidden champions and the average company. Below is a pie chart where we can see how little an average company prioritises customer needs: What is the most important aspect of pricing? “It’s customer-perceived value. The willingness to pay is a mirror of perceived value, and therefore, value equals price,” explains Hermann. “Understanding, creating and communicating values are the key challenges in pricing.” Using the example of the iPhone, the cost has always been above the market average for a smartphone, yet the success of the product indicates it must obviously bring value to the customer. “Value drives price,” concludes Hermann. According to internal studies at Simon Kucher, only one-third of companies can say they have real pricing power. So, two-thirds are exposed to the sensitivities of the customer. “The result is that value-to-customer and pricing power is created by differentiating your product, changing the way customers perceive your products and your price, and changing the mindset and confidence of your own people in your company,” says Hermann. Closeness to customer “88% of hidden champions say that closeness to the customer is their biggest strength, even more than technology,” says Hermann. Simon-Kucher found that 38% of employees at hidden champion companies had regular contact with customers, while large corporations only had 8%. In retail, it is difficult to understand value perception because there are many competitors selling the same thing. This makes retail’s soft parameters, such as the store layout, service and friendliness, more helpful in understanding value perception. The challenge then becomes how do enterprises effectively communicate their value offering. “Hidden champions are true value leaders with their intense closeness to customers. They achieve a more profound understanding of a customer's needs; their continuous innovations create higher value, and they integrate customer needs and technology much better than the average company.” Gerrie Smits: Speaker and author Gerrie believes we’re getting customer-centricity all wrong. From his 25-plus years of experience in helping companies prioritise customers as well as how to deal with the changing digital world, he has found a common thread of issues: “Technology is getting in the way, companies are seeing customers as a target, and teams are siloing their responsibilities and not wanting to take on other responsibilities,” says Gerrie. “Companies are getting tech just for the sake of it, not because there is any use for it. If you’re going to invest in tech, make sure you have a competitive edge.” According to US business leaders, the number one skill a company needs to have to succeed in the digital world is empathy. “Technology is fantastic if you know what to do with it. My clients are driven by technology, and that’s not customer-centric.” When it comes to companies seeing customers as a target. “I’ve never met a company that doesn’t say they’re customer-centric - obviously,” says Gerrie. But there is a large difference between intent and action. “For example, Amazon has always said they are obsessed with understanding the customer. Yet still, they got it wrong when, in 2022, they reportedly lost $10 billion from dismal sales for their voice-activated Echo. “What brands need to understand is that there is only a small part of me that is your customer. The rest is me as a human being,” says Gerrie. “Seeing your audience as buyers, you are not fulfilling the whole potential.” Concluding Price Points Live 2024 In closing, our panel speakers joined Suyin on stage to answer a round of interesting questions and to share their final thoughts. “To drive loyalty, one must understand what your customers value,” said Natalie, while Doug shared that although pricing is vital to brand loyalty, it is not the only factor. Answering a question about how smaller players in e-commerce can grow and succeed against large enterprises, Natalie says, “It’s like Prof. Hermann said: It’s about focus. You have to know what your strengths are, and then you have to execute really well.” The world of e-commerce is set to make $6.3 billion in global sales in 2024, which is expected to increase to $8 billion in 2027. However, what’s more interesting is the amount of e-commerce users which is set to increase to 3.2 billion by 2029 - a third of the current world population. More shoppers don’t necessarily mean more revenue and sales, so it is safe to say that brands and retailers need to focus their efforts on pricing, innovation, unique marketing and frictionless experiences if they want a segment of the ever-growing pool of e-commerce users. With these insights and go-to strategies for elevating the success of brands and enterprises, Omnia is excited to see what the e-commerce landscape will be for our customers and other growing e-commerce companies. We’d like to thank all of our speakers - Natalie Berg, Dr Doug Mattheus, Prof. Hermann Simon, Gerrie Smit, Cor Verhoeven and our own Sander Roose - and our host, Suyin Aerts, for their knowledge and time spent at Price Points Live 2024. Watch keynote presentations here.

Transparency in e-commerce: Leading the conversation at Price Points Live 2024

Europe’s e-commerce and pricing event of the year is returning in 2024, as Omnia Retail gears up for another exciting edition of Price Points Live. As leaders in e-commerce pricing across Europe, Omnia Retail is...

Europe’s e-commerce and pricing event of the year is returning in 2024, as Omnia Retail gears up for another exciting edition of Price Points Live. As leaders in e-commerce pricing across Europe, Omnia Retail is perfectly positioned to bring together experts and leaders in retail, pricing, marketing and branding to share insights and knowledge. Taking place at the modern Capital C building in Amsterdam on 7 March 2024, the building’s majestic glass dome ceiling sets the tone fittingly for this year’s main topic: Transparency. Whether it be transparency in pricing, marketing or e-commerce practices, our panel of speakers bring more than a century of collective knowledge and experience to the table. Joining us is Prof. Hermann Simon, the co-founder and chairman of Simon-Kucher who is returning to Price Points Live for a second visit. Known as the world’s leading expert on pricing and growth consulting, Prof. Simon is an award-winning author. Also on this year’s stage is Natalie Berg - an analyst, author and podcast host - who will add value to the conversation on all things global retail. Dr Doug Mattheus, a business executive and consultant, will be bringing his 35-years of knowledge and experience in marketing, retail and branding. Lastly, Cor Verhoeven is a Group Product Manager at one of Europe's largest marketplaces, Bol.com, specialising in pricing and assortment insights. He’ll be bringing his entrepreneurial spirit and his 10-plus years of e-commerce, product management and marketplace experience to Price Points Live. Our speakers will be brought together by the charming Suyin Aerts, who is also a returning panel member. Challenges in today’s world of e-commerce What are brands and enterprises facing in e-commerce in 2024? From branding to pricing to consumer behaviour, the e-commerce arena has experienced more phases and changes in the last four years that it did in the previous decade. Let’s discuss some of the industry’s key trends and issues as of today. Growing competition and price-war strategies As e-commerce grows and oversaturates each vertical, consumers have more choice and power. This is not necessarily a bad thing, however, it does mean that brands and retailers start employing more competitive pricing strategies that ultimately lead to price wars between competitors and a race to the bottom. This undercuts the value of products and only results in losses for each business involved. This has been evident with smartphone brands like Samsung and Huawei who competitively lower the prices of their smartphones to achieve higher market share. It’s also common between wholesale retailers like CostCo and IKEA or large online marketplaces like Amazon that employ tactics to get their vendors to sell their products lower than on any other marketplace. Increased customer expectations For decades, the relationship between retailers and consumers had been dominated by the former. Customers had only a few options for where they trusted to purchase their groceries, shoes, school supplies, winter essentials and everything in between. Today, that relationship has been flipped on its head as consumers enjoy the pick of the litter in just about every retail vertical. As this trend has developed, consumers have come to expect faster shipping, better prices, higher quality, and more benefits for their loyalty. This will naturally affect a brand or retailer’s pricing strategies as they try to maintain customer retention and even attract new customers with promotions, benefits from loyalty programs and clubs, and bundles that appeal to shoppers. Changing customer loyalty What makes a customer loyal to a brand? At what point does a customer’s loyalty erode? And, what are the factors that could cause this to happen? For most customers, it’s a balancing act between quality and cost. However, in 2024, brands and enterprises must face other factors that could affect customer loyalty: Sustainability efforts. A 2023 McKinsey and NielsenIQ study found that products with ESG claims (environmental, social or governance) accounted for 56% of the total sales growth during the five-year period of the study, from 2017 - mid-2022, showing, for the first time, that brands with some kind of sustainability mention are growing faster than those without. This is all due to changing customer loyalty and the very parameters that shape and shift that loyalty. Social changes may be another factor. For example, in the sporting goods vertical, participation in social sports like pickleball and paddle tennis have increased by 159% while lacrosse, skiing and track declined by 11%, 14% and 11% respectively. Stubborn inflation The issue that has plagued global e-commerce since 2021 is still having its ripple effects on the industry in 2024. In the first quarter of 2024, the EU has already cut GDP growth expectations for the year from 1.3% to 0.9% as interest rates remain high while consumers still grapple with a 40% increase in gas and food prices that peaked in 2023. With this reality, pricing has never been more important nor more sensitive to the consumer. McKinsey’s latest ConsumerWatch report shows that shoppers were buying less items at the end of 2023 compared to the previous year’s period, with personal care dropping 3%, household items dropping 3% and pet care dropping 5% which results in AOV (average order value) loss. The importance of transparency in pricing software The use of dynamic pricing in e-commerce has grown exponentially in the last decade, however, that does not mean every software provider offers the best-in-class platform. Not every pricing tool is made equally. Transparency is something that has not been prioritised as a core tenet of pricing software, which has often allowed for a murky relationship between a brand or enterprise and their own pricing strategies. For a user of pricing software to experience the full potential of a pricing tool, they need to be able to build, test and edit each pricing strategy with clarity and ease. They need to be able to understand how and why a pricing recommendation has been made. They should be physically able to see every pricing strategy simultaneously at play without convolution or confusing coding jargon. While this may seem obvious, some pricing platforms have found that withholding pricing knowledge from a customer is the way to go. How is Omnia enhancing transparency? When Omnia set out to build its new pricing tool, named Omnia 2.0, its main goal was to create a next-generation platform that would enhance a user’s flexibility, user experience and transparency. Why was this necessary? The reason is two-fold: Pricing for SMBs and enterprises can be overwhelming, time-consuming and confusing. For enterprises, as assortments become larger and competitors thicken the competition, pricing may become more complicated. “As the ability to run detailed and complex pricing strategies has become mainstream, it has snowballed into the next level of challenges: Complexity overload,” says Omnia’s CEO Sander Roose. By developing our one-of-a-kind Pricing Strategy Tree™ coupled with information dashboards that give a God-like view of the market and every strategy you have at play, pricing becomes what it should always be: Transparent, flexible and simple. “Omnia 2.0 successfully cuts through the clutter,” says Sander. Another development that enhances transparency for users of Omnia 2.0 is the “Explain Price Recommendation” feature which provides a full explanation of how the price advice of a particular product came to be. This not only enables full control over how and why prices may change but it increases the customer’s pricing maturity. “The ‘Price Explanation’ visually tracks the path through the Tree to show the logic and how the price advice came about,” explains Sander. Join us at Price Points Live 2024 “Although at Omnia we believe it’s still day one in terms of building the ultimate pricing platform we are building towards in the long-term, we are very proud of how the Omnia 2.0 next-generation pricing platform gives our users of and customers ever growing superpowers,” says Sander. Join our exclusive annual event by reserving your seats on our Events page or simply email your dedicated Customer Success Manager who will assist you. We’ll be seeing you in Amsterdam!

Unleashing Superpowers in Pricing: How Omnia's Visual Decision Tree Approach Revolutionises Dynamic Pricing

Omnia Retail’s origin and purpose In 2012, my co-founder and I had conversations with category managers from established online retailers in mature e-commerce categories, such as consumer electronics, and learned that...

Omnia Retail’s origin and purpose In 2012, my co-founder and I had conversations with category managers from established online retailers in mature e-commerce categories, such as consumer electronics, and learned that they were spending a lot of time each week manually looking up prices of their competitors on comparison shopping engines and were still running behind with repricing the products in their assortment. Propelled by e-commerce, product ranges were increasing in scope, and the heightened transparency of online pricing resulted in frequent price fluctuations. It became increasingly laborious and time-intensive to maintain competitive pricing as it required manual gathering of pricing data, calculation of optimal price points, and implementation of adjustments. This challenge led us to founding Omnia Retail. Over the years, we saw that as other retail categories matured online, they struggled with the same problem. Similarly, over the last few years, brands have become more serious about their direct-to-consumer (D2C) channels. Brands selling a product against the initial Recommended Selling Price (RSP) for the whole product life cycle leads to insult pricing and the need to change their prices, yet again, to align with the market. As a result, we now see that brands are starting to struggle with the same problem that retailers experienced over a decade ago. Simply being passionate about the challenge and using our prior retail and e-commerce knowledge, we applied our engineering expertise to solve this problem for retailers and brands. It was only later - when our company had grown to a size where everyone couldn’t fit on the same lunch table anymore - that we started reflecting on why we were so invested about solving this challenge. This very reflection led us to establishing Omnia’s purpose explicitly: “We give retailers, brands and their teams superpowers by unleashing the full potential of pricing through market data, insights and automation.” The most central concept here is the word “superpowers”. On a basic level, it refers to automating the tedious and time-intensive tasks that thousands of our users at retailers and brands had to manually do before: looking up prices of competitors, making calculations, and implementing changes. This already removes a lot of tedious work and frees up time to focus on more strategic and creative work. However, that is only one of the basic layers of “superpowers”. Another more exciting element is that we enable our users to do things that were never possible before, even if they would have all the time in the world to spend on pricing. In terms of insights, an example is providing dashboards that provide our users with a “God-view” of the market: fully understanding their own price positioning and understanding what their key competitors (or resellers) are doing. Regarding pricing automation, it’s about having nuanced and advanced strategies, understanding how they are set, impacting results in terms of price positioning and ultimately sales, and contribution margins. Elements of success for dynamic pricing software implementations Through the more than a decade of serving retailers and brands with pricing software, we have seen that certain elements lead to success and ensure the best returns on dynamic pricing implementations: Clearly defined pricing objectives: Begin by setting clear pricing objectives, emphasising the importance of starting with a clear end-goal in mind. Without clearly defined objectives one can have the greatest pricing platform in the world, but there is no guidance on how to use it, and how to measure success. It's essential to recognise that pricing objectives may vary across different parts and levels of the business and are likely to change in response to external factors. Therefore, the pricing platform must accommodate for these varying objectives to remain effective. Securing engagement and support: Securing the engagement and support of team members with direct involvement in pricing is crucial whether it’s as their core responsibility, such as dedicated pricing managers, or as part of their wider role like category managers and buyers. If these individuals struggle to implement the pricing strategies they aim for in the system, or if they cannot explain the prices suggested by the system, they may resist adopting the dynamic pricing software or, at the very least, lack the motivation to leverage the platform's potential fully. Continuous improvement: Rapid cycles of learning and enhancement drive ongoing improvement. This process is supported by ensuring all operations occur in the software's front-end. Any hardcoded rules established by a pricing software vendor in the back-end will hinder such a learning cycle. Moreover, maintaining transparency about the operational logic and performance metrics is essential. From these elements of success we have learned at Omnia, we derived two essential design principles for developing our price management platform: flexibility and transparency. Flexibility to remove barriers to adoption, improving results and ensuring control. Transparency to keep control while on auto-pilot, create buy-in from internal stakeholders and facilitate learning loops. As the ability to run detailed and complex pricing strategies has become mainstream, it has created the next level of challenges: complexity overload. Omnia 2.0 successfully cuts through the clutter with its revolutionary visual pricing logic with the Pricing Strategy Tree™. It gives complete pricing flexibility and control, coupled with transparency. The power of flexibility: Removing barriers to adoption, improving results and ensuring control Flexibility is a core principle in our design philosophy, enabling our clients' users to execute any desired pricing strategy across all parts of their business. We have seen a vast array of pricing strategies being used and broadly speaking, they are driven by differences in objectives at the highest level, the need to differentiate on objectives on lower levels, and differences in definitions. On the highest level, the main differentiation we see is between maximising revenues - with the constraint that a minimum contribution margin needs to be reached - and maximising contribution margin. Traditionally, we saw pure e-commerce players being primarily focused on the former, while more traditional omnichannel retailers were more focused on the latter. With the changing economy and higher interest rates, the importance of being profitable in the present, we now see pure e-commerce players also shifting more towards margin maximisation strategies. While on the highest level, a retailer or brand might have a margin maximisation strategy, virtually, they will always need to differentiate on the lower level as well. Take for example a racket sports retailer. Although overall profit maximisation might be the main objective, the retailer might be focused on penetration (maximisation of sales, given a minimum margin constraint) in a market where they recently launched, as well as that being the main objective to establish itself in a nascent category like padel rackets. Finally, we have learned that retailers and brands have differences of definitions and that their chosen software should support that, rather than enforcing a rigid rule or definition. Take the example of a stock-based strategy, where a company wants to automatically become more aggressive when stock coverage becomes too high or take the opportunity to steer toward margin when stock coverage becomes too low. The definitions of what’s too high and too low differ not only between companies, verticals and markets but also within a company and on different parts of its assortment. It’s crucial for pricing software to be able to provide that flexibility and give the power to the user, not only to ensure that the retailer or brand can reach its objectives but also to ensure that there are no barriers in the adoption of the pricing software. If business users - like category managers - are not able to implement the strategies, they will be inclined to resist the implementation, putting the dynamic pricing implementation project at risk. Pricing software must be able to support flexibility, but it’s even more crucial that everything is fully supported in the front-end of the user-interface (“the portal”). If there are rules or constraints hardcoded within the back-end, a common practice of some pricing software vendors in today's market, it leads to a lack of transparency and limits the pace of learning (testing with strategies). At Omnia, we’re proud to have this flexibility in our software, with not one line of customer-specific code while serving hundreds of retailers and brands since 2012. The examples previously mentioned demonstrate how the principle of flexibility is integrated into the pricing automation part of the Omnia platform. However, our commitment to flexibility extends throughout the entire platform. For instance, we don't confine our customers to predetermined calculation schedules. Instead, they have full autonomy to set the timing for pricing data collection and dynamic pricing calculations. Additionally, they have the capability to initiate calculation runs manually at any moment from the front-end, such as when assessing the impact of strategy modifications. These calculations are efficiently completed within minutes, even for extensive product assortments. Transparency to keep control while on auto-pilot, create buy-in from internal stakeholders and facilitate learning loops Automation has the potential to save time and improve results. However, when implemented poorly, automation may lead to a lack of control. From the early years, this has been our belief, and preventing our dynamic pricing software from becoming a black-box has been a core design principle. Even in our earlier years, the Omnia software had a “Show me why™” button that took the user by the hand in terms of how the software arrived at a particular price advice. Transparency in pricing software ensures control while being on auto-pilot. An element of this transparency is how your strategies will affect the prices for all products such as the number of products that received “price advice”: prices up, down, equal, price difference vs various benchmarks, and so on. One level deeper is the need for dynamic pricing users to understand the impact of every element of their pricing strategy. For example, one could have a very elaborate pricing strategy, but if anywhere in the strategy there would be a pricing rule “always adjust to the lowest price in the market”, there would be a high chance that the rule will set the prices for the majority of your assortment, and most likely down. Understanding how elements of your strategy impact the eventual prices set links to another significant benefit of transparency: improving results by enabling learning loops. When implementing dynamic pricing you can achieve surprisingly strong results by implementing a pricing strategy once, and then never touching the system again. However, we see that customers who use our software more continuously and are evaluating and testing new approaches achieve the best results. This is only achievable with a pricing tool that creates maximum transparency, facilitating those learning loops. The Pricing Strategy Tree™ as embodiment of flexibility and transparency Our previous pricing platform, Omnia 1.0, was very flexible. However, our most advanced enterprise customers using complex pricing strategies could end up with a long list of pricing strategies. Although relatively easy to build up incrementally, this could make it hard to grasp the strategies running and the logic behind them. In numerous instances, consultants specializing in pricing strategy assisted our customers by creating decision trees to map out and advise on their clients' strategies. This inspired us to use a decision tree as the main interface when building pricing strategies. Although we already had the idea of a Pricing Strategy Tree on our roadmap, acquiring German pricing strategy company Patagona GmbH at the end of 2021 gave us an unfair advantage. Patagona had developed a Pricing Decision Tree to build strategies in their Pricemonitor product. We evaluated this concept with our customers and based on their invaluable feedback, we developed the Pricing Strategy Tree as one of the core elements of our next-generation platform, Omnia 2.0. The new platform was launched in the Summer of 2023, with new product features being added monthly. Not only does the Pricing Strategy Tree lead to more transparency in terms of letting our users understand what’s running, we see that in practice it also makes it easier and simpler to create strategies. That is because it’s a visual drag-and-drop interface, but also because we embedded functionality; such as copy-and-pasting of selected branches within the tree (typically set-up for one market or format) and copy-and-pasting of entire trees across countries or formats. The latter is particularly relevant for our global customers to be able to roll out pricing strategies to additional markets with just a few clicks. To drive transparency even further, the Pricing Strategy Tree proved the ideal canvas for additional functionality: path tracking through the strategy tree, strategy branch statistics of the tree, and naming of tree branches. The path tracking is an evolution of the “Show Me Why™” in Omnia 1.0 called “Explain Price Recommendation” in the Omnia 2.0 platform and provides a full explanation of how the price advice of a particular product came about. This is a typical question for a business user as a category manager or buyer. The “Price Explanation” visually tracks the path through the tree to show the logic and how the price advice came about. “Strategy Branch Statistics” covers another use case, one that was never possible in our previous Omna 1.0 platform: It highlights how elements of the overall pricing strategy impact the eventual prices set. It does this by showing how many products are repriced by each branch in the tree, the average price difference and percentage difference of the price advice vs current price points, as well as the number of products priced up and down. One important benefit of this is that it gives our users insight into which branches are most dominant in setting the eventual prices. Remember the example of having an elaborate pricing strategy with a rule somewhere to “always adjust to the lowest price in the market” in the transparency section above. However, the value of Strategy Branch Statistics goes beyond that. It also provides users insights into the performance of a particular strategy branch, thereby facilitating the important learning loops discussed above. Another functionality we have added to the Pricing Strategy Tree™ canvas is the naming of branches of the tree. Although the tree already makes it easy to show the logic applied, the naming of branches makes it even more practical for users and co-workers to understand what happens in a particular branch by describing it in natural language, for example “Follow the lowest price point of key competitors when stock coverage is too high”. The naming of tree branches also lays the foundation for the steps we plan to take providing more insights in the performance or effectiveness of branches. “We have seen several pricing tools, but the pricing strategy tree plus “show me why” is a super unique selling point and best implementation of dynamic pricing we have seen so far.” International enterprise office supplies retailer. AI is a means, not an end: A case for blending rules, AI, and goal-based pricing We believe that AI as a powerful technology can greatly contribute to the “superpowers” in our purpose. Think about automated import mapping, creating reports based on natural language, surfacing conclusions from data and charts, and so forth. We are also convinced that AI will provide more and more value in the future core area of price setting. However, given the importance of transparency and flexibility, we firmly believe that the future of pricing setting won’t be AI only - on 100% of the products in 100% of the cases - but rather a combination of pricing rules and AI. In terms of intelligence in price setting, AI is a means not an end itself. The core need that we see at the retailers and brands across our customer base is more focused on moving away from setting granular business rules - with the aim of reaching specific objectives - to rather focus on setting the objectives themselves at a higher level and letting our Omnia pricing platform optimise for that. As a company focused on and committed to delivering value to our customers, we naturally plan for this need with more and more goal-based “nodes” (blocks) in the Omnia Pricing Strategy Tree™. Goal-based nodes can have a combination of complex AI running under the hood, for other goal-based nodes less complex statistical rules, depending on the need. The first example of such a goal-based node with AI under the hood is our Amazon Buy Box AI block whereby our user sets the Amazon Buy Box win probability certainty and the AI - based on large amounts of historical data - tries to land exactly at the right price point to reach maximum margin while keeping the win probability as a constraint. This is very different from the previous approach in our software and, to our knowledge, the current state of Buy Box optimisers in most channel management software which has usually been going step-by-step down until you win the Buy Box and then up again to increase margin. That approach is simply too slow and there are too many variables with influence that have changed in the meantime. Although we envision that larger and larger parts of the assortment will be priced by such goal-based nodes in the future, we believe they will always be combined with business rules on part of the assortment (again, it will be rules and AI). For example, our users may want to apply hard constraints (such as upper and lower boundaries) which can differ on different parts of the assortment. For promotions, retailers and brands will want to set hard price points during a certain time frame. Those are just some examples of why the goal-based nodes need to be combined with business rules. The crucial thing is that the principles of flexibility and transparency continue to be crucial when combining rules and AI. You need one single interface where rules and AI can be seamlessly combined, applied by business users, and it remains transparent how and why prices were set. Again, the Pricing Strategy Tree is the ideal concept that automatically ensures this. While this may seem to be a trivial design prerequisite, we see that other pricing software vendors that have begun making first steps with AI in their platforms often are violating this principle. There are vendors that offer “AI-only” with no capability to combine it with rules. We have seen vendors with a separate “AI-version” of their product, next to the old rule-based version of their product to let customers choose one of the products. Then, finally, there are vendors that perhaps are actually more of a team of pricing consultants, as they have to hardcode rules in the back-end, as well as requiring a lot of manual intervention from the team of the vendor for the algorithms to at least provide decent results. The latter case also leads to very long implementation times and learning loops that are too slow, as we learned when taking over customers of these vendors. “With that pricing tree, the flexibility is almost endless.” Pricing Team Manager of the largest beauty pure e-commerce player in Europe. Unleashing superpowers with Omnia 2.0 At Omnia, we believe we are still in the early stages of developing the ultimate pricing platform we aim for in the long term. Yet, we're immensely proud of how the Omnia 2.0 platform is already giving our customers superpowers by enhancing their capabilities more and more. We have made huge leaps in terms of dashboarding, and are constantly evolving those dashboards on a weekly basis thanks to the great feedback from our customers, and the way we have decoupled the visualisation layer from the data layer, enabling us to make fast interactions with little development time. We are clearly on the path of having that “God-view” of the market from the introduction above. Perhaps an even bigger leap has been the core topic of this article: the introduction of the Pricing Strategy Tree in Omnia 2.0, which combines ultimate flexibility and transparency, and we believe is the ideal concept to combine business rules with (partially AI-driven) goal-based pricing. We couldn’t be more proud of the feedback we have received from our customers, and the market as a whole, since the launch of Omnia 2.0 in the Summer of 2023. And we are very excited about further growing the superpower of our users by adding more intelligence to the Pricing Strategy Tree and the entire Omnia 2.0 pricing platform.

How to use markdowns to manage stock throughout the Product Life Cycle

Any e-commerce seller knows how tricky markdowns can be. You don’t want to markdown stock too early when it could be selling at a higher price, but you also don’t want to markdown too late and end up with old stock you...

Any e-commerce seller knows how tricky markdowns can be. You don’t want to markdown stock too early when it could be selling at a higher price, but you also don’t want to markdown too late and end up with old stock you can’t sell. There’s no one-size-fits-all solution for this challenge, but aligning markdowns with your life cycle strategy is a great way to maximise sales and minimise leftover inventory, all without sacrificing margin. Here’s Omnia’s recommendation for how to do it. An overview of life cycle strategy The Product Life Cycle (PLC) refers to the stages that a product typically goes through, from its initial introduction to the consumer market to its eventual decline. These stages help e-commerce businesses understand how to manage a product's marketing, pricing and inventory strategies over this cycle. The PLC is usually broken down into four stages: 1) Introduction Characteristics: This stage begins when a new product is introduced to the market. Marketing Focus: The primary focus is on creating awareness and generating initial interest in the product. Marketing efforts may include online advertising, social media campaigns and influencer marketing. Pricing: Prices are often set competitively to attract early adopters and build a customer base. Inventory: Inventory levels are usually low to test the market's response and prevent overstocking. 2) Growth Characteristics: In this stage, the product gains popularity, and sales begin to increase rapidly. Marketing Focus: The emphasis shifts to expanding market share and customer acquisition. Marketing efforts may involve scaling advertising campaigns and targeting a broader audience. Pricing: Prices may remain stable or even increase if demand is strong. Inventory: Inventory levels may need to be increased to meet growing demand, but careful management is essential to avoid overstocking. 3) Maturity Characteristics: Sales growth stabilises, and the product reaches a saturation point in the market. Marketing Focus: Marketing efforts aim to maintain market share, differentiate the product from competitors and retain loyal customers; for example, product updates, loyalty programs and customer engagement. Pricing: Prices may become more competitive as the market matures and more alternatives become available. Inventory: Inventory management becomes critical to prevent overstocking. 4) Decline Characteristics: Sales start to decline, often due to market saturation, changing customer preferences or the introduction of newer products. Marketing Focus: The focus shifts to clearing out inventory, possibly through stock markdowns, promotions or bundle deals. Discontinued products may be phased out. Pricing: Prices are typically reduced to encourage remaining inventory to sell. Inventory: Careful inventory management is essential to avoid excessive carrying costs for unsold products. It's important to note that not all products follow this linear path through the entire product life cycle. Some products may skip certain stages, experience shorter or longer cycles or even go through cycles repeatedly due to updates and rebranding. Think of a product like Coca-Cola, which has been around since 1886. The product has gone through many iterations and experienced a close call with the decline stage and product death when the company rebranded and changed the formula to “New Coke” in 1985 – this only lasted 110 days before reverting to the original formula. As professor Hermann Simon points out: '' And the real art of pricing is not so much in determining whether a price is high or low but to differentiate pricing across customers across value across space and time. That will be a big challenge for software and for everybody involved in this area.'' Effective product life cycle management involves continuously monitoring market dynamics, being agile in responding to changing customer needs and competitive pressures and adjusting strategies accordingly – for instance, by aligning markdown strategy with where a product is in the PLC. Folding stock markdowns into the PLC Markdown: A reduction in the original selling price of a product to stimulate sales, optimise inventory levels, attract customers or respond to competitive pressures. Markdowns typically involve lowering prices temporarily, either through percentage discounts, fixed amount reductions, or promotional offers. Markup: An increase in the price of a product above its cost in order to cover the cost of goods sold (COGS), expenses, overhead and to generate higher profit. This is typically expressed as a percentage or a fixed amount. Many retailers and brands think of markdowns as a loss centre that can’t be avoided. But while poor planning and product failures can certainly force markdowns, they can also be planned for in advance and used in combination with PLC strategy to manage assortment levels through their lifetime. The goal of this strategy has two parts: To ensure the site does not sell out of specific products too early and to avoid being left with a lot of overstock. This strategy is relevant for all e-commerce sellers who hold inventory, but it’s especially important for D2C customers. What do PLC markdowns look like in practice? Here’s a hypothetical scenario to illustrate this idea. The Fashion Store has a sweater for the spring collection, which they will stop selling in August. There are a few ways they can combine markdowns with the PLC strategy here: Tag the product based on its life cycle stage (introduction, growth, maturity, decline or simply new, regular, old) and markdown based on this tag Connect the age of the item in days to the life cycle stage and markdown based on this age Use the stock level as an additional variable next to PLC in a markdown strategy Add Sell Through Rate as a variable to steer price increases Add average margin calculations to steer price decreases; for example, when pricing competitively Let’s say The Fashion Store defines its markdown strategies based on the life cycle stage. When the product is new and has a lot of stock left, they can keep the following position 3 in the market. If it is new and low on stock, they can continue pricing at the recommended retail price (RRP), as it’s better to price less competitively to achieve more margin and avoid selling out. As the product hits the next life cycles, The Fashion Store can slowly decrease the price based on current stock levels of the sweater. In the last stage (decline), a competitive price (match, undercut or follow cheapest market price) should be set – particularly if the product still has high stock at the end of its life cycle. Using additional variables in the strategy like margin calculations, Sell Through Rate and stock gives them the ability to dynamically switch between higher and lower prices, between highly competitive and minor discounted prices. Results: This strategy helps The Fashion Store avoid having high stock leftover by the end of the product’s lifetime. Because of this, they also can avoid a situation where they must significantly decrease the price all at once, by perhaps 50 – 70%, and instead have marginal, healthier decreases over time. Strategic markdowns can actually increase profitability Research from US retail think tank Coresight and inventory optimisation firm Celect found that retailers were missing out on significant revenues – 12% of total sales – due to markdowns. The “senior retail decision makers” who were surveyed blamed more than half (53%) of those unplanned markdowns on “inventory misjudgments.” But when sellers have proper inventory management and plan ahead to use markdowns as part of the PLC, it positively impacts sales and profitability. Let’s go back to The Fashion Store example and consider hypothetical prices: If the sweater we discussed has a cost of goods sold (COGS) of €25 and a retail price of €50, and the company has ten of them, then they would need to sell at least five at full price to break even. However, if The Fashion Store was able to choose the right level of markdown and sell all ten at the lower price, then they would achieve three objectives: Reach break even point Increase profits with each item sold Avoid unsold stock In this example, the right markdown price would be €40, as this would lead to a profit of €110. How to implement markdowns using Omnia This example is just one of the countless ways markdowns can be used to optimise stock at each stage of the PLC. But it doesn’t stop there – along with stock levels, a number of other data points can be used in Omnia to determine pricing throughout a product’s life cycle: Below are some use case examples of how Omnia customers have combined the PLC with metrics like time since launch, stock levels, seasonality and promotional dates to set pricing rules. To learn more about how you can incorporate markdowns as a part of your pricing strategy, click here.

Omnichannel dynamic pricing: Competition, comparison and consumer behaviour

Think back to the last expensive product you purchased. Maybe it was a wearable like the newest Apple Watch, a pair of running shoes, or a new TV. How did you go about making your purchase? Did you just buy the item in...

Think back to the last expensive product you purchased. Maybe it was a wearable like the newest Apple Watch, a pair of running shoes, or a new TV. How did you go about making your purchase? Did you just buy the item in one click? Did you see it in-store and immediately hand over your debit card? Or did you first research online via social media and comparison sites, then experience the physical product in-store, then research prices online to decide where to buy? As consumer behaviour evolves and the younger, more tech-savvy generation gains more experience in maximising their value for money, brands and retailers must evolve to meet these shoppers where they are and win the sale. These changes, amidst a wider shift toward omnichannel selling, call for a more thoughtful approach to the interaction and synchronisation of online and offline pricing. Businesses are spending more time and resources on building omnichannel pricing strategies that can succeed – and be implemented – across all points of sale. In this article, Omnia explores the evolution in consumer behaviour and price comparison and how omnichannel brands and retailers can use dynamic pricing to bridge the gap. How does a consumer make their decision to buy? Today’s consumer is investing more time and effort in the research stage before making a decision about if they should buy, and if so, when they should buy and from whom. 44% of consumers say they are spending more time planning their shopping trips to brick-and-mortar stores, while about half say they’re spending less time just browsing in physical stores. The retail analyst, Natalie Berg explains: "There's just so many different ways to shop today. And as shoppers, we don't think in channels. We just want to shop and we want a seamless experience across the many touchpoints that exist today. But we're channel agnostic and we're device agnostic. Retailers have had to work really hard behind the scenes to make this a seamless experience." Google Trends has found some compelling insights on these omnichannel consumer behaviours since 2023: About one-third of consumers are spending more time on their decision-making, considering more brands, stores and retailers in the process 65% of consumers are more likely to research a product online, even if they plan to buy in the store And vice versa: 59% are more likely to go to stores to physically see or touch a product, even if they intend to buy online The trend is even stronger around the holidays: Consumers used online search before 96% of in-store holiday shopping trip It’s clear that online and offline are colliding, and as the data above shows, the buying journey can take many paths. Some consumers might research online first – watching unboxing videos from their favourite influencers, searching the product on social media or comparison sites – then go in-store to experience the physical product. Even after all that, they might conduct more price research online to decide whether to buy online or in-store, or whether to buy from a different seller altogether. Others might browse in-store first to get a feel for what they like, then research reviews, prices and other factors online before deciding if or where to buy. There are countless paths to purchase, and shopping behaviour is influenced by a number of factors: Price: The higher the investment, the more likely it is that the consumer will invest more effort and take the time to research Complexity: If a product is more complex, it is more challenging to get a full picture. A technical description does not always reflect the experience; for example, do you know offhand how loud 48 dB will sound in a pair of headphones? Experience: The five senses contribute to emotions, which can lead to consumers making a purchase. Experiencing a product and all its sensory information first hand can be a significant factor in the shopping journey. Returns: How easy is it to return a product? For example, consumers might be more likely to research items that are fragile or those cannot be returned due to hygiene reasons, versus something like a sweater that can easily be sent back. Brand: If the experience and association with the brand is exceptional – for example, the in-store service – a number of shopping behaviours could be impacted. The consumer might be more likely to want to shop in person and to go through with the purchase, and they are likely to be willing to pay a bit more. Competing in the price comparison stage Once a decision is made to purchase the product, the modern consumer is savvy enough to compare prices online. This means sellers across channels are competing on price, and if you’re an omnichannel brand or retailer, you’re essentially competing with everyone. In these highly competitive environments, dynamic pricing is an effective strategy to capture more sales and take control of your assortment. Omnichannel brands and retailers benefit from dynamic pricing in a number of ways, including: Competitive pricing advantage: Dynamic pricing adjusts prices in real time based on market conditions, competitor pricing and predetermined pricing rules. This ensures that prices remain attractive to consumers compared to other options in the market, which is particularly important when a shopper starts researching prices online. Maximising revenue: By dynamically adjusting prices at a higher frequency, retailers can set prices that reflect current demand, customer behaviour and other market variables, boosting revenue over time. Inventory management: By adjusting prices based on inventory levels, retailers can promote products that need to be cleared quickly or maximise profits on high-demand items. This is especially helpful when managing stock for both brick-and-mortar stores and online sales. Seasonal and promotional pricing: As mentioned previously, merging online research with brick-and-mortar shopping is even more relevant during holiday events, with consumers using online search before 96% of in-store holiday shopping trips. Dynamic pricing gives omnichannel retailers and brands the flexibility to respond to seasonal trends, demand fluctuations and promotional events. Real-time market changes: External factors, such as changes in the economy, weather conditions or geopolitical events, can impact consumer behaviour and market dynamics; changes that retailers can more quickly adapt to using dynamic pricing. Agility and flexibility: As online and offline become more intertwined, omnichannel sellers need to adapt and respond quickly to new information and competitor pricing updates. Bridging the pricing gap in omnichannel Omnichannel brands without a cohesive dynamic pricing strategy can face unnecessary losses and fractured pricing between channels. The challenge is this: How do you match your offline store to your online store while still competing with your key competitors? Consistency across online and offline channels is crucial. Omnichannel sellers have to find ways to synchronise both pricing strategies in order to provide a seamless experience for consumers and avoid losing sales or loyalty if a consumer or price comparison site spots a discrepancy. This is a common challenge. Many retailers struggle to align pricing: Their online prices change frequently, while their offline products are far more static. It’s easy to change an online price any time, but the retailer doesn’t want to change in-store prices every time if they are simply printed on signs, tags or stickers. There are a few ways to mitigate this challenge with the help of Omnia Retail dynamic pricing software. Electronic shelf labels (ESLs) This is the easiest way to match online and offline pricing. It requires more financial investment and IT infrastructure, but saves on costs by decreasing the labour and time needed to update prices. Image source If the cost of purchasing ESLs is too high, retailers can rent them (which tends to be far cheaper than buying), either for the whole assortment or just high sellers. One thing to consider with ESLs is timing. You don’t want a price to change on an ESL if a customer is standing right next to it. Imagine you’re shopping in a store, and the price on a product suddenly jumps from €100 to €110. The product hasn’t changed in the last five seconds, so it’s unlikely you’ll think it’s fair that the price has suddenly increased by 10%. To mitigate this, retailers might choose specific hours to change prices, either when the store is closed or during slower hours for foot traffic. Other retailers offer a discount if a customer comes to them after having found a cheaper price online compared to in-store. Fixed price adjustment days Another option is to decide on fixed days when you will align online and offline pricing, and adjust your repricing frequency to match. Compared to the ESL option, this is suboptimal, but it will allow you to synchronise prices at a level that does not exceed your shop floor staff capacity. This option will also decrease the chance of consumers walking out after checking online and discovering that either 1) your prices don’t match your own website or 2) your competition sells it for far cheaper. While providing great in-store service and experience adds value that consumers may be willing to pay more for, they are still likely to leave if the price difference is too large. Gaining clarity first on the following questions will help retailers to set this process up: Which key assortments are your revenue/margin drivers? How can you segment the online competition toward this assortment? Is there a pattern of which days the segmented competition is repricing their products? Answering these questions will tell you which assortments to prioritise, as well as which days your segmented competition is adjusting prices so you can do the same. Dynamic pricing made simpler with Omnia As consumers become more research savvy and the lines between online and offline shopping continue to blur, retailers and brands – especially those operating in an omnichannel environment – will need to adjust pricing strategies to win over the competition. If shoppers are researching on multiple channels, then those retailers and brands must be consistent and competitive across all points of sale. Omnia’s dynamic pricing software enables retailers and brands to bridge the pricing gap in omnichannel. Our customers who utilise ESLs use Omnia’s dynamic pricing software in a number of ways to make this strategy more effective: Understanding which products are more competitive in the market and which are not. For brick-and-mortar sales, only the competitive product prices need to be changed more frequently. Setting up the frequency at which Omnia sends data for their brick-and-mortar products, according to their ESL pricing strategies. This can be done in three different formats: CSV, XML and JSON. Omnia's output can be placed automatically to an (s)ftp location from where your ESL system can pick up the latest pricing data. Using Omnia’s filtering capabilities to decide which parts of the assortments you want to include in the reports used to change the products' prices on the ESL. This means that you can make a differentiation between the fixed-price products and the products that you want to change dynamically. Aligning online and offline pricing (where relevant). Omnia data enables customers to remove discrepancies. For example, one Omni customer used to do their offline repricing manually – a tedious and time-consuming process. Now, they use ESL software connected to the Omnia output, making it faster, easier and more accurate.

Omnia’s work on company culture takes centre stage in Frankfurt, Germany

“Even if you don't manage company culture, a specific culture will emerge. Although it probably won't be the culture you envisioned,” says Omnia Retail’s COO Vanessa Verlaan who presented on the topic of building a...

“Even if you don't manage company culture, a specific culture will emerge. Although it probably won't be the culture you envisioned,” says Omnia Retail’s COO Vanessa Verlaan who presented on the topic of building a strong and healthy workplace culture at the annual World Class Workforce Transformation conference in Frankfurt, Germany in January. In sharing Omnia’s experiences, failures and successes in building a healthy company culture, Verlaan shared that it is not something that can be achieved if only one part of the company is actively trying to enforce it: “I am convinced everyone in the company should be responsible of company culture. Not just HR. It starts with the leadership team and then it can be scaled.” Covid-19 has upended how leaders interact with employees and how coworkers connect with each other," a Harvard Business Review article by Denise Lee Yohn says. "Culture has become a strategic priority with an impact on the bottom line. It can’t just be delegated and compartmentalised anymore,” says Yohn. In many cases, a company’s core values are used to attract and hire top talent and remain a calling card on a company’s website. But what happens when the experience does not match the initial expectation? “People have certain expectations when they start at a company and then when faced with the reality, they are disappointed, and then leave. That’s when companies have to rehire for the same positions. This is why core values need to be implemented from the leadership team and throughout each department,” shares Vanessa. Using this simple yet effective system, Verlaan explains how the expectation-reality gap can be closed if culture plays an unconditional role in every step of the employee life cycle: Professionals from DHL Express, Siemens, Allianz Global Investors and Celltrion Healthcare also shared presentations on upskilling, digital transformation in the workplace, employee engagement, and other interesting topics that affect teams across the continent, making this one of the most innovative and forward-thinking events dedicated to the employee experience. In addition to the case study presentation, Verlaan also participated in a roundtable discussion with professionals from other private companies which further unpacked the topic for employees at corporations, scale-ups and start-ups. In talking to one of the fellow speakers who experienced that her previous leadership team was not supportive of implementing a specific workplace culture throughout the company, Vanessa believes that there are further opportunities regarding the practices for companies that want to achieve a strong and positive corporate culture. “Culture persists only because people act in ways that uphold its principles and codes,” says a Stanford Social Innovation Review paper, echoing the sentiment that Vanessa shared in her presentation. As Omnia has grown over the years, expanded in locations and developed each department, one thing has stayed the same - its core values. “We don’t update our core values because they are the foundation. However, they have become more clear and implemented in various steps,” says Vanessa. Omnia Retail's COO Vanessa Verlaan enjoyed snapping some photos at the event with fellow speakers in between interesting discussions on company culture.

Product bundling: The psychology for consumers and benefits for sellers

Brands and retailers have long used the strategy of bundling, combining two or more products into a separate product bundle, to boost sales and profits. Whether it’s brands choosing to bundle products, such as socks and...

Brands and retailers have long used the strategy of bundling, combining two or more products into a separate product bundle, to boost sales and profits. Whether it’s brands choosing to bundle products, such as socks and underwear for men; or food retailers bundling vegetable staples like potatoes, tomatoes and onions; this age-old tactic has often proved successful for sellers while also benefiting the end consumer. In this blog post, Omnia delves into the intricacies of bundling, exploring its benefits for sellers, impact on consumer spending and the psychology behind its effectiveness. Why do brands and retailers bundle products? Bundling two or more products together can have a number of benefits for e-commerce sellers, helping to capture the attention of both the casual browser and the ready-to-buy shopper. 1) Increase sales and AOV Selling a bundle to a customer rather than a single product is an instant boost to both sales and average order value, or AOV. If a brand uses a bundle to cross-sell related or complementary products, that will increase the total value of the sale, so long as the bundle was priced in a beneficial way. Example: A sporting goods retailer typically sells one rugby jersey at a price of €75, but bundles that rugby jersey with a t-shirt and a hoodie from the same team for €140, increasing the value of each individual sale and pulling up the AOV. 2) Optimise inventory management No merchant wants to deal with deadstock and unnecessary inventory costs, and it’s estimated that 20 to 30 percent of inventory is deadstock for the average e-commerce seller. Bundling allows brands and retailers to efficiently move excess stock by combining it with other items, which minimises losses associated with unsold individual products while also creating perceived value for the customer. Example: A D2C makeup brand might combine a slower-selling makeup brush with a best-selling makeup palette, ensuring the products will move quickly to free up the warehouse and reduce waste. 3) Decrease marketing and shipping costs Selling items in a bundle means you can promote a set of products as one product, paring down marketing costs, and also ship them as a bundle, which leads to less packaging and overall shipping costs. Example: Rather than selling and shipping every accessory for a phone separately as the consumer realises they want it, promoting all accessories, such as phone cases, headphones or extra chargers in a bundle at the time of purchase means they can be shipped in one box. 4) Take advantage of seasonal peaks Product bundling can also be used to capitalise on peak shopping times for certain items, such as during the holidays or over the Summer. Example: Bundling outdoor toys and games, such as water guns, pool floats or inflatable pools, as the summer approaches allows a retailer to capitalise on the fact that families will typically spend more time outdoors and in their gardens and pools in warmer weather. Consumer psychology: Why is bundling effective? Although bundling can seem like a simple concept – combining multiple products into one set, perhaps at a slight discount – there are more subtle factors at play that influence consumers on a psychological level, leading to increased spending and the other benefits for the seller listed previously. First, bundling can enhance the perceived value of the bundled products to the customer: When the shopper sees two or more items bundled at a discounted price, their perception tends to be that the total value of the bundle is higher than the sum of the individual items’ values. This point is amplified even more when a seller makes it clear how much money is being saved by buying the bundle rather than each product separately, as this example from beauty retailer LOOKFANTASTIC shows: “Worth over £150, yours for just £50!” The perceived quality can also be adjusted up or down depending on the actual items included in the bundle. A study titled “The effects of price bundling on consumer evaluations of product offerings'' from researchers at the University of Michigan Business School, Johannes Gutenberg Universität and Universität Mannheim discussed the phenomena of averaging, anchoring and adjusting: Averaging – Consumers look at a bundle of products and their “ratings” of each component are averaged or balanced into an overall evaluation (Gaeth et al., 1991) Anchoring and adjusting – Buyers tend to anchor on the most important product in the bundle, then adjust their evaluation by taking the less important items into account (Yadav, 1994) Athletic Greens, a D2C nutrition and supplement brand, uses these tools in their bundles. For anyone who signs up to subscribe for monthly deliveries of their AG1 powder, rather than making a one-time purchase, they receive as part of the bundle a “starter kit” with a premium jar and branded shaker bottle, as well as a discount on the monthly price. The jar and shaker likely don’t cost the company much even if they are labelled as premium, especially as a one-time bonus, but it gives a boost to the perceived quality of the whole offering. It’s worth noting that, especially when selling high-value items, these phenomena can actually bring down the perceived quality of a product, so sellers need to be careful which items they choose to bundle. This is referred to as the “presenter’s paradox”, where adding more items that are perceived as lower quality will bring down the perceived average value and therefore overall value of the bundle. Source: CXL.com A commonly used example of the presenter’s paradox is with an expensive bottle of wine. Let’s say you buy two of these $5000 bottles to give to two different work clients. To one, you give the bottle by itself, while you give the other the bottle in addition to a set of plastic cups. Although the actual monetary value of the second gift is higher, the perceived quality is lower. Bundling can also impact consumer behaviour by lessening the number of choices a shopper has to make. The paradox of choice, sometimes called choice overload, suggests that having a large number of options requires more effort from the decision-maker, and can actually leave us feeling unsatisfied with our choice. The phenomenon of FOMO (fear of missing out) is also at play here, as consumers might have a fear that there may have been a better option than the product they chose. When a bundle is offered to the consumer, it simplifies the decision-making process down to choosing whether the bundle meets their needs, rather than evaluating each individual product. This is more convenient and decreases the cognitive effort required to make a purchase. Amazon, as the biggest marketplace in the world, is notorious for having seemingly endless choices, with a catalogue currently consisting of more than twelve million products. As one way to combat the paradox of choice, Amazon includes a section on most product pages that either recommends other products to pair with the item, such as “Buy it with”, or suggests items based on the behaviour of other shoppers like “Frequently bought with”. The interesting thing about this Amazon example is that the bundle doesn’t have to include a discount. In the screenshot below, you can see that Amazon suggests another hat and a scarf to pair with the Tommy Hilfiger hat. None of the items are offered at a discount, but the cognitive effort required is lower if the buyer simply wants to allow Amazon, or the behaviour of past shoppers, to make the decision for them. Is bundling worth it? Bundling is a common promotional tactic for e-commerce businesses, and tends to be effective because it’s usually built around price, the most important “P” in the marketing mix. There are many use cases where bundling is worthwhile for sellers: When you want to group more products together to boost overall sales and AOV When you want to move inventory quickly, whether to clear out deadstock or just make room for new products When you want to offer a great value to customers, to reward and encourage loyalty When you want to decrease the potential for choice overload and help your customers easily find and purchase complementary products However, as with any promotional tactic, there are downsides to consider. When done incorrectly, bundling can weaken a brand’s reputation, or pull down the perceived quality of a high-value product, as with the presenter’s paradox. It often involves discounting, which cuts into margins. If customers only buy bundles and never individual products, it can have a long-term impact on profits and will require businesses to be very strategic about how they price. Ultimately, the success of bundling comes down to each individual e-commerce seller. The question you must answer is this: Can you build a bundling strategy that delivers value to your business and your customers without hurting your image or long-term profits? If so, bundling can be a great way to move inventory quickly, boost sales and AOV and deliver more value to customers.

Black Friday sales increase, but holiday spending looks shaky

Consumers showed their resilience once more for Black Friday 2023 amid global economic turmoil as sales increased across multiple channels, categories and markets. Shopify and Adobe all shared positive year-on-year...

Consumers showed their resilience once more for Black Friday 2023 amid global economic turmoil as sales increased across multiple channels, categories and markets. Shopify and Adobe all shared positive year-on-year increases: Shopify reported a 22% increase in sales from brands using its platform while Adobe Analytics shared a 7.7% increase in e-commerce sales over the total Black Friday weekend. In addition, year-on-year foot traffic for brick-and-mortar stores also saw an increase, albeit a small one, of 1.5% on Black Friday weekend. Adobe’s annual report, which covers 100 million SKUs in 18 retail categories, found five categories to be the largest contributors to this year’s sales - clothing, electronics, furniture, toys and groceries. These contributed to 60% of the €101 billion in sales from 1 - 27 November, which includes pre-Black Friday discounts during the month. By the end of the shopping weekend, discounts climaxed at 31% for electronics, 27% for toys, 23% on apparel and 21% on furniture. Small appliances and electronics like TVs and smartwatches also did particularly well while beauty and personal care saw Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales for beauty saw a 13.3% increase in year-on-year sales, as reported by RetailNext. Performance footwear’s discounts led to high sales Brooks Running was one of the performance shoe brands that reported a highly successful Black Friday/Cyber Monday period, enjoying a 14% record boost in sales on Cyber Monday alone. Omnia researched Dutch pricing data for running shoes to see what could have caused the increase in sales. Black Friday and Cyber Monday offers already began the Friday beforehand but the number of offers increased over time with the peak on Black Friday. Discount offers remain over the weekend and return to lower levels two days after Cyber Monday. Compared to the month before, Black Friday and Cyber Monday are seen as highly competitive days. On selected items, there is an average discount of 18.5%. Where some retailers and brands even go up to a discount of 28.7% on average. During this period we see different strategies of different retailers coming to life. Where some retailers and brands rely more on heavily promoted products, others that maintain their competitive strategies aren't able to discount that much. A trend we detect in the running shoe business is that brands, on average, have higher discounts, showcasing that a D2C strategy could be highly lucrative over this period. What can retailers expect about festive season spending? The state of consumer spending over Black Friday weekend should not fool retail leaders. Stubborn inflation and high food and gas prices are very much a constant monkey on the shoulders of household budgets and, even for wealthier consumers, have eaten into expendable income. Adobe reported a 14% increase in buy-now-pay-later services compared to this period last year. Cyber Monday saw a massive 42% increase in the use of these services as consumers moved to act resourcefully to make purchases. In addition, US credit card debt exceeded $1 trillion in November. Overall, although Black Friday spending was better than expected, a booming holiday shopping season will likely not be on the cards. Retailers and brands expect to see year-on-year increases, but it won’t be because of the usual holiday shopping explosion: Inflation has resulted in all-round price increases, making everything more expensive than last year, resulting in consumers spending more money for the same or less. Single-digit increases in spending of 3 - 4% are predicted, according to the US National Retail Federation, in comparison to 2021’s 12.7%. Average selling price across all categories: 2022 vs 2023: Source: Salesforce data published by Forbes Consumers expect to spend, but this will be largely due to the fact that consumers feel obliged to buy gifts over this period, and not because they want to go all-out on multiple gifts, holidays and treats for themselves. “They’ve been very resilient. They will shop. They have obligations to family and other loved ones that they’re going to fulfil the gift list for," says Michael Brown, a partner at Kearney. In the UK, festive season shopping, which encompasses both November and December, has not started as strong as in previous years: The British Retail Consortium and KPMG report that retail sales in November totalled 2.7% compared to 4.5% in 2022 while non-food items experienced a decline altogether. Moreso, PwC predicts a 13% decline in festive season shopping in the UK market, as reported by the Business of Fashion. As a result, UK retailers are expected to discount heavily in January 2024 to offset sitting stock that should’ve sold during this year’s fourth quarter. How can retailers make the most of December deals? McKinsey suggests that providing value will likely be the best strategy for retailers and brands to get consumers to shop which could mean offering same-day delivery, free shipping, product bundles, or sharper discounts. “People are heading into the new year thinking inflation is bad, interest rates are tough, there’s geopolitical conflict in the world, and that’s why consumers are so negative. They’re in betwixt, and their uncertainty is what’s keeping them from splurging,” said Kelsey Robinson, senior partner at McKinsey. In terms of sales channels, smartphone shopping for e-commerce sales accounted for a 54% majority, meaning an advertising restructure targeting smartphones via social commerce may result in higher sales. Targeting social commerce buyers may also lead to an entirely new stream of customers for future purchases.

E-commerce shipping: A guide on costs, speed and environmental impact

There are pros and cons to every method of shipping, whether international or local, and there’s also no “right” answer. Every e-commerce business is different, and the right shipping strategy depends on factors like...

There are pros and cons to every method of shipping, whether international or local, and there’s also no “right” answer. Every e-commerce business is different, and the right shipping strategy depends on factors like budget, product assortment, who your customers are, where the business is based geographically and more. Rather than giving tips for which shipping methods are best or which ones a business should use, we’re breaking down some of the most common methods in three key areas: cost, speed and environmental impact. Cost: How much does it cost the seller to ship the product to the buyer? Costs to consider include carrier costs like shipping labels, packaging, fulfilment, insurance and overhead. Speed: How much time does the shipping method take? How long between the customer making the order and receiving their package? Environmental impact: What effect does the speed and method of shipping have on the environment, from carbon emissions to water pollution and more? Delivery methods for e-commerce: Cost, speed and environmental impact Same-day delivery Same-day delivery is becoming more popular and is the fastest-growing segment in the last-mile shipping environment, growing at 36% annually. In Europe, same-day delivery accounts for about 5% of total deliveries. E-commerce giants with large-scale supply chains tend to cover this especially well; Amazon already delivers to nearly three in four customers within 24 hours. The same-day delivery market is forecasted to reach $26.4 billion (USD) by 2027. The term “same-day delivery” can mean different things depending on the seller; in some cases, orders placed by a certain time will arrive by the end of the same calendar day, while others may just mean delivery within 24 hours. Typically, for same-day delivery to work, sellers need to have distance limits or cut-off times for when the order must be placed by to qualify. It’s also worth noting that same-day delivery is not always possible; it’s more likely to see it as an option in large cities or in more populated areas of Europe, for example, compared to the US, Canada or rural regions in other countries. The cost of same-day delivery, both monetarily and to the environment, depends on the carrier and the region. With traditional carriers such as FedEx, UPS or DHL, same-day delivery can be quite expensive and have a higher environmental cost. As Earth.org points out, “when dealing with a one- or two-day shipping window, [carriers] are often forced to send out trucks that are filled at half their capacity, generating more traffic and thus emissions.” However, especially in larger cities across the globe, there are many carbon-neutral alternatives available. For example, there are newer carriers like Budbee from Stockholm whose offer from the start was same-day delivery, with electric vans that are cheaper and carbon-neutral. There are also bike couriers in some markets, like Stuart in London or Cycloon in the Netherlands, that offer same-day delivery directly from stores. In these cases, same-day delivery is fast, carbon-neutral and not necessarily more expensive than slower shipping options. Overnight, two-day and expedited shipping The environmental impact of overnight and other speedy shipping methods like two-day and expedited is highly dependent on the area. Within regions like France and Germany, for example, overnight or two-day shipping may be the cheapest option at many carriers, and the environmental impact is mostly based on context, such as the type of parcel, location and other factors. However, overnight or expedited shipping in regions like North America, Australia and APAC can be expensive, especially when transported by air versus sea or ground shipping. A study performed in China on the carbon footprint of shipping options found that emissions from air shipping were 65 times higher than sea shipping. (Note that sea shipping is simply not an option in certain regions like North America and Australia.) Higher speed can also mean higher costs, in some cases. Air cargo typically costs more because of the need for faster delivery times and high fuel costs. Ocean freight, however, uses larger vessels that can transport more goods for longer distances, which is why it tends to be 12 to 16 times cheaper than air freight. In general, retailers who want to use overnight and speedy shipping options without high cost or environmental impact certainly can do so, as long as they find the right carriers to partner with and take into consideration 1) the region they are operating from and 2) the regions of their shoppers. Two- to three-day shipping Two- or three-day shipping, sometimes called priority shipping, is one of the more common types in e-commerce. It is slower than overnight, same-day and expedited options, but can still get items to customers faster than standard economy shipping in some markets. In European countries, the cultural differences between countries and delivery networks create discrepancies in what is considered “priority shipping”. For example, in urban areas like Stockholm or Oslo, it’s considered normal to offer overnight delivery, while in other parts of Sweden and Norway, shipping times are far longer due to the large distances – hence the offering of priority shipping options in these specific regions. In general, consumers are more likely to complete a purchase when it’s delivered faster than usual: In North America, up to 85% of shoppers are more likely to buy when two-day delivery is offered. The cost of two-day shipping is highly dependent on how far the item is being transported. For shorter distances, ground shipping can be used; this is why sellers with fulfilment centres or warehouses in different regions are more likely to be able to use this option. For longer distances, air cargo is used to guarantee the two-day turnaround; however, this has a higher cost and a larger environmental impact. In some cases, “fast delivery” – which encompasses all shipping options where orders are delivered within one to three days – will require some air transportation, meaning sellers can’t take advantage of full truck load capacities. This results in the need to dispatch more frequently and increases the total cost of transportation and environmental impact. A simulation model run by a team of MIT researchers in Mexico, for example, showed that “fast shipping produces significantly higher CO2 emissions since it imposes a challenge for cargo consolidation.” Their findings indicated that fast shipping increases both total CO2 emissions and costs by up to 15% and 68%, respectively. In Europe and other large metropolitan areas around the world, fast delivery does not necessarily cost more or require air transportation, decreasing the environmental cost. Standard shipping This may be called economy, regular, basic or ground shipping depending on the country or region, but it’s simply the cheapest shipping option available from the courier. Items sent by standard shipping typically use ground transportation and take longer to arrive. Here are some examples of how long standard shipping takes for domestic orders in Europe, the US and UK: Netherlands: 1-2 working days Germany: 1-2 working days France: 1-2 working days UK: 2-5 working days United States: 3-5 working days Costs to use standard shipping vary by country and courier. As for the environment, the typical saying is that “slower is greener.” According to research by Josue Velazquez, a research Scientist at the MIT Center for Transportation and Logistics, e-commerce customers who wait up to five days for home delivery “could help decrease carbon dioxide emissions by about 30% in the last mile of a delivery.” However, as with other types of shipping, this is all dependent on location. International shipping Shipping packages internationally can vary widely in terms of cost. While domestic shipping often has a flat fee, shipping to other countries may lead to additional costs in areas like customs and customs brokerage, as well as ground, maritime or air transportation. Speed also varies with international delivery. Shipping from the US to Europe, for example, can take anywhere from 10-16 business days with economy delivery services, or as few as one to three business days with an expedited courier. All European countries have their local domestic “postal” networks that are now used for delivering parcels. These networks stop at the country borders and therefore companies need international line haul transportation networks to "inject" parcels into the local networks of their neighbouring countries. This may lead to one or two additional delivery days. On the environmental side, international shipping of any speed can have a high environmental impact, as it typically requires multiple legs of transport and at least some involvement of air or ocean cargo. Eco-friendly shipping “Eco-friendly” is not a clearly definable term, and it means different things depending on the e-commerce seller. Generally eco-friendly shipping can involve any of the following: Recyclable or compostable packaging Carbon offset options Smaller packaging size Ground-based shipping versus air or sea Slower shipping An e-commerce sustainability survey by Sifted found that consumers are interested in these options. 91% wanted an eco-friendly shipping option when they checkout, and 57% are willing to pay an additional 10% for eco-friendly packaging and shipping. While the cost of using eco-friendly packaging can be higher, using less harmful shipping methods like ground and standard shipping can actually be cheaper for the seller and the shopper. Alternative delivery (parcel lockers, click and collect) Many e-commerce sellers are choosing to offer additional delivery options. A global survey of supply chain executives found that 44% offer click-and-collect (including products that are not shipped and sold directly from stores) and 11% offer collection points. These options can decrease costs for shippers if they are able to group packages, and may increase the speed of delivery in some cases. Whether delivering to a parcel locker or collection point makes a significant difference to the environment depends on what one considers “significant”. During the last-mile delivery stages, the previously mentioned study in China found that total emissions produced for home delivery were 0.012 kg CO2e higher than delivery to a collection point. Source: AZO Cleantech 2021. Which shipping method is best? It’s up to the consumer During a talk at Omnia’s annual Price Points Live event in 2022, Dr Heleen Buldeo Rai, a researcher at the Université Gustave Eiffel in Paris, spoke about how it’s really up to the consumer to choose delivery options, not the retailer. With the industry standard set at free delivery, most consumers are no longer willing to pay for shipping; they are, however, willing to wait longer or to “click and collect” their purchase. A study she conducted with colleagues in Belgium – with similar results seen in Netherlands, Bolivia, China and Brazil – found that while 81% of consumers would say yes to free next-day delivery, that number only dropped by three percentage points when offering free delivery within three to five days. When a slower shipping method is used, there is a positive impact on the company’s costs as well as the environment. This study could indicate that consumers are willing to make this trade-off, if retailers use the information to properly motivate them toward eco-friendly delivery options. Customer demands may outweigh shipping costs in the end Since 2010, global e-commerce sales have increased by nearly 800%. That’s great news for all the e-commerce sellers out there and for the customers who want to shop online, but there is a fragile balance to maintain. We all saw the strain put on supply chains during the COVID-19 pandemic: An EY of survey supply chain executives across industries found that only 2% of respondents said they were “fully prepared” for the pandemic. 57% said they were affected by serious disruptions, with 72% reporting it had a negative effect on them. While that situation is not a daily occurrence, the growth of fast shipping, combined with the steady uptick in e-commerce sales each year, is putting its own stressors on the logistical capabilities of our global shipping network. In order to keep the global supply chain from collapsing as e-commerce volumes increase, and to boost environmental protections, it may become more necessary over time for customers to make trade-offs and accept slower shipping times. As data from Sifted showed us earlier, nine-in-ten consumers wanted an eco-friendly shipping option when they checkout, and eigh- in-ten would wait at least one extra day for their delivery if that meant it was shipped more sustainably. Increasing the amount of orders that are shipped slower would have significant positive impacts on the environment, while also saving e-commerce businesses on their delivery costs – but not every consumer will be willing to accept slower shipping. It’s a tricky balance, indeed. Retailers and brands who sell online must balance this need for sustainability with a positive customer experience and reliable and flexible delivery, all of which adds up to customer loyalty over time.

How will stubborn inflation impact e-commerce’s 2023 festive season?

If there is anything 2023 has taught retail and e-commerce leaders, is how resilient the consumer can be. As inflation predictions for the year remained lower than real-world inflation, and as food and gas prices...

If there is anything 2023 has taught retail and e-commerce leaders, is how resilient the consumer can be. As inflation predictions for the year remained lower than real-world inflation, and as food and gas prices continued double-digit increases around the globe, consumers still found ways to spend - albeit more consciously and strategically. In the July report of the International Monetary Fund’s (IMF) World Economic Outlook projected that global headline inflation will fall from 8.7% in 2022 to 6.8% in 2023 and 5.2% in 2024. However, in the US, groceries are up 4.9%, electricity is up 3% and rent has increased by 7.7% as of September, creating the stirrings of a lackluster season of spending as the final quarter of 2023 begins. Despite mixed feedback on factors creating roadblocks for consumer spending, there are some positives that reveal to Omnia that, as the final quarter of 2023 begins, consumers will prove their robustness once more: Stronger spending in the US over the Summer and higher consumer confidence throughout Europe’s biggest economies. Let’s delve into the nitty gritty to find out if e-commerce and retail can expect a prosperous festive season. Festive season 2023: Consumer spending predictions At the start of the fourth quarter of 2023, Mastercard’s SpendingPulse Report found that consumer spending for the festive season will result in a 3.7% year-on-year increase in retail sales - a result that has not been adjusted for inflation. The report, which monitors online and offline payments in retail, gives a nod to continued consumer resilience, despite the aforementioned staggered disinflation and economic growth. Compared to 2022, in which the festive season performed better than expected due to pent-up demand and left-over stock, a rebalancing effect will likely take place in 2023, as brands and retailers do not have built-up inventory and consumer demand to rely on to make additional sales. Steve Sadove, senior advisor for Mastercard predicts that “With numerous choices and tightening budgets, you can anticipate shoppers to be increasingly selective and value-focused.” He adds that “the most effective holiday strategy will be to meet consumers where they are - personalised promotions to in-store experiences will be key in doing so.” E-commerce will see larger growth from consumers than brick-and-mortar The report found that omnichannel shopping with continue to grow, however, e-commerce purchases will experience greater support with a 6.7% increase while in-store shopping will see a 2.9% increase year-on-year. On the verticals side, electronics will see the greatest increase at 6%, groceries at 3.9% and apparel at only 1% increase compared to 2022’s season. Global economic overview: Disinflation slower than expected, advanced economies stagnate on growth “Global economic activity has proven resilient in the first quarter of this year, leading to a modest upward revision for global growth in 2023,” Pierre-Olivier Gourinchas, the International Monetary Fund’s (IMF) chief economist, said in a statement. “But global growth remains weak by historical standards.” The July 2023 edition of the IMF’s World Economic Outlook announced it expects global growth to be 3% in both 2023 and 2024. Compared to the projections made in April, this was an increase of 0.2 percentage points for the 2023 estimate, while the 2024 projection remained unchanged. A number of factors have contributed to the more positive economic outlook. The World Health Organisation (WHO) declared that COVID-19 is no longer a global health emergency, economic activity is steadier and supply chains are flowing better. But even with these improvements, the 3% growth projections are still lower than pre-pandemic levels: Annual global economic growth averaged 3.8% from 2000 to 2019. In 2022, global growth was 3.5%. Inflation in key markets impacts overall growth Looking specifically at the markets that pertain to Omnia’s clients - the US, UK, and Euro zone areas - the same IMF report shows that the slowdown in inflation is more concentrated in advanced economies such as these, which are projected to see growth rates fall from 2.7% in 2022 to 1.5% in 2023 and 1.4% in 2024. Source: IMF World Economic Outlook 2023. In the US, growth is projected to be 1.8% in 2023 and just 1.0% in 2024. The country continues to struggle with some of the worst inflation since the 1980s, with the US central bank raising rates from 0.08% to over 5% since March 2022. However, inflation is progressively easing in the US: In July 2023, inflation was at 3.2%, down from the June 2022 peak of 9.1%. Still heavily impacted by the sharp spike in gas prices caused by the start of the Russia-Ukraine war in 2022, growth in the Eurozone area is set to decelerate, projected to achieve only 0.9% growth in 2023 and 1.5% in 2024. From 2021 to 2022, gas prices across Europe increased by 150% as the continent’s largest supplier of gas, Russia, ceased its supply to the continent. Germany, in particular, is struggling to overcome inflation and energy costs, making it the only advanced economy projected to contract in 2023. Growth in the UK is also trudging through: After achieving economic growth of 4.1% in 2022, the second-highest among the advanced economies, the country is projected to grow by only 0.4% in 2023. In July this year, inflation was 6.8%, the lowest it’s been since February 2022. This improvement is desperately needed, as the UK experienced seven months of double-digit inflation between September 2022 and March 2023. Going into festive shopping, how are consumers feeling? As we move farther beyond the end of the COVID-19 emergency and start of geopolitical tensions in Europe, consumer sentiment seems to be improving globally, but is still in the negative range in many regions. Consumer confidence in the Eurozone is still low this Summer but did increase to -15.1 in July 2023, its highest level since February 2022. This has been fuelled by improvements in the consumer’s view on their household’s past and future financial situations, as well as the expected general economic landscape in their respective country. According to McKinsey, consumer confidence around mid-2023 was at its highest in Italy, Spain and Germany, which is surprising considering Germany’s projected growth rate for 2023 is a contraction and not an expansion, which was discussed earlier. Source: McKinsey & Company. Across the Atlantic, consumer confidence in the US hit its highest level in two years in July 2023 and remained consistent throughout their Summer months at the end of the third quarter. This has led to increased consecutive spending, with retail sales rising 0.7% from June to July, and a 3% year-on-year increase for September. At the same time, the impact of inflation can still be felt: In July 2023, the typical American household spent $709 USD more than they spent two years ago to purchase the same goods and services. The good news is that, throughout the third quarter, inflation continued to decrease. Looking ahead to 2024 Consumers worldwide continue to balance the pressure of higher prices with their desire or need to spend, while their governments attempt to rein in inflation and stimulate growth even as macroeconomic tensions continue everywhere. And, while consumer sentiment does seem to be improving since the close of the COVID-19 emergency, levels remain below pre-pandemic norms. As for inflation, the IMF predicts global headline inflation to fall slightly from 6.8% in 2023 to 5.2% in 2024. The organisation projects that underlying core inflation will decline more gradually, showing a slower decrease than what was predicted in 2022. The results of consumer spending for the 2023 festive season will all depend on a country’s labour market, their disinflation rates, as well as the consumer’s ability to access savings or credit. These are the factors that intertwine to create the pool of possibility for consumer spending. With consumer sentiment increasing (ever so incrementally) and a more robust consumer, e-commerce and traditional retail can look forward to an abundant shopping season.

The Shape of D2C in 2023: How Established Brands and DNVBs Are Finding Success in E-Commerce

Is there anything that pairs better than e-commerce and direct-to-consumer (D2C) sales? With e-commerce, companies remove the inconvenience of having to go to a physical store, and products are shipped right to the...

Is there anything that pairs better than e-commerce and direct-to-consumer (D2C) sales? With e-commerce, companies remove the inconvenience of having to go to a physical store, and products are shipped right to the consumer’s doorstep. D2C sales models are the perfect pairing: With all middlemen removed, the seller has total control over the customer experience. In 2023, both established brands and digital native vertical brands (DNVB) are pursuing D2C strategies across a huge range of e-commerce verticals. In this article, we’ll highlight three especially interesting and competitive verticals in e-commerce – Electronics, Sports and Home & Living – and look at the current state of D2C businesses within these categories. Trending Verticals in E-commerce Worldwide e-commerce revenue is projected to reach €3.79 trillion in 2023, with the highest-selling verticals being fashion; electronics; and toys, hobby and DIY. Omnia is especially interested in analysing verticals with multiple retailers selling the same or comparable products that consumers research heavily online. These verticals offer significant dynamic pricing opportunities, since price fluctuations are constant and competition is high. Electronics Consumer electronics continues to be one of the reigning e-commerce champion verticals, with sky-high sales over the last decade and further growth as work from home becomes a more established workplace vision for some professions. It is the second-most popular e-commerce category behind fashion, with expected revenue of €839 billion in 2023, or 22.1% of all online sales. Sports Sporting goods are a fast-growing e-commerce vertical, with 43.7% of sports products being bought online. The sports category is an interesting case because of its high Average First Order Value (AFOV). Businesses with high AFOV need to make a profit on every transaction, because repeat purchases are not as common in other verticals. The AFOV for sports businesses is extremely high, but it has one of the lowest levels of 12-month growth in Customer Lifetime Value (CLV). This is especially stark compared to a category like Pets, which has the highest rate of repeat purchases by far. The sports vertical is continuing to grow in the post-pandemic landscape, with businesses in the US, UK and Europe seeing a boost in revenue and traffic in the first quarter of 2023 compared to the end of 2022: US sports businesses achieved nearly 10% in YoY revenue growth The UK and Europe are both still in negative territory for revenue change; about -20% YoY. However, this is a rebound from Europe being about -35% and the UK being about -30% at the end of 2022. Home & living As displayed above, the home category, like the sports vertical, has a high AFOV and a low rate of repeat purchases, sitting at 1.2 for the average first-purchase value. This puts pressure on businesses to achieve sufficient profit margin on each product. Home goods have faced some post-pandemic challenges, as people spent less time at home and less money on home improvement. This vertical has been slower to bounce back than other categories in terms of year-on-year revenue change, but businesses in the UK and Europe did see an improvement in Q1 2023 compared to the end of 2022. However, “improvement” is a relative term, as the YoY revenue change was still between -15% and -20% for the UK and Europe at the start of Q2 2023. Current State and Outlook of D2C in E-commerce Direct-to-consumer (D2C) brands are continuing to grow worldwide, with nearly two-thirds (64%) of consumers making regular purchases directly from brands in 2022. This D2C wave is present in a wide range of markets: in the US, D2C is forecast to grow to $213 billion USD by 2024; in Germany, D2C revenue was already valued at €880 million at the end of 2021; and in India, total D2C sales was $44.6 billion USD in 2021. There are two types of brands that sell D2C: Digital native vertical brands (DNVB): Companies that were born online and have a strong digital presence. These companies often sell niche products directly to consumers through e-commerce platforms and social media, bypassing traditional retail channels. Established, traditional brands: Companies who have built a long-standing presence, reputation and customer base through various channels, including brick-and-mortar retail, advertising and other marketing efforts. These brands may have a strong online presence as well, but their roots are often in traditional manufacturing and distribution. In the US, 40% of established brands are already implementing a D2C growth strategy. It’s a headline-grabbing topic of conversation, but how significant is the role of D2C in the wider e-commerce landscape? D2C sales would account for one in seven e-commerce dollars in 2022. And while DNVBs are often the brands capturing media attention, since they are generally more social media savvy, established brands are projected to account for 75.6% of D2C e-commerce sales in the US in 2023. In fact, the D2C online sales for established brands have had a higher growth rate than DNVBs since 2021, although both types of D2C brands still show strong growth. Challenges for D2C Brands Every operator in the retail space faces its own unique challenges, but D2C brands are a unique case. They retain more control over their customer relationship, products, pricing and supply chain dynamics, but they also hold responsibility for the entire end-to-end experience and whether their product makes it into the hands of consumers. Challenges for D2C brands in e-commerce include: Customer Acquisition Costs: Competition for digital advertising space is high, and as a result, the cost of advertising on social media platforms, search engines and other channels can be quite expensive. This can be especially challenging for D2C startups and small businesses with limited marketing budgets. Supply Chain Management: D2C brands typically manage their own supply chain, which can be complex and time-consuming. From sourcing raw materials to manufacturing and shipping products, there are many moving parts to manage. Delays or disruptions at any point in the supply chain can impact product availability and customer satisfaction. Competition from Established Brands: As mentioned earlier, established brands with existing customer bases and sizable marketing budgets can be formidable competitors for DNVB brands. These brands often have more resources to invest in marketing and customer acquisition, and they may have stronger brand recognition and customer loyalty. Customer Experience and Service: D2C brands are often held to higher standards when it comes to customer experience and service. Customers expect a seamless, personalised experience when shopping online, and any issues with shipping, returns or customer service can lead to negative reviews and damage the brand's reputation. Scaling Operations: As D2C brands grow, they may struggle to scale their operations while maintaining quality and consistency. This can be especially challenging when it comes to managing inventory, production, and shipping logistics. D2C Maturity in Key E-Commerce Categories: Electronics, Sports and Home Let’s return to the three e-commerce verticals we discussed earlier. Each of these has its own level of maturity, as well as successful D2C brands, both established and DNVB. Electronics The consumer electronics vertical is relatively mature when it comes to e-commerce D2C sales. Over the past decade, there has been a significant shift in the way consumers purchase electronics, with many people choosing to buy products directly from brands online rather than through traditional retail channels. Established brand: Apple Apple has long used D2C retail operations to drive customers into its “walled-garden ecosystem”,and has made clear its plans to continue investing in D2C. It’s clearly working: the company was able to triple its market value to $3 trillion between 2018 and 2022. DNVB: Anker Innovations Anker, a Chinese mobile charging brand, is considered a pioneering DNVB. While they also sell via Amazon and other marketplaces, a majority of their sales still come from D2C. Sports The sports vertical has been growing more mature with D2C sales, as has been evidenced by the number of new DNVB brands such as Gymshark as well as established brands taking major steps to ramp up D2C efforts. Nike, for example, announced in 2021 that they would stop selling sneakers at American shoe store chain DSW, another in a long line of breaks with traditional retail. Reports like this are signals that, with Nike as one driver, the sporting goods and apparel sector is developing and maturing quickly, which are changes that retailers will need to adapt to. Established brand: Nike Nike has an established presence in traditional retail channels, but the company’s D2C operation, NIKE Direct, has been extremely successful in both e-commerce and brick-and-mortar. In 2022, it accounted for approximately 42% of the brand’s total revenue. DNVB: Peloton Peloton is one of the most successful examples of sporting DNVBs, having been born online before growing across different distribution channels, customer segments, geographies and categories. Home & Living The home and living vertical, which includes product lines such as furniture, cookware, bedding and more, is a strong D2C market due to its low barriers to entry and lack of strong retail competition. Established brand: Vitra Swiss company Vitra has been operating as a family business for 80 years. The company designs and manufactures designer furniture for use in offices, homes and public spaces. DNVB: Westwing Westwing was founded to be a “curated shoppable magazine”, where consumers could find beautiful home & living products online. The company is now present in 11 European countries and generated €431 million of revenue in 2022. D2C Brands and Dynamic Pricing Aligning prices with retailers for your entire product assortment is no small feat, which is why dynamic pricing software is so essential for brands who utilise a D2C sales channel. As Roger van Engelen, Principal at A.T. Kearney, told Omnia in a 2018 interview: “In my opinion, brands need to have dynamic pricing before they start selling directly to consumers because it will prevent them from agitating their retail customers. This, in turn, protects brands from triggering a price-markdown war, which helps protect brand price perception.” Keep in mind that most major retailers are already using dynamic pricing software for their e-commerce shops and to ensure products are competitively priced. As a brand, your use of Omnia will help you follow a market price even within strict limits.

Solving the puzzle of e-commerce organisational structures

As any business owner or leader knows, building out the organisational structure of a company or team is one of the trickiest puzzles to solve. Do it right and the organisation will run smoothly and produce ideal...

As any business owner or leader knows, building out the organisational structure of a company or team is one of the trickiest puzzles to solve. Do it right and the organisation will run smoothly and produce ideal outcomes; do it wrong and things can quickly grind to a halt or implode altogether. This is also the case when structuring an e-commerce organisation. With the rapid pace of the retail industry and the constant evolution of online sales, it’s crucial to build a division that can be flexible and effective, no matter what may change. In this article, Omnia explores the nuances of the structure of e-commerce businesses, how organisations should approach the topic and where pricing fits into the larger picture. Structure of the modern e-commerce department In 2023, the structure of e-commerce departments can vary widely depending on the needs of the business. Each member of the team has a crucial role to play in ensuring the organisation runs smoothly and that customers receive the products they’ve purchased online. Typically, an e-commerce organisation will have some combination of the following roles: From the top: E-commerce manager/Director of e-commerce/CEO The captain of the ship oversees all areas of the e-commerce organisation including marketing management, customer service, product management, KPI tracking, analytics and reporting, and partnership management. The marketing team The success of a marketing team can make or break an e-commerce department. Members of this team can include: Marketing manager: This person leads the full marketing team. The Marketing Manager is responsible for spreading the word about the products in your online store by analysing and building strategies based on customer data, trends, competitor insights and market changes. They are also responsible for brand building, creative strategy, and multichannel strategy. Graphic designer: The designer can take care of all the necessary visuals within the corporate identity (CI), from logos and social media graphics to charts and data visualisations for blog posts or sales materials. Content or copy writer: This role is responsible for writing compelling text for product descriptions, website content and marketing campaigns. A successful content writer will also have some level of SEO knowledge to ensure copy is optimised for successful Google search results. Development and IT team The website is the beating heart for every e-commerce seller. All e-commerce companies will need developers to build and maintain the company’s website and software systems. The UI/UX designer can also fall under this department. Copy writers will often work closely with UI/UX designers to ensure that the text used on an e-commerce store falls within the brand’s tone and identity. One of the most important responsibilities for the development and IT team is to optimise the performance of the website across devices, ensuring high availability and uptime so customers aren’t waiting too long for the storefront to load. Another key role is to integrate any chosen third-party services or SaaS solutions, like Shopify or BigCommerce, while ensuring data security and maintaining a structured product catalogue. Operations team The ops team’s job is to keep the actual operation of the online store running smoothly from day to day. Some key roles that may be hired for include: Logistics manager: This role is responsible for the accurate and timely delivery of supplier orders to the company’s warehouses or directly to consumers’ homes. Inventory manager: This team member keeps track of all products being sold by the store, most importantly ensuring that the number of goods displayed as available on the website actually matches the number stored in the warehouse, to avoid any accidental overselling. Fulfilment team: Fulfilment teams ensure all orders coming from the website and other channels are correct and complete, then locate the items, pack them for shipment, add shipping labels and work with carriers to get the orders from point A to B. Supporting departments may include Human resources which plays an important role in growing an e-commerce business, as they recruit, hire and onboard all incoming talent for the business. In addition, a customer care department for shoppers to receive support with questions, complaints and returns. Examples in practice: New Balance and Fenty Beauty A number of brands are finding success with a more modern, agile e-commerce organisational structure. New Balance, for example, made some big changes in 2021. “We’ve introduced agile into the entire organisation. We’ve developed 90-day sprints, which have allowed us to put together several building blocks that have accelerated our growth ambitions,” said CEO Joe Preston. Fenty Beauty, a D2C brand started by singer Rihanna, is another interesting case study. Rather than entering the market on their own like other beauty brands – Kylie Cosmetics, for example – Fenty was created in partnership with LVMH’s Kendo Beauty division. This allowed the brand to launch on a global scale at 1,620 stores in 17 countries almost instantly in 2017, referred to by LVMH as “the first-ever global beauty launch in history.” Having LVMH as a partner gives Fenty access to global distribution through Sephora, one of the largest omnichannel beauty retailers in the world. This gave the brand quality merchandising and product placement both online and offline right from the start. The pricing puzzle: Where does pricing fit into the e-commerce equation? Nothing is written in stone when it comes to pricing, and the “right” answer will be different for every organisation. At Omnia, we have seen pricing sit within a number of departments, depending on the business: Business Analytics, Marketing, Sales or Buying, for example. For more mature organisations, we tend to see pricing within the e-commerce organisation. Within that e-commerce structure, where exactly does pricing fit, and more importantly, who owns responsibility for it? Having pricing ownership clearly assigned to a specific manager or team ensures the business can meet objectives and nothing falls through the cracks. Operating the pricing platform, especially when using dynamic pricing software where rules are set and pricing can change constantly, is a key role and core to the success of the overall business. Below, we’ll cover some observations from the Omnia team: The roles we commonly see owning pricing within our customers’ teams, and an example pricing structure we see frequently within more mature e-commerce organisations. Pricing roles and responsibilities we observe From our observations of the Omnia portfolio, which ranges from large enterprises to small businesses, we see that the pricing role differs per business size and type. Typically we see three roles: Strategic pricing managers or project managers This person is typically responsible for optimising pricing strategies to maximise the bottom line impact of pricing on revenue and margin. For some, pricing may be one of the focus areas of their role, but does not account for 100% of their time. Often, this person is the decision maker for which strategies will be applied now and in the future, meaning they need to take all social, economical and business decisions into account to initiate the right strategy and measure impact. They may be responsible for planning and initiating internal processes that influence pricing, such as the frequency of repricing, involving other departments like purchasing for decisions on stock, and working with marketing to create promotions. This person may manage a team of diverse people who are pricing specialists, category managers or brand managers who manage the day-to-day pricing strategies and alterations. They may also have an analyst available in their team to monitor and manage results. Operational pricing specialist The pricing specialist often reports to or works closely with pricing managers or the project management team to achieve set business goals. Alternatively, they could be the only responsible person for pricing, reporting directly to the budget holder or decision maker with the ROI of pricing. This role often includes a market research component, using this information along with data on actual customer engagement with products to create relevant reports for category managers, who then take action for repricing. Sometimes, these specialists are responsible for repricing over categories in different territories. This makes them the point of contact internally for questions relating to pricing alterations, and they may need to be able to make adjustments upon request, explain pricing logic and tackle issues. Category manager or brand manager The category manager or brand manager is responsible for a certain set of the assortment being sold within an organisation and is generally responsible for the 4 P’s (Price, Product, Promotion and Placement) to maximise sales and profitability of their products. They will generally have revenue and margin targets as well as stock management responsibilities. These managers are specialists in their own categories. They know their specific markets as well as developments related to their assortments, rules and regulations. They also tend to be on top of all price changes, as alterations will immediately affect their targets. Example of mature pricing organisation Members of the Omnia team have pulled together their observations of how a pricing organisation is commonly structured in a mature e-commerce department. There are three main levels to this structure: Commercial policy alignment: Most of the time, in collaboration with management and all stakeholders, there will be some sort of alignment of commercial policy for different categories and products. Pricing project lead: This person leads pricing across all countries and markets and translates commercial policy into specific strategies, which can then be applied to the pricing software and pricing logic and transferred to local teams. This person is responsible for creating all the pricing rules, which local teams can then adjust according to their own markets. Pricing implementation: This level could include a range of roles responsible for actually putting the pricing strategies and rules into place, as well as localising them for different markets. Local pricing specialists, for example, can implement local campaigns and pricing strategies within the boundaries of the global commercial policy with approval of their pricing project lead. Business or pricing analysts may be available to analyse potential new strategies and to improve results, although these roles are typically shared with other areas and not only pricing. In more complex global organisations, a deployment manager can lead and initiate pricing in new territories and markets. Overall, pricing is highly iterative within these teams and tends to work in a cyclical way. The pricing lead sets the pricing rules, which are implemented and localised by a specialist, then someone analyses the results and that information is sent to the pricing lead and specialist to adjust the rules. Just like dynamic pricing itself, the team is never stagnant, and feedback passes through each level in both directions as everyone works to find the right pricing for each product line. As you build out your e-commerce organisational structure for the first time, or revisit and revise an existing structure, understanding the nuances of this function is essential. Any retail business hoping to succeed in e-commerce first needs the proper structure in place to enable all teams to collaborate and thrive. Omnia would love to hear more about your company’s e-commerce and pricing organisation. Let us know: What does your pricing structure look like? What would you change if it was up to you?

The Pros and Cons of Free Shipping for E-Commerce Businesses

Think back to the last time you bought something online: did you pay for shipping? These days, it’s becoming increasingly likely that you didn’t, either because the chosen seller offered free shipping or because you...

Think back to the last time you bought something online: did you pay for shipping? These days, it’s becoming increasingly likely that you didn’t, either because the chosen seller offered free shipping or because you purposefully avoided online shops that didn’t offer it. The practice of shipping products for free has become standard in e-commerce. The Digital Commerce 360 Top 1000 Database shows that 74.4% of retailers offer some sort of free shipping: 20.4% unconditional for all orders, 45.1% with a value threshold, and 14.5% requiring membership in a loyalty program. It’s no wonder that many businesses believe they must offer free shipping to remain competitive in the market. In reality, it’s not right for every seller. This article will cover the historical context of free shipping and some pros and cons to help your e-commerce business make the right strategic choice on the topic. Have we always had free shipping? Unsurprisingly, free shipping was popularised by e-commerce giant Amazon in the early 2000s. After two holiday seasons of offering free shipping to customers spending $100 or more, the company was considering making free shipping available to everyone, but it was cost-prohibitive. According to Brad Stone in his book The Everything Store, this is how the story played out: “Greg Greeley [a finance employee] mentioned how airlines had segmented their customers into two groups — business people and recreational travelers — by reducing ticket prices for those customers who were willing to stay at their destination through a Saturday night. Greeley suggested doing the equivalent at Amazon. They would make the free-shipping offer permanent, but only for customers who were willing to wait a few extra days for their order. Just like the airlines, Amazon would, in effect, divide its customers into two groups: those whose needs were time sensitive, and everyone else. The company could then reduce the expense of free shipping, because workers in the fulfillment centers could pack those free- shipping orders in the trucks that Amazon sent off to express shippers and the post office whenever the trucks had excess room. Bezos loved it. ‘That is exactly what we are going to do,’ he said.” From there, Amazon started by offering “Free Super Saver Shipping” in 2002 on orders over $99, then $49, and eventually $25. Eventually, this turned into the membership program we now know as Amazon Prime. Since then, free shipping has had its grip on the e-commerce landscape, as it allowed customers to demand convenience and speed from online businesses. It’s grown to become a fairly standard marketing tactic, and is often an expectation of customers. “No such thing as a free lunch” – Free shipping isn’t free It’s worth pausing to remind ourselves that free shipping is exactly what we said above: a marketing tactic. There’s no such thing as “free” shipping, since there are costs associated with sending products from businesses to customers, whether for the initial order or a return or exchange. Postage, supplies and even customs fees or import taxes when shipping internationally all have to be paid for by someone. The reality is that either the business pays for shipping or the customer does. If the business offers “free shipping” and pays for it, that reduces their profit margin. If the business wants the customer to pay for the “free shipping”, then the costs of shipping must be added to the price paid for the products themselves. The question for e-commerce businesses isn’t really whether to offer free shipping or not. It’s whether the price of shipping should be included in the display price paid by the customer, or if it will be charged as an extra fee on top. Pros and cons of free shipping This is clearly a complicated topic, so let’s cover some of the pros and cons of offering free shipping as an e-commerce business: Pro 1: It increases conversion rates Since 59% of online shoppers consider free shipping to be a deciding factor in purchase decisions, second only to price, offering free shipping can boost conversion rates for your e-commerce store. Conversely, charging shipping fees can increase cart abandonment: According to Sendcloud research, 65% of European shoppers left a checkout because the shipping costs were too steep. By eliminating visible shipping fees, you remove a potential barrier to purchase and encourage customers to complete their transactions. Pro 2: It brings in new customers Meeting consumer demand is a significant benefit of offering free shipping. When a potential buyer sees that a product comes with free shipping, it becomes more attractive and makes them feel they are getting a better value for their money. To bring in new customers, businesses have to, at a minimum, meet expectations. Since 80% of consumers expect shipping to be free if they hit a certain spending threshold, and 66% expect free shipping for all sizes of online orders, this can play an important factor in attracting new customers to your store. Pro 3: It encourages loyalty and repeat purchases Once you bring in customers, it’s worth doing everything possible to hold onto them. Retention is cheaper than acquisition, after all. Customers appreciate the perceived value they receive when shipping is free, which can lead to them viewing the overall shopping experience as positive. Satisfied customers are more likely to be loyal, returning to your store for future purchases and recommending your business to others. This impact is amplified even more if your competitors do not offer free shipping. Pro 4: It increases AOV In cases where customers need to meet a minimum order value to qualify for free shipping, this can incentivise customers to add more items to their carts, increasing the average order value (AOV) and boosting your revenue. One survey found that 59% of respondents were willing to increase their order size to qualify for free shipping. If you are going to offer free shipping, general industry advice is to set the minimum threshold about 15-30% higher than your AOV to encourage customers to top up their carts. Con 1: It has cost implications Offering free shipping either means absorbing the cost of shipping orders yourself and decreasing your margins, or increasing product prices to cover the cost, potentially decreasing your unit sales. The second option is usually recommended. Shipping expenses, packaging materials, and logistics can become a significant cost for your business, particularly for large or international shipments. Businesses also need to consider how they’ll respond if shipping rates, for example the cost of postage, increases. Free shipping is even trickier if you sell low-cost or low-margin products. In these cases, absorbing the cost is probably not possible if you want to make a profit, but folding shipping costs into the product price can quickly turn a €2 product into a €6 product. Con 2: It creates sustainability issues Sustainability issues are a huge concern when it comes to free shipping, due to the carbon emissions and waste created when shipping higher volumes, faster, to more locations. According to Earth.org: Product shipping and return accounted for 37% of total greenhouse gas emissions in 2020 When shoppers opt for a fast delivery (e.g. 2-day shipping), emissions are far greater than those generated by in-person shopping or slower delivery options Return rates exceed 30% of all purchased goods, adding to the overall environmental impact of the free shipping offer Con 3: It creates logistical challenges To offer free shipping, businesses must be prepared with the proper logistical capabilities. For example, can your distributors handle the volume you will require? How will returns and exchanges work? What speed of delivery is to be expected? How will you ensure the offer is not being abused by customers ordering and returning products often? All of these concerns are amplified even more for small businesses, who may not have the resources or logistics setup available to larger sellers. Should your e-commerce business offer free shipping? Whether to offer free shipping, and what the parameters for that offer will be, is a significant strategic decision for any e-commerce business. While it is a helpful way to bring in new customers, incentivise repeat purchases and boost the AOV, there are real sustainability, cost and logistics issues to contend with. Before making a decision, businesses should consider the pros and cons listed above, as well as questions such as: Are there any other options besides free shipping that would incentivise your customers even more? What are the parameters for your free shipping offer? Can you take advantage of bundle shipping, where customers wait a few days longer to get their item so it can be included in a larger shipment? How much does your specific customer base actually appreciate free shipping? What does your market research show about their willingness to pay a bit more to compensate for shipping costs? At Omnia Retail, the prices we scrape online and use to develop insights for users are all inclusive of shipping costs. This is because that’s the price the consumer compares in the end, making it the most important to focus on. Learn more about Omnia ‘s pricing software for retailers and brands here.

Saniweb, one of the first to go live with our new pricing software

Press release Omnia Retail - September 2023 Dutch sanitary equipment retailer Saniweb is among the first to go live with a newly developed pricing software version from Omnia Retail, called Omnia 2.0. The company has...

Press release Omnia Retail - September 2023 Dutch sanitary equipment retailer Saniweb is among the first to go live with a newly developed pricing software version from Omnia Retail, called Omnia 2.0. The company has been developing pricing software for more than 10 years, and Omnia 2.0 marks a revolutionary leap in the development of such software. Saniweb has been using Omnia’s SaaS solution in dynamic pricing for several years, and transitioning to a new application offers benefits for a large business like Saniweb. With Omnia 2.0 providing a large set of features and solutions, both teams are celebrating the achievement of a successful migration. Kevin Gomers, Webshop Manager at Saniweb notes: “For several years now, Saniweb has been working together with Omnia with great satisfaction. However, our business never stands still. In the rapidly changing e-commerce landscape, you expect the utmost from your partners, including in the area of pricing tools. About 2 years ago we got in touch with Omnia’s dedicated Customer Success team, where we provided feedback on capabilities we were still missing for our use cases. They took it upon themselves and earlier this year, they presented Omnia 2.0 to us. It's a platform that allows us to translate our strategies into concrete and understandable pricing rules more easily. It's also a platform that collaborates with us, providing new insights to help us further refine our strategy. With our latest webshop, Saniweb.de, we immediately embraced the platform and quickly transformed our clear vision into a well-defined pricing policy. We are grateful to Omnia for allowing us to participate in this beta version. In addition to our German webshop, we will also be transitioning Saniweb.nl and Saniweb.be this summer." For Omnia this marks a big step, as Saniweb is among the first clients to fully transition to the new application. After merging with German pricing software provider Patagona in late 2021, Omnia was working on merging the two technologies into one new-and-improved application. This best-of-breed platform combines the strength of two pricing tools, topped with new, additional features and an improved user interface to better handle dynamic pricing strategies. Omnia is currently in the process of migrating all accounts to the new application, a process that requires planning, in order to guarantee stability in service delivery for its clients. For this reason Sander Roose, CEO of Omnia Retail notes: “ I am more than happy to see this first of many migrations to our new application being successful. This proves the additional value Omnia 2.0 provides to our clients and that we are capable to ensure a smooth transition for our customers.” In addition the combined company has stacked up its team of experts, in order to provide an even better service in dynamic pricing for retail companies. Dedicated Customer Success Managers and a team of Solution Consultants assist Omina’s clients to define and implement successful dynamic pricing strategies.

E-Commerce Brands & Retailers Building Trust with Transparent Pricing

Is there such a thing as too much honesty? In business, and in pricing, opinions differ. The concept of transparent pricing refers to having pricing information readily available and accessible to customers, benefiting...

Is there such a thing as too much honesty? In business, and in pricing, opinions differ. The concept of transparent pricing refers to having pricing information readily available and accessible to customers, benefiting both sides: Buyers can make informed decisions, compare prices and avoid overpaying Businesses can improve trust and loyalty from consumers, win more business and avoid angry reviews However, transparent pricing can also have downsides. What if you’re too honest about how you set prices, and customers decide you’re overcharging them? What if competitors use the information to undercut you? In this article, we’ll explore the role of pricing in the overall marketing strategy and how price transparency specifically is used as a messaging signal to build trust. The role of pricing in the marketing mix The original iterations of the Marketing Mix consisted of four P’s: Product, Place, Promotion and Price. Eventually, this expanded to the 7 P’s and added Physical Evidence, People and Process. While each of these areas is important to build a well-rounded marketing strategy, we want to focus today on the role of pricing and how it can be used as a marketing strategy in and of itself. In past articles, we have laid out two main ways in which pricing strategy influences marketing performance: It determines the volume of the marketing budget It influences how effective marketing strategies can be Both of these are certainly true. The price of a product, and its margin, determines how much revenue the company will bring in and how much funding will be allocated to marketing. The price also impacts how customers view a product in comparison to others in the same category, and the price elasticity of that product should be considered when setting a strategy. However, we would argue that we can build upon the second point to see a third way a pricing strategy can impact marketing: as a messaging signal. What if a brand or retailer chooses to be transparent with customers about its own pricing strategy? Regardless of the specific price levels and strategy chosen, what does the act of transparency signal to customers? The question of whether transparent pricing is the right strategy for e-commerce businesses is not black and white, but it is an interesting option to consider. What is price transparency in e-commerce? First, let’s go over how price transparency actually plays out for e-commerce brands and retailers. Transparent pricing can be utilised in a variety of ways: Telling customers about all the factors that determine the final price they pay. This can include the cost of manufacturing, distribution, labour and other costs, as well as things like shipping, import duties and VAT. Showing price history. Historical price transparency typically involves showing customers how the price has changed over time, whether through one-time discounts and offers or increases and decreases of the RRP (Recommended Retail Price). Comparing prices across the market. Some brands and retailers show a live view of the price across other channels, so customers can make an informed decision about where to buy. Avoiding surprise costs. Companies ensure there aren’t any hidden costs that appear at checkout. The customer is aware throughout the process of the price they will pay. Explaining price changes. If the brand or retailer decides to increase or decrease the price on a product, or across their entire product line, they might explain the reason and data behind this price change. This may serve inadvertently as a marketing tactic, as shoppers may think highly of a brand that is open about their price changes, which could increase loyalty and sales. Following price regulations. In May 2022, the EU implemented a new directive aimed at bolstering consumer protection and their overall knowledge of a product’s pricing. The Price Indication Directive (PID) (part of the updated Omnibus Directive) stipulates that when a trader intends on implementing a price reduction on an item, they must also show the item’s previous price. The original price, prior to the reduction, is presented as the most recent and lowest price at least 30 days prior to the newly introduced reduction. Omnia Retail offers the only Dynamic Pricing tool with the ability to use and display the lowest price over the past 30 days, enabling e-commerce sellers to stay in line with the Omnibus Price. Learn more here. Transparent pricing case study: KoRo Drogerie One well-known example of transparent pricing is KoRo Drogerie, a Germany-based online shop selling a variety of long-life, natural and processed foods, plus kitchen utensils and cooking accessories. One of KoRo’s five basic principles is Fair Prices: The KoRo concept can and will only work if we pass on our cost savings resulting from the above principles directly to you. Quality must be affordable. Especially in this day and age, we are aware that it is easy to compare similar products from different suppliers. That is why it is KoRo's goal to be able to offer a fair price-performance ratio for all our products. Every consumer must be able to rely on KoRo to take care of the price comparison process so that customers can be sure that they have chosen the best shopping option. KoRo has had multiple versions of price transparency over the years. In the past, the company actually displayed price development history directly on the website, but this has since stopped – perhaps an example of too much transparency or not enough pay-off to make the labour worth it. Now, KoRo is using price transparency as part of their marketing strategy. The company announces via blogs when prices change for their product lines – whether prices are increasing or decreasing. For example, this blog from February 2021 (in German) announced an average price decrease of 5.34% due to changes in the market and a new calculation basis. Two years later, they announced prices would increase by an average of 8.5% in February 2023 as a result of high food inflation in Germany. This transparency is an effective messaging strategy, showing customers that the company can be trusted to communicate honestly and price fairly. This is consistent with the general perception of KoRo, which is famous in the German market for their fair and sustainable approach. The company receives a 4,78 rating on consumer trust website TrustedShops.de. Transparent pricing case study: Everlane US-based fashion retailer Everlane illustrates another version of price transparency. At the bottom of every product page, the company breaks down the true cost of the production process. The Poplin Summer Dress, for example, has the following cost breakdown: Past iterations of Everlane’s Transparent Pricing infographics actually included the “True Cost”, as well as Everlane’s final price and the traditional retail price. The brand typically uses a markup of 2-3x, whereas traditional retail is closer to 5-6x. It appears that this part of the infographic is no longer included on product pages, indicating that perhaps the brand decided it was too much transparency. Past Everlane pricing infographic - the bottom section is no longer included Putting pricing transparency into practice Any e-commerce business that wishes to utilise transparent pricing needs to have a solid data foundation from which to build its pricing strategy. Those insights can then enable marketers to make smart marketing choices and build the right messaging around pricing transparency – so the business can use it to increase consumer trust. Whether you should use pricing transparency for your business, and which type to choose, depends on your specific situation. It’s a fine balance: You want to increase customer trust, but you also need to earn a profit. And with some consumer protection laws requiring certain levels of transparency, like the PID and others, it isn’t only a commercial question, but a legal one, too. Transparent pricing has to be managed properly, with the right messaging and data, in order to be effective.

How Established Brands and DNVBs Are Finding Success in E-Commerce

Is there anything that pairs better than e-commerce and direct-to-consumer (D2C) sales? With e-commerce, companies remove the inconvenience of having to go to a physical store, and products are shipped right to the...

Is there anything that pairs better than e-commerce and direct-to-consumer (D2C) sales? With e-commerce, companies remove the inconvenience of having to go to a physical store, and products are shipped right to the consumer’s doorstep. D2C sales models are the perfect pairing: with all middlemen removed, the seller has total control over the customer experience. The only middleman we see is the person delivering our package. In 2023, both established brands and digital native vertical brands (DNVB) are pursuing D2C strategies across a huge range of e-commerce verticals. In this article, we’ll highlight three especially interesting and competitive verticals in e-commerce – Electronics, Sports and Home & Living – and look at the current state of D2C businesses across these areas. Trending Verticals in E-commerce Worldwide e-commerce revenue is projected to reach $4.11 trillion in 2023, with the highest-selling verticals being fashion; electronics; and toys, hobby and DIY. Omnia is especially interested in analysing verticals with multiple retailers selling the same or comparable products that consumers research heavily online. These verticals offer significant dynamic pricing opportunities, since price fluctuations are constant and competition is high. Let’s look at an overview of three verticals that check these boxes. Electronics Consumer electronics continues to be one of the reigning e-commerce champion verticals, with sky-high sales over the last decade and further growth as work from home becomes a more established workplace vision for some professions. It is the second-most popular e-commerce category behind fashion, with expected revenue of $910 billion in 2023, or 22.1% of all online sales. Sports Sporting goods are a fast-growing e-commerce vertical, with 43.7% of sports products being bought online. The sports category is an interesting case, however, because of its high Average First Order Value (AFOV). Businesses with high AFOV need to make a profit on every transaction, because repeat purchases are not as common as other verticals. The AFOV for sports businesses is extremely high, but it has one of the lowest levels of 12-month growth in Customer Lifetime Value (CLV). The sports vertical is continuing to grow in the post-pandemic landscape, with businesses in the US, UK and Europe seeing a boost in revenue and traffic in the first quarter of 2023 compared to the end of 2022. Home & Living As you can see in the chart above, the home category, like the sports vertical, has a high AFOV and a low rate of repeat purchases, putting pressure on businesses to achieve a sufficient profit margin on each product. Home goods have faced some challenges post-pandemic, as people spent less time at home and less money on home improvement. The vertical has been slower to bounce back than other categories in terms of year-on-year revenue change, but businesses in the UK and Europe did see a boost to Q1 2023 revenues compared to the end of 2022. Current State and Outlook of D2C in E-commerce Direct-to-consumer (D2C) brands are continuing to grow worldwide, with nearly two-thirds (64%) of consumers making regular purchases directly from brands in 2022. This D2C wave is present in a wide range of markets: in the US, D2C is forecast to grow to $213 billion USD by 2024; in Germany, D2C revenue was already valued at €880 million at the end of 2021; and in India, total D2C sales was $44.6 billion USD in 2021. There are two types of brands that sell D2C: Digital native vertical brands (DNVB) – Companies that were born online and have a strong digital presence. These companies often sell niche products directly to consumers through e-commerce platforms and social media, bypassing traditional retail channels. Established brands – Companies who have built an established presence, reputation and customer base through various channels, including traditional retail, advertising and other marketing efforts. These brands may have a strong online presence as well, but their roots are often in traditional manufacturing and distribution. In the US, 40% of established brands are already implementing a D2C growth strategy. It’s a headline-grabbing topic of conversation, but how significant is the role of D2C in the wider e-commerce landscape? Estimates from Insider Intelligence said that D2C sales would account for 1 in 7 e-commerce dollars in 2022. And while DNVBs are often the brands capturing media attention, established brands are projected to account for 75.6% of D2C e-commerce sales in the US in 2023. In fact, the D2C online sales for established brands have had a higher growth rate than DNVBs since 2021, although both types of D2C brands still show strong growth. Challenges for D2C Brands Every operator in the retail space faces its own unique challenges, but D2C brands are a unique case. They retain more control over their customer relationship, products, pricing and supply chain dynamics, but they also hold responsibility for the entire end-to-end experience and whether their product makes it into the hands of consumers. Challenges for D2C brands in e-commerce include: Customer Acquisition Costs: Competition for digital advertising space is high, and as a result, the cost of advertising on social media platforms, search engines and other channels can be quite expensive. This can be especially challenging for D2C startups and small businesses with limited marketing budgets. Supply Chain Management: D2C brands typically manage their own supply chain, which can be complex and time-consuming. From sourcing raw materials to manufacturing and shipping products, there are many moving parts to manage. Delays or disruptions at any point in the supply chain can impact product availability and customer satisfaction. Competition from Established Brands: As mentioned earlier, established brands with existing customer bases and sizable marketing budgets can be formidable competitors for DNVB brands. These brands often have more resources to invest in marketing and customer acquisition, and they may have stronger brand recognition and customer loyalty. Customer Experience and Service: D2C brands are often held to higher standards when it comes to customer experience and service. Customers expect a seamless, personalised experience when shopping online, and any issues with shipping, returns or customer service can lead to negative reviews and damage the brand's reputation. Scaling Operations: As D2C brands grow, they may struggle to scale their operations while maintaining quality and consistency. This can be especially challenging when it comes to managing inventory, production, and shipping logistics. D2C Maturity in Key E-Commerce Categories: Electronics, Sports and Home Let’s return to the three e-commerce verticals we discussed earlier. Each of these has its own level of maturity, as well as successful D2C brands, both established and DNVB. Electronics The consumer electronics vertical is relatively mature when it comes to e-commerce D2C sales. Over the past decade, there has been a significant shift in the way consumers purchase electronics, with many people choosing to buy products directly from brands online rather than through traditional retail channels. Established brand: Apple Apple has long used D2C retail operations to drive customers into its “walled-garden ecosystem,” and has made clear its plans to continue investing in D2C. It’s clearly working: the company was able to triple its market value to $3 trillion between 2018 and 2022. DNVB: Anker Innovations Anker, a Chinese mobile charging brand, is considered a pioneering DNVB. While they also sell via Amazon and other marketplaces, a majority of their sales still come from D2C. Sports The sports vertical has been growing more mature with D2C sales, as has been evidenced by the number of new DNVB brands as well as established brands taking major steps to ramp up D2C efforts. Nike, for example, announced in 2021 that they would stop selling sneakers at American shoe store chain DSW, another in a long line of breaks with traditional retail. News stories like these are signals that, with Nike as one driver, the sporting sector is developing and maturing quickly, changes that retailers will need to adapt to. Established brand: Nike Nike has an established presence in traditional retail channels, but the company’s D2C operation, NIKE Direct, has been extremely successful in both e-commerce and brick-and-mortar. In 2022, it accounted for approximately 42% of the brand’s total revenue. DNVB: Peloton Peloton is one of the most successful examples of sporting DNVBs, having been born online before growing across different distribution channels, customer segments, geographies and categories. Home & Living The home and living vertical, which includes product lines such as furniture, cookware, bedding and more, is a strong D2C market due to its low barriers to entry and lack of strong retail competition. Established brand: Ikea Ikea has always been a direct-to-consumer brand, but is not a DNVB due to its brick-and-mortar origins. In the wake of the pandemic, Ikea’s online channels had more than 5 billion visitors and an increase of 73% in e-commerce sales during FY 2021. DNVB: Westwing Westwing was founded to be a “curated shoppable magazine”, where consumers could find beautiful home & living products online. The company is now present in 11 European countries and generated €431 million of revenue in 2022. D2C Brands and Dynamic Pricing Aligning prices with retailers for your entire product assortment is no small feat, which is why dynamic pricing software is so essential for brands who utilise a D2C sales channel. As Roger van Engelen, Principal at A.T. Kearney, told Omnia in a 2018 interview: “In my opinion, brands need to have dynamic pricing before they start selling directly to consumers because it will prevent them from agitating their retail customers. This, in turn, protects brands from triggering a price-markdown war, which helps protect brand price perception.” Keep in mind that most major retailers are already using dynamic pricing software for their e-commerce shops and to ensure products are competitively priced. As a brand, the software can help you follow a market price even within strict limits. No one wants a market-wide price race to the bottom, or to anger retailer partners. To stay better aligned with your partners and pricing strategy, and to start gathering better data on your shoppers, try Omnia Dynamic Pricing free for two weeks.

Is e-commerce prepared for the EU’s new Price Indication Directive?

After its first introduction in 2021, followed by some delays in implementation, the EU’s Price Indication Directive (PID) is being implemented across the e-commerce and retail landscape throughout European member...

After its first introduction in 2021, followed by some delays in implementation, the EU’s Price Indication Directive (PID) is being implemented across the e-commerce and retail landscape throughout European member states including the Netherlands, Italy, Greece, Poland, and others. However, some countries have expressed concern about how the PID will be implemented, considering how vast and segmented the retail industry has become. How will this affect retailers, marketplaces and online stores, as well as consumers going forward? What are the specifications that retailers need to abide by? Omnia answers these questions and provides a solution for retail clients who may be concerned about how to implement this new legislation in an effective, seamless way. What are the PID’s key changes affecting retail stores and consumers? The PID is part of a larger legislative move within the Omnibus Directive towards bolstering consumer protection and transparency between retail stores and consumers. The PID section, which was a piece of legislation first created in 1998, is being updated with new rules to reflect the times. It focuses specifically on new ways of applying and advertising discounts, while the greater Omnibus Directive includes changes to other aspects of e-commerce such as online reviews, personal data, how aggregator websites display suggestions, and more. The PID focuses on ensuring retailers, online stores and vendors on marketplaces aren’t deceptively creating the illusion of a price decrease. Under Article 6a, a discount must be based on the lowest price within the last 30 days prior to the newly-introduced reduction and not a base price created by the retailer/vendor. In addition, when a trader intends on implementing a price reduction on an item, they must also show the item’s previous price. Price Announcements For example, a price decrease can be displayed as a percentage (“20% off”) or as a specific amount (“€20 off”). This can be shown with the previous price in a crossed-out form. Article 6a does not apply to long-term price reductions that shoppers may get with loyalty programs, cards or memberships, but specifically the price announcements. Here, we see how the PID gives transparency to pricing announcements: Before PID: A discount of 10% is announced. After PID: Discount is in fact 0% because the lowest price in the past 30 days is the same price as today. While a trader may usually advertise a discount of 33% (from 150€ to 100€) because it looks like a higher discount, thus incentivising consumers to buy a product, the PID now forces the trader to advertise either a 9.09% discount or not to advertise it at all. This means that as a retailer with an effective pricing strategy, one has to be able to access the cheapest price of the past 30 days and base their advertised discounts on it. More general price reduction announcements like “Sale now on” or “Black Friday specials” are also subject to Article 6a. Retailers, however, can still use general marketing techniques like “Best prices in town!” without Article 6a being invoked. Retailers The PID defines traders to be “any natural or legal person who sells or offers for sale products which fall within his commercial or professional activity”. In a nutshell, this includes sellers on marketplaces but not the actual marketplace itself or similar platforms like comparison shopping engines and aggregators. An example here would be eBay which acts as an intermediary platform between traders and shoppers. However, an intermediary like Amazon is subject to the PID rules when it is the actual seller of the goods or when it sells on behalf of another trader. In addition, Article 6a applies also to traders based outside the EU that direct their sales to EU consumers, including to traders offering goods via platforms. Across the EU, reactions have been mixed Transposition and interpretation of the PID have not been a seamless or instantaneous process for most EU Member States. In early July, E-commerce Europe, which represents more than 150,000 businesses selling goods and services online, held a workshop to discuss its findings on how the PID is being approached by Member States. It showed mixed reactions and concerns, with each country approaching the PID with varying levels of seriousness. Among the concerns were the technical difficulties of indicating the prior price on price tags; how consumers will understand the various prices; how this affects promotional campaigns on items that need to sell rapidly (like fresh food), and the technical issues of displaying the prior price when selling through marketplaces. The countries experiencing the most difficulties were Italy, Sweden, Poland, Finland and Belgium. A number of survey questions were given to Member States regarding the implementation of the PID, with one survey showing high concern: Question: Have you experienced difficulties with implementing the new rules on price reductions? Answers: 10 Member States - Yes, regarding technical difficulties to indicate the prior price on physical price tags in stores. 9 Member States - Yes, it is more difficult to keep track of the prices and establish the prior price reduction. 8 Member States - Yes, regarding the concerns about less compliant competitors gaining a competitive advantage. 7 Member States - Yes, regarding technical difficulties to indicate the prior price in online selling interfaces. 5 Member States - Yes, regarding technical difficulties to indicate the prior price when selling through online marketplaces. How is Omnia taking action for existing and potential clients? In our Omnia 2.0 product that launched this year, our clients are able to have full insights into price history with a feature called the Directive Pricing Indicator. It shows the lowest selling price in the last 30 days on their dashboards so that brands and retailers utilising our product can easily comply with the Price Indication Directive. As the next iteration in our product development, we will make this data available in the setting of pricing strategies. In addition, Omnia plans to show the history of a client’s competitor prices in the last 30 days so that they are aware of their competitor’s pricing moves too. Your partner in price maturity and transparency The new Price Indication Directive will not only add value to the e-commerce experience for shoppers, but it will solidify trust and legitimacy between brands, retailers, their intermediaries, lawmakers and consumers. Transparency within pricing is a vital part of strategy and pricing maturity. As a client of Omnia’s, implementing these price-centric changes is efficient and simple. There is something to be said about a brand or retailer and their respective leaders wanting to improve their impact on the planet. As we’ve known and seen for the last five decades, it would be easy and mostly inconspicuous for a brand to simply continue the production, manufacturing and distribution tactics that are harmful to the environment. Up until recently, choosing sustainable operations within a business has been viewed as optional or as lacking demand from consumers.

How do brands become and stay relevant?

Are there any brands you used to love as a kid that are no longer around? What about brands that have lasted from before your childhood until the present day? Looking at the differences between these long-established...

Are there any brands you used to love as a kid that are no longer around? What about brands that have lasted from before your childhood until the present day? Looking at the differences between these long-established brands and the ones that didn’t last can offer valuable insight for today’s brands: How do you become and stay relevant long into the future? What is the difference between Nokia or Blackberry, who were extremely popular in the early 2000s in the mobile telecommunications category but couldn’t evolve to keep up with the market, and Apple or Samsung, who are the current market leaders to this day? In this article, Omnia identifies some key lessons to be learned from established brands that have stayed relevant over time, as well as highlighting some real-world success stories. Lessons from established brands that have managed to stay relevant 1) Be intentional about your pricing and discount strategy Different brands will approach pricing in different ways, as they should – each one is different. Think of a luxury brand selling high-end clothing: Customers go to this brand with high expectations of quality and status. They also know in advance that they will pay a high price for those goods, and likely don’t expect many discounts. With a low-cost brand that targets more price-sensitive consumers, however, price is the main decision factor, and discounts may be expected more often. Both of these strategies are valid; what the most long-lasting brands have in common is that they are intentional about their pricing and discount strategy. Brands have to consider questions such as: If you offer discounts, how will discounting impact our brand image? Will our customers see us as a discount brand? How will this impact our margins? Is it a viable long-term strategy? What else can we do to ensure our perceived value isn’t tarnished, for example, better service or impressive packaging? If you don’t offer discounts, how can we promote our products without discounting? Should we offer loyalty programmes or find another way to capture data? Should we offer special services to differentiate from other brands? There’s no right answer, although it’s worth mentioning that many brands who choose not to discount can stay relevant and offer value to customers through other promotions like BOGO, free shipping, money-back guarantees, bundling and more. Let’s look at two examples of long-lasting, established brands that have managed to hold onto their reputations in the market – even with different discount strategies. Dyson A household appliances company founded in the UK in 1991, Dyson started by making vacuum cleaners and has grown its product assortment to include hair dryers, air purifiers, bladeless fans and more. The company and its founder, Sir James Dyson, are known for their technological innovation of everyday household products. Dyson heavily leverages brand loyalty and the company’s reputation for high-quality products, which enables them to charge higher prices. While the company does offer D2C discounts on its website, the customer base is willing to pay the premium price point upfront because they know the product will last. Dyson vacuum cleaners, for example, can cost over $700, making it the most expensive vacuum on the market. Ortlieb On the other side, German bike wear brand Ortlieb is well-known in the market for never giving discounts. Because this is an intentional strategy, the company has used it to maintain a strong brand image, along with other benefits like a five-year guarantee, waterproof products and German manufacturing. 2) Remember the product life cycle Successful brands have a deep understanding of their own product assortment and where each offering is in its product life cycle, or PLC. When brands strategically align pricing with each stage of the PLC, they avoid endangering revenue from retail partners and instead price alongside the market. A brand’s pricing strategy over the course of the PLC may look like this: Different groups of products can then be priced according to their stage in the cycle. For example, the maximum discounts set by the brand will likely rise over time and be highest during the decline stage, as the brand sells off product to make room for new assortments. The PLC can also guide distribution strategy. Many brands may want to sell older products through retailers and keep the newest collections on their own D2C channels, enabling the brand to focus on those new product lines. 3) Be careful about competition with your retailer network Many successful brands use a combination of D2C sales and retail partnerships, whether they started with traditional retail strategies and added D2C or vice versa. This is an effective strategy to diversify sales and reach new customers, but it’s important to mitigate the risk of competing with your retail network. There are a number of factors to consider here. One way to avoid competition is by differentiating product assortments between D2C channels and retail. Research from McKinsey shows that brands who get their product assortment right achieve higher sales, better margins, more loyal customers and leaner operations. One example of this is speaker company Sonos, which launched a retail partnership with IKEA in 2019. Sonos developed a line of connected speakers just for IKEA that blended into the home environment: One as a lamp and one as a small bookshelf. The product line is only offered at IKEA, and while it maintains some core benefits of Sonos – high-quality sound and the ability to control through an app – it is differentiated from core D2C offerings, lessening the risk of competition. Sonos VP of brand and marketing Pete Pedersen said this about the partnership: “The best partnerships are always those rooted in respect, admiration and complementary skill sets. IKEA has been a terrific partner and we couldn’t be happier with the collaboration. Together we’ve pushed boundaries on form factors, materials, packaging and go to market strategies. IKEA’s massive global presence has also helped bring Sonos into many new territories where we might not have otherwise been.” It’s also crucial to be cautious and avoid competing on price. Successful brands don’t undercut their own distributors and resellers. For example, if a brand drops a price on any of its products in D2C channels, its retailers will probably follow. Instead, brands that stay relevant aim to keep a good balance; staying up to date and matching prices in the market, but also avoiding sending prices “to the moon”. Dynamic pricing software is key to automatically adjust pricing across channels based on predefined pricing strategies and rules. 4) Build a brand image that reaches different generations To stay relevant as a brand, companies have to build a brand image that resonates and lasts. This means not only building up a culture and community around the brand through marketing, but also ensuring that the younger generations, who will become top spenders soon, continue to find the brand interesting. If a brand relies on the first generation of buyers it has, even if it was highly successful with those buyers, then eventually its customer base will age out and there will be no one left to replace those sales. What kinds of marketing tactics can build up a relevant brand identity that reaches younger generations? Let’s look at Gen Z specifically as an example. This set of buyers expects brands first and foremost to act and market based on their values. Nearly half of Gen Zers say that a brand “appearing trustworthy and transparent” motivates whether they engage or not. Language, acronyms and jokes that are relatable in the present moment are also important, although pushing too hard on this can feel inauthentic or even cringe-worthy. Other marketing tactics that work for Gen Z: Influencer marketing, funny or entertaining campaigns and TikTok videos. Fenty Beauty, Rihanna’s beauty brand, is a great example of building a consistent brand image that grows with its customers and reaches younger generations. Fenty ran a campaign to find a model for a 2023 campaign and asked customers to submit their own content using the hashtag #TheNextFentyFace. This turned every customer who posted into a micro-influencer, while also building up Fenty’s own image as a brand for everybody. 5) Use the right technology Of course, to remain relevant, brands must keep up with current technology and evolve the customer experience over time. Some older brands have a hard time adapting to changing times and technologies, but those are typically the ones that don’t last. Established, relevant brands use technology to build best-in-class online and omnichannel experiences: Personalisation: Utilise technology to gather customer data and preferences, enabling personalised shopping experiences. Implement recommendation engines that suggest relevant products based on customer behaviour, purchase history and demographic information. Mobile optimisation: With the increasing use of mobile devices for online shopping, it's crucial for e-commerce brands to have a mobile-friendly website and dedicated mobile apps. Optimise the user experience for mobile devices to ensure seamless navigation, quick loading times, and easy checkout. Artificial Intelligence (AI): This is especially top of mind in 2023 with the rise of ChatGTP and other large language models. Brands can leverage AI to automate and enhance various aspects of the e-commerce business. Use chatbots or virtual assistants to provide instant customer support, automate customer service inquiries and offer personalised recommendations. AI can also be used for inventory management, demand forecasting and dynamic pricing. Social Commerce: Leverage social media platforms to drive sales and engage with customers. Use technology to enable social shopping features, such as "buy" buttons or in-app checkout options, allowing customers to make purchases directly from social media platforms. Data Analytics: Brands that stay relevant capitalise on all customer data available to them, gaining insights into shopping patterns, preferences and trends. Use advanced analytics tools to optimise marketing campaigns, personalise offers and identify new opportunities for growth. It’s crucial to stay updated on the latest technological advancements, industry trends and available tools. Any brand not paying attention to these may find itself quickly irrelevant. Maintaining customer trust = maintaining relevance as a brand At its core, brand relevance is about winning and maintaining the trust and loyalty of customers over time. To do this, a company must build up its brand reputation and network of retail partners, intentionally choose its pricing and assortment strategies, utilise the right technology and continue to offer clear value to the customer. Do all of this while staying true to your mission, values and who you are as a brand, and you might just be the established brand we’re all using as a success story 10 years from now.

Amazon European Expansion Accelerator: What does it mean for sellers?

Amazon Europe is experiencing a shake-up designed to increase the e-commerce giant’s profits and market share, opening its European sellers to nine new markets across the region. On April 18th, Amazon announced a new...

Amazon Europe is experiencing a shake-up designed to increase the e-commerce giant’s profits and market share, opening its European sellers to nine new markets across the region. On April 18th, Amazon announced a new offering called the European Expansion Accelerator (EEA) which is meant to enable sellers to expand to a list of additional EU and UK stores in just “two clicks and in less than three business days”, the announcement said. Amazon European Expansion Accelerator will affect a range of stakeholders Impact on Amazon sellers According to Amazon, businesses must be registered as a professional Selling Partner with at least one active Amazon Europe account in order to use the EEA. They can then choose which market(s) they want to expand into. According to the company, benefits of the program are: Time and resource savings Expanding business reach Automated scalability Diversified revenue streams It’s clear from the announcement that this new solution is aimed especially at small-to-medium businesses (SMBs), as it discusses being able to expand business with little money or effort. However, some key points were left unmentioned and there are definite concerns sellers should be aware of before using the EEA. First, if sellers are going to be able to cover additional costs like storage, shipping, or potential customs charges, they will have to sell sufficient product volume via the marketplace. Although Amazon makes it sound like internationalisation will be simple and sellers will make quick money, it’s important not to underestimate the advertising budget that may be required. Running ads on Amazon can get expensive, especially in the more crowded verticals, with an average cost-per-click (CPC) of €0,75 ($0.81) while the average for advertising elsewhere falls between $0.05 and $10 (€0,04 and €9,24). Additionally, Amazon only mentioned legal provisions like sales tax very briefly in the announcement, while other major areas like customs were not mentioned at all. For sellers who are considering UK expansion, however, customs will be a significant factor. With the changes brought on by Brexit, the “red-tape curtain" has become very expensive, costing businesses an average of 8 - 9% for both exports and imports of goods and services. Other factors like language translation should be considered as well, as the EEA doesn’t include search engine optimisation for translated texts. There are both benefits and challenges presented by the EEA offering, and sellers should consider both sides before making a decision about whether to participate. Impact on consumers There are currently hundreds of millions of monthly visitors across Amazon Europe stores, and the EEA has the potential to show them more shops, vendors and products than ever before. According to Amazon, there were more than 86,000 third-party sellers with Amazon EU marketplace sales of at least $100K in 2020. This number has likely risen and will continue to significantly grow going forward. How this will affect shopping choices and pricing remains to be seen as the program ramps up. We can assume the range of products available will increase, and pricing may become more competitive for sellers, and attractive for shoppers, as vendors from different regions enter EU stores. Impact on other marketplaces Amazon is likely to see an increase in EU sales with the EEA as new sellers gain access to these markets and consumers have access to more product and vendor choices. However, other existing marketplaces with a European presence, such as Zalando or Bol.com, may see a small decline in investment as sellers expand to the Amazon platform. Leon Curling-Hope, Omnia Retail’s Head of Marketing and Insights, says this of the EEA’s impact on other marketplaces: “I believe that this will be short-lived due to the long-term nature of the Amazon business. We need to take a step back and see Amazon as a marketing platform like Google Shopping, where it forms part of the ‘marketing mix’, but not a silver bullet.” As for how those other sites may react to the changes at Amazon, Curling-Hope observed the challenge for local marketplaces to compete with the retail giant. “Local marketplaces face the challenge of competing with Amazon's vast product selection, efficient logistics, and aggressive pricing strategies. We could see them become or attempt to become more efficient here in one or more of these verticals.” What does this mean for pricing on Amazon? From the seller’s point of view, the EEA has some intriguing potential for better pricing strategies across EU markets. Sellers who use dynamic pricing software will be able to remain competitive in local markets and automatically adjust pricing based on local competition and market signals. We can expect to see more offers on the local market due to the opening of the EEA and the opportunity for more sellers to sell across borders. On Amazon’s side, the EEA is likely to increase the company’s power in the EU and the UK. By analysing their vast amount of data on local demand and competitor pricing, Amazon can adjust its prices to offer the best possible value to customers while maximising profits on their own product offerings. With dynamic pricing software, sellers will remain competitive and quickly spot when new entrants join the market, automatically adjusting pricing strategies accordingly. For example, if a new market entrant from another country has a better product offer in terms of price, this doesn't mean that you need to compete with him on price; you will first want to check on a variety of factors: whether this is a relevant competitor or not, vendor reviews, shipping costs, delivery time, stock levels and more. The pricing rules set by the seller in their dynamic pricing software ensures that every relevant factor will be executed automatically. See how Dynamic Pricing from Omnia can help you automate your pricing strategy across Amazon, across countries and all other e-commerce channels.

The Buyer Journey: Where Do Consumers Start Their Product Search?

In 2023, there are approximately 2.64 billion digital buyers, accounting for one-third of the global population; a huge pool of shoppers for e-commerce brands and retailers to sell to. But competition is fierce, and...

In 2023, there are approximately 2.64 billion digital buyers, accounting for one-third of the global population; a huge pool of shoppers for e-commerce brands and retailers to sell to. But competition is fierce, and with the average conversion rate sitting at just 1.64%, it’s crucial for businesses to do whatever is necessary to get more shoppers to the checkout button. Having a better understanding of the buyer’s journey, and how each online shopper starts their product search, is a key step in boosting conversion and sales. In this article, Omnia breaks down the latest statistics on product searches in the buyer’s journey and offers three ways brands and retailers can capitalise on this information. Breaking down the E-commerce buyer’s journey and product search The buyer’s journey framework can be described with a number of stages, but the simplest version has three: Awareness, Consideration, and Decision. Since we’re discussing specifically how consumers carry out their product searches, we’ll be focusing on the Consideration stage, where someone is aware of their pain point and is looking for the right solution. Where do consumers start their product search? According to research from Jungle Scout, a majority of consumers (56%) in the US start product searches on Amazon in 2023. 42% use search engines and over one-third (37%) use Walmart.com, with the other top sites being social media platforms. The percentage of US consumers starting product searches on Amazon, search engines and Facebook has decreased since Q1 of 2022; while Walmart.com, YouTube, Instagram and TikTok have grown their share. TikTok is the fastest-growing source for product searches, with about 36% more consumers using the app for this purpose compared to last year. TikTok’s user base skews younger, and among Gen Z, 43% are using TikTok to search for products. Another study of the EU5 (Germany, the UK, France, Italy and Spain) and the US found that 66% of consumers start their product searches for all categories on Amazon rather than on Google or other search engines. Out of this group of countries, the numbers were highest among Italians, with 74% using Amazon as their main prodct search engine; and lowest with the French, where 61% search most on Amazon. How brands and retailers can capitalise on the E-commerce buyer journey Looking at the e-commerce buyer’s journey statistics above, there are a number of ways brands and retailers can utilise this information to increase sales and use resources more efficiently. Here are a few areas to consider: 1) Traffic and Conversions The statistics above on where product searches originate is a helpful baseline to see which channels are being used most often by consumers in the “Consideration” stage. Companies should certainly use this information to guide their strategy, but it’s also true that the most successful channels may vary by retailer or brand. Each seller should review which channels are bringing the most traffic and which have the highest conversion rate. These should be prioritised when allocating effort and resources for ads and product listings. However, the strategies utilised on the most successful channels can also be imitated on other sites to reach even more potential buyers. 2) Price Elasticity The channels used by your buyers is a deciding factor in the price elasticity of demand for your products. For example, if you highly depend on Comparison Shopping Engines (CSEs) like Google Shopping, the price elasticity is higher for a number of reasons: product availability, the at-a-glance comparability of offers and the intention of users coming to CSEs to find the best price. If your customers buy directly through your online shop, price elasticity is less elastic, because the user may already be a fan of the brand and is making decisions between product lines rather than focusing heavily on price. However, both may be included in your consumer’s journey, if they first research on the direct brand channel, then watch for the price just before the buying decision. 3) Assortment and Pricing Strategy Knowing the importance of the different channels for your business and products, and their price elasticity, should guide your pricing and assortment strategies and how you price versus competitors. Any brand that has D2C sales needs to differentiate their assortment to avoid competition with their own retailer partners. When assortments are differentiated, such as when certain SKUs are only offered through D2C channels, the lower price elasticity can work in the brand’s favour. Our recent blog on differentiating product assortments goes into this topic in more detail. Meeting customers where they are with an omnichannel experience EuroCommerce, an organisation representing the retail and wholesale sector in Europe, put out their 2022 European E-commerce Report and included the following quote from Director-General Christel Delberghe: “The Covid-19 pandemic acted as an accelerator for online sales, as e-commerce quickly responded to the challenges of the Covid pandemic by ensuring continued access to producers and services to consumers. 2021 saw e-commerce sales continuing to grow, albeit at a slower pace as Covid restrictions loosened up. But consumers, many of whom had not gone online before, have seen the utility and convenience of e-commerce, and preliminary results from a study currently being conducted for us expect online sales to make up an average of 30% of retail turnover by 2030. The consumer journey has completely changed: our customers expect to be able to use various combinations of online and offline interaction. Retailers will have no choice but to invest in making their offering a seamless experience.” Omnia has seen this changing consumer journey in action among the e-commerce retailers and brands we work with. As customers grow to expect a more seamless omnichannel experience, it will become increasingly important to win sales on the platforms where the initial product search begins, whether that be Google, Amazon, TikTok or another site.

How vendor ratings influence consumer behaviour in e-commerce

Picture this: It’s the 1980s. The Iron Curtain hasn’t fallen yet. Hairstyles are big, and punk culture is bigger. There’s no internet yet available to the public. You want to buy something new – maybe a bigger...

Picture this: It’s the 1980s. The Iron Curtain hasn’t fallen yet. Hairstyles are big, and punk culture is bigger. There’s no internet yet available to the public. You want to buy something new – maybe a bigger television to watch all those new cable channels like MTV that everyone is talking about. How do you choose which TV to buy? At the time, you would likely have asked around, collected opinions from family and friends; maybe gone down to the local electronics store to ask the staff for help. There wouldn’t yet be a way for you to instantly compare every television brand on Earth and see what other buyers had to say about them. To younger consumers in the 2020s, this is hard to imagine. Seemingly every website that offers something for sale these days has some type of rating or review system to help you gauge the quality, credibility and price-to-value ratio of any vendor. These ratings influence our behaviour in countless ways, big and small. Today, Omnia is exploring the background of vendor ratings, how much weight they carry among consumers, the impact for D2C brands and more. An overview of vendor ratings, then and now If all consumers knew exactly what they wanted and bought directly from each brand’s D2C shop; if there were no middlemen or comparison tools, then vendor ratings might never have been necessary. But because the e-commerce landscape contains so many brands and retailers, between 12 - 24 million globally, it makes sense that consumers would want ways to compare the different offerings and sellers available to them online. The first online reviews started to pop up around 1999, mostly on sites like eBay. Eventually, there were three main sources where consumers could go specifically for reviews: RateItAll, Epinions, and Deja. Over time, there were further iterations, from Yelp and Facebook to marketplaces like Google and Amazon. The platforms using vendor ratings Marketplaces and comparison shopping engines (CSEs) are both used by consumers around the world to find and compare products and shop online. One survey found that more than 8 in 10 shoppers in the US make purchases on marketplaces at least monthly, while 35% buy on marketplaces at least once per week. Both marketplaces and CSEs connect buyers with sellers, with CSEs having the added role of helping shoppers compare vendors, products and their prices side by side. Along with marketplaces and CSEs, other pure review sites like Trusted Shops and Trustpilot are also popular platforms among consumers. Vendors with high ratings on these sites will often display the badges proudly on their website to demonstrate their credibility. One of the most influential similarities between marketplaces and CSEs are the ratings and reviews, which play a huge role in how consumers choose which vendor to buy from or which product to choose. Along with looking at the price, consumers will consider questions such as: How many ratings/reviews does each competitor have? How high is the vendor’s average rating? Which of the vendors I’m considering has the highest rating or most reviews? How much weight does a review have on consumer decisions? For vendors, the modern day rating or review is a form of word-of-mouth advertising, a name that comes from those friends and family recommendations you might have relied more heavily on before the Internet. Vendors who have earned a positive rating from past buyers are more likely to attract new consumers compared to those with a low rating or very few reviews. From the consumer side, the importance of vendor ratings and reviews, and how they impact purchase decisions, is well-documented: More than 99.9% of consumers read reviews when shopping online On a five-star rating scale, 3.3 stars is the lowest rating customers are likely to consider 96% of customers specifically look for negative reviews 49% of consumers worldwide say positive reviews are one of their top three influences for purchasing a product 91% of younger shoppers age 18 to 34 trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations Importance of reviews by generation The difference in impact of reviews on consumers of different generations is especially interesting. For example, let’s look at review recency: Nearly all consumers (97%) think the recency of reviews is at least somewhat important. Across all ages, many consumers also value the quantity of reviews, but 64% would choose recency if they had to pick between the two. Here’s how that choice differed across generations: The impact of reviews when shopping for costlier products showcases an even wider divide between older and younger consumers. When asked in the same survey if they read more reviews for expensive products, respondents said the following: How relevant are vendor ratings for D2C? Although they sell their products directly to buyers via their online storefronts, D2C brands are not exempt from the importance of ratings. Many also sell on marketplaces and most will have a presence on CSEs, so their ratings will be important and consumers will still want to compare similar products across different brands. Product reviews of comparable products from competitor brands may also have increased importance for D2C. The importance of reviews for different product categories There are also differences in rating impact depending on the product category. According to PowerReviews, electronics is the top product category for review consumption, while consumers purchasing categories like toys, groceries, and babycare rely less on reviews. Source: Power Reviews 2023 Prioritise fixing your ratings first Beyond all of the data points listed above that show the importance of vendor ratings, they also play a role in pricing strategy. However, it’s worth noting that a vendor with bad ratings should first work on fixing those ratings and increasing their quality before focusing on price optimisation. For vendors who have achieved positive ratings and are working on pricing strategies, you can use other vendors’ ratings to optimise pricing across channels. For example, you may not want your pricing software to automatically adjust your price to the cheapest offer on the market; instead, you want it to take into account the offers that are competitive on price and also come from a vendor with sufficient ratings. That way, you avoid a race to the bottom with competitors who aren’t actually at your level. Many vendors wonder how many reviews are needed to make a real impact on sales. There is no magic number; however, the data shows that even one review makes a difference. PowerReviews analysed more than 1.5 million e-commerce product pages on 1,200 vendor sites (brands and retailers) and discovered that when page visitors were shown anywhere from one to 100 reviews, there was a 76.7% lift in conversion compared to those who were shown zero reviews. Vendors with even more reviews saw even bigger increases in conversion: Source: Power Reviews 2023 As for how the average rating itself affects conversion rate, it’s no surprise that as the rating of a product increases, the conversion rate increases as well. Products in the band of 4.75 – 4.99 stars have the highest conversion rates on average. Interestingly, conversion rates drop significantly for 5-star rated products, down to about the same level as products which receive ratings of 3.00 - 3.49. This is because 46% of consumers generally don’t trust 5-star ratings, including 53% of Gen Z shoppers. Source: E-Commerce Fastlane To experience Omnia Dynamic Pricing, which allows you to automate any pricing strategy efficiently and at scale, set up a demo here.

Comparison shopping engines: How to optimise your presence

We live in a world of endless choice, and while the number of options can be exciting for shoppers, it can also be overwhelming. Comparison shopping engines (CSEs) have emerged as a valuable tool for shoppers to make...

We live in a world of endless choice, and while the number of options can be exciting for shoppers, it can also be overwhelming. Comparison shopping engines (CSEs) have emerged as a valuable tool for shoppers to make informed purchase decisions and for e-commerce brands and retailers to increase online visibility and sales. But CSEs are not all the same; some, like Google Shopping, are huge generalist sites covering any product you can think of, while others are vertical shopping sites focused on specific categories. The most popular sites also vary by country, and each population uses them differently. In this post, Omnia discusses what consumers use comparison shopping engines for, the top sites by country, some benefits and challenges of selling on CSEs, and what we expect to see in the future. Consumers use comparison shopping engines to reduce choice overwhelm and find the best price As our global economy continues to accelerate, consumers are faced with an increasing number of choices and opportunities. This means that many consumers are overwhelmed by too many offers that they have difficulty evaluating. This is how CSEs first appeared in the 1990s: influential digital institutions wanted to create a solution that would keep internet users in contact with available products, assisting the shopper in making a purchase while reducing confusion and overwhelm. Comparison shopping engines have now become a significant piece of the tool belt for e-commerce businesses looking to increase their online visibility and boost sales by going head-to-head against the competition. CSEs allow customers to quickly view different products from multiple vendors, compare features and prices, and make informed decisions about what to buy. CSEs are often some of the highest ranking websites in their respective regions, and for brands and retailers selling on CSEs, the sites can increase visibility among shoppers who may not have otherwise found the business or products through other marketing methods. With Google, for example, Google Shopping results and ads appear either above the search results or on the right side of the page, guaranteeing users will see the products first. What consumers want out of a CSE One study cited in the International Journal of Advanced Computer Science and Applications asked respondents to define which characteristics of a CSE would determine its quality: 81% wanted the CSE to find a lower price offer 80.2% wanted the CSE to be easy to use 76.8% wanted the CSE to be accurate in finding the right offer 70.2% wanted to have access to additional information about the offer and/or supplier 58.7% wanted the CSE to also have ratings, comments, and evaluations from other buyers That first statistic is consistent with other studies and the conventional wisdom that CSEs are used first and foremost to find the best price, which makes sense considering that they are also referred to as “price comparison websites” CSEs are used across the world, but the most popular sites and categories vary No matter the country, there are shoppers looking for the best deal, so CSEs have a worldwide presence. Some of the most popular CSEs in European markets include: How CSEs are used varies by location, age group, income level, and other factors. In a study in the UK, for example, shoppers in the 35-44 age range were the most likely group to have used a price comparison website, with 75% saying they had shopped on a CSE before. Source: Statista CSE comparison: Google Shopping and Amazon Google’s CSE arm is Google Shopping, and it’s one of the biggest comparison sites worldwide. Users shop across the platform more than 1 billion times per day, with 36% of all product searches originating on the site. Meanwhile, 49% of all product searches originate on Amazon, which has more than 1.7 million sellers for shoppers to compare. There is a key difference between the two, however, since Amazon is a marketplace. While marketplaces may include some comparison features, such as filters and sorting options, they are not primarily designed to be comparison engines. Amazon has a vested interest in getting customers to the checkout button or, even better, buying their own branded products on the site. Google sees its role differently: In 2021, Google Commerce President Bill Ready said the following on a podcast: “We’re not a retailer, we’re not a marketplace… What we do want to do is make sure that on a Google surface, the user can discover the best products, the best values, the best sellers, and then seamlessly connect to those sellers. Most of the time, that actually means clicking out to that seller’s own website; it is not our goal to necessarily keep the user on our platform.” This is interesting to note for brands and retailers selling on either site, and other CSEs in general, as it indicates the key differences between the goals of the platforms themselves. While any CSE will still monetise the process through ads, transaction fees, or other channels, some such as Google may not take on as much of the responsibility of getting the shopper all the way to the purchase point. Because of this, Google Shopping may be a unique case that does not fit perfectly into either the marketplace or CSE bucket. Benefits and challenges of selling on CSEs While each comparison shopping engine comes with its own pros and cons for brands and retailers, some of the key benefits and challenges to consider are consistent across platforms: Benefits: Expanded visibility: Listing products on CSEs enables retailers and brands to increase their visibility to potential customers who are actively searching for products. Improved conversion rates: CSEs often attract customers who are further along in the purchase process, meaning that they are more likely to convert into buyers. Increased sales: As a result of the increased visibility and improved conversion rates, retailers and brands may see an increase in sales. Cost-effective advertising: Unlike other forms of advertising, CSEs often operate on a cost-per-click (CPC) model, which means that retailers and brands only pay when someone clicks on their listing. Challenges: Increased competition: CSEs are highly competitive marketplaces, with many retailers and brands vying for the attention of shoppers. If some competitors with the same product offer are out of stock, have fewer or worse reviews, or have different delivery options, then the ones leading in these areas can win the best position on the CSE. Those products will be more likely to be chosen by consumers who care about the quality and trustworthiness of the offer. Cost: While CSEs can be cost-effective, the CPC model can quickly add up, especially for smaller retailers and brands with limited marketing budgets. Product data management: Retailers and brands must provide accurate and up-to-date product data to CSEs, including pricing, availability, delivery options and product descriptions. This can be time-consuming and requires ongoing maintenance. Limited control: CSEs can have their own guidelines around product data, and retailers and brands may have limited control over how their products are presented on the platform. One interesting factor that can be both a benefit and a challenge is consumer trust, as it is dependent on the reputation of the specific CSE in general or in a particular market. In the UK, for example, a government study found that while most consumers trusted CSEs at least a fair amount across most measures, trust levels were much lower in two key areas: Half of consumers did not trust CSEs to ensure data is not shared with third parties without permission Four in ten did not trust CSEs to treat all suppliers equally On the other hand, some comparison sites have built up a high level of trust in their markets. Check24, for example, has been operating since 1999 and is highly trusted in Germany. Price is not the only competition factor on CSEs While price is the determining factor of a product’s visibility on a comparison search engine, vendors will not only compete on who has the cheapest price. As we explored earlier, there are other factors that influence the quality and trustworthiness of an offer for consumers. When developing pricing for CSEs, sellers should consider the following factors in their strategies: 1) Filters Sellers should filter who they would like to compare product offers with and who they will adjust prices in relation to. Not every competitor will be as important to each seller; for example, even if a seller has a very competitive price, if they are a small retailer or a newcomer with an unknown name and no reviews, they won’t appear to be as trustworthy to a consumer compared to a well-known retailer the consumer trusts for fast and secure delivery. The seller may want to skip adjusting prices to these companies. 2) Market knowledge It’s important for sellers to know their market and differentiate pricing strategies between assortments and categories. For example, if you sell sporting t-shirts and sporting shoes, each market and product may have a different set of competitors, so a market analysis will be a crucial starting point. 3) Timing of price adjustments If you adjust your prices in the morning at 8am and your competitor(s) adjust theirs at 9am, then your offer will already be outdated after an hour. You can learn this through market observation, which is made simpler with Omnia’s data. 4) Price elasticity Price elasticity tends to be quite high on CSEs, so be aware and, if possible, analyse data for the platform to build the right pricing strategy for your products. Omnia has a feature in place to calculate price elasticity, as well as a process for elasticity accuracy in our software. 5) Seasonality Any seasonal factors that impact your product assortment should be taken into account when setting a pricing strategy. Special sales events like Black Friday will start with a pricing strategy weeks before, while also seeing increased competition. The same goes for Christmas shopping, when sellers need to keep delivery dates in mind for shoppers who want their products by Christmas eve, and how prices might change along with this. Seasonality shapes consumer behaviour and shopping needs throughout the year, so it is a good idea to have important dates and periods prepared for the whole assortment. 6) Channel alignment Aligning the offers you provide on the CSE with all other sales channels will be important for consistency. Considering the specific conditions of each marketplace and CSE in price calculations will lead to different prices. However, having automation and an overall pricing strategy, with rules such as rounding to a particular digit, will help properly represent the vendor in the market and easily master all different channels. The future of comparison shopping: Where do CSEs go next? With the world of e-commerce changing so rapidly, what can we expect of comparison shopping in the future? Increased use of AI and Machine Learning: Comparison shopping engines will increasingly leverage artificial intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning to provide more personalised and targeted search results to shoppers. This will result in more accurate product recommendations and better user experiences. Deeper integration with social media: Comparison shopping engines may integrate more deeply with social media platforms such as Instagram and TikTok to allow shoppers to make purchases directly from these platforms. This could result in an increase in impulse purchases and a greater focus on social media marketing for retailers. More focus on the changing customer experience: CSEs will need to continually adapt to provide a seamless, up-to-date customer experience. This could include developing mobile-specific features and interfaces, such as voice-activated search and augmented reality shopping, as well as loyalty programs or new payment models. Shifting competition: CSEs will face new types of competition as brands and retailers rethink their own selling models. Will more brands choose to sell D2C? Will retailers use their own experience selling branded products on marketplaces to produce their own labels? As costs rise amid inflation and other world events, retailers and brands will look for alternatives to increase profits, which may create competition for marketplaces from new angles. Greater emphasis on sustainability: As consumers become more environmentally conscious, comparison shopping engines may need to emphasise sustainability in their search results. This could include highlighting products with eco-friendly certifications or partnering with brands that prioritise sustainability. Growing regulatory attention: Comparison shopping engines may face increased scrutiny from governments, particularly in the areas of data privacy and antitrust. This could result in greater transparency requirements for the engines and stricter rules around data collection and use.

Pricing: An approach to prosperous business development

Isn’t it a scary thought that 75% of S&P 500 incumbents will no longer be listed on the index by 2027? Due to slow or nonexistent evolvement, Standard & Poor’s data show that the evolution of corporate success has been...

Isn’t it a scary thought that 75% of S&P 500 incumbents will no longer be listed on the index by 2027? Due to slow or nonexistent evolvement, Standard & Poor’s data show that the evolution of corporate success has been dwindling for more than 50 years, stipulating that the average lifetime of an enterprise has decreased from 61 years in 1958 to just 18 years in 2011. Adaption and evolution are pertinent to the success of any enterprise, and no case of this being true is larger than the digitization of shopping. From malls to iPhones, the development of e-commerce has been the funnel for the start and the end for countless brands and retailers. As e-commerce experiences its largest growth spurt in the last three years since 2020, creating the most competitive landscape the industry has ever faced, one factor for e-commerce success has remained strong and true: Price is the number-one profit driver. As correctly stated by Prof. Hermann Simon, the world’s leading expert on pricing and the founder of Simon-Kucher & Partners, just a 1% increase in prices can yield up to 10% in profit. In this article, Omnia will discuss the importance of pricing for an enterprise’s long-term success and will display why a pricing strategy, coupled with a pricing software solution, is simply smart business development. In inflationary times, pricing is the cornerstone for enterprise success For decades, as one of the 7 P’s of marketing - a basic blueprint for retail and brand owners to launch successful products - pricing took a comfortable middle-child spot without enough attention being paid to it. The impressive and explosive trajectory of e-commerce in the last five to ten years has changed that. However, it isn’t just the growth of e-commerce that has directed the light onto pricing, but the very nature of its competitiveness and oversaturation. Consumers have become king, experiencing more options to shop and more capabilities to compare. The retailer no longer enjoys the peace of mind of knowing the consumer has to come to them - quite the opposite. As the balance of power shifted to the consumer, brands and retailers began rubbing their hands together to strategise on how they can capture the customer once more. As the other P’s (product, place, people, process, promotion and physical evidence) became less prominent as shopping moved to a web shop, pricing has become the top factor for consumers when choosing or abandoning a particular brand or retailer. In 2023, following the effects of covid lockdowns, supply chain issues and record-high inflation, pricing is more influential than ever: McKinsey reports that price is at the top of the list of consumers’ motivations to change their spending behaviours. US consumers are switching brands and retailers now more than they did in 2020 and 2021 (33% versus 46%). Furthermore, in PwC’s 2023 Global Consumer Insights survey, 96% of consumers said they intend to adopt cost-saving behaviours over the next six months and 69% have already amended spending on non-essential items. With price becoming so pertinent to consumer spending decisions in inflationary times, it becomes that much more vital for brands and retailers in e-commerce to stay ahead of market changes and conditions while driving revenue and profit upwards. On the other end of the spectrum, it’s not simply consumer buying behaviour that has propelled the importance of price: If one analyses the last decade of e-commerce, it is the powerful monopoly of marketplaces like Amazon, Google Shopping, Zalando and eBay, as well as large D2C online stores, that have developed a sense of control and manipulation of pricing in multiple categories. From electronics to personal care and everything in between, vendors and D2C small-to-medium businesses (SMBs) are contending with lower prices on these giant platforms that they feel pressured to meet or beat. And, without expertise and the right tools, how can they? Amazon has 1.9 million SMBs worldwide as third-party sellers on its marketplace, and owns a 38% majority of the US’s e-commerce market share, showing just how influential one marketplace could be over the pricing of multiple categories. It then becomes imperative that enterprises have access to scraping data and robust pricing rules and technology to remain competitive in an industry largely dominated by marketplaces. Mobilising pricing power Considering how competitive and concentrated the e-commerce arena has become, with marketplaces like Amazon and Google Shopping dominating market conditions, while the D2C stream increases by double digits, how does an enterprise create a forward-thinking, data-driven pricing strategy? How does an enterprise know when to action that 1% price increase so fondly spoken of by Prof. Simon? A Bain & Company global study shows that of the 1,700 retail leaders surveyed, 85% say management teams need to make smarter pricing decisions and only 15% believe they have effective price monitoring tools. The gap is considerable. However, as a McKinsey study suggests, incorporating AI-based pricing into retail pricing and promotion can add a valuable Dollar impact of between $106 million - $212 million, which may go a long way in easing the frustrations of the aforementioned business leaders, as well as their margins. In addition, Boston Consulting Group (BCG) shared in a study of theirs that it may take as little as three months to see up to a 5% increase in profit by implementing optimised pricing. As Prof. Simon also said, “Profits are the cost of survival and the creators of new value,” but, are retail leaders ready to maximise this value that’s right in front of them for their brand and their customers? According to the same Bain & Company study, implementing “new pricing capabilities” can increase the average profit by between 200 - 600 basis points: The crux of mobilising pricing power is knowing that it is not a once-off solution to fixing dismal profit margins, high sales team turnover and waning customer loyalty. Leadership needs to view pricing as the relationship is cannot get out of - and that’s a good thing. Developing pricing muscle and pricing maturity is a multi-year journey with an investment in data, automated processes and talent. Building longevity in value When one thinks about the kind of brain power, talent, hard work and almost indispensability a company may possess to reach the S&P 500 list, it seems inconceivable that a concept as elusive as adaption and evolvement could be its downfall. This goes to show how a simple mindset shift could be the deciding factor of stagnation and dissolution or growth and profitability. McKinsey shares that digitization “has less to do with technology and more with how companies approach development” and that when well executed, “it can unlock significant value by compressing timelines and eliminating duplication or inefficiencies.” As e-commerce technology advances and becomes more intelligent, it is unthinkable that one of the most critical and unpredictable factors - pricing - is not maintained manually. However, not only is the automation of pricing informed by competitor data and market insights necessary to demonstrably meet commercial goals, it is the partner in pricing, not just the software, that is needed.

Meet the Team: Vanessa Verlaan

Name: Vanessa Verlaan Company Role: Chief Operations Officer --- What do you do at Omnia Retail? Ensuring that everyone within Omnia reaches their full potential, building a scalable and engaging company. What is your...

Name: Vanessa Verlaan Company Role: Chief Operations Officer --- What do you do at Omnia Retail? Ensuring that everyone within Omnia reaches their full potential, building a scalable and engaging company. What is your past experience, of working in your position? I have been an air traffic control trainee. It was a very impactful and insightful experience, something I still look back on with a lot of pride and pleasure. What do you like about working at Omnia Retail so far? No matter their background, specialism or seniority, I can learn from everyone within Omnia. Everyone is inspiring, and together we daily raise the bar. What are the values that drive you? Curiosity: I am interested in what drives and motivates people. If I have a different opinion than someone else, I want to understand what reasons are behind it. Not to convince them of my point of view, but to broaden my horizon. Improvement: I am always thinking of how we can do something better, smarter, or faster. In my role, this mindset comes in handy, and it matches Omnia’s Obsession with Excellence value. What are your top favorite books, podcasts, or documentaries? - Powerful by Patty McCord - The Harry Potter books - Documentaries about food and nature What do you enjoy doing when you are not working? I am currently doing a master’s in business administration. But when I’m really off, I enjoy being outdoors with my family. I have a small vegetable garden and enjoy cycling and hiking. Let’s end with your favorite quote! "Seek to understand before you seek to be understood."

Meet the Team: Julian Bieber

Name: Julian Bieber Company Role: Working Student Backend Development --- What do you do at Omnia Retail? My main area of expertise within Omnia is the resource utilization of our databases and jvm based applications....

Name: Julian Bieber Company Role: Working Student Backend Development --- What do you do at Omnia Retail? My main area of expertise within Omnia is the resource utilization of our databases and jvm based applications. In other words, I help to ensure that the processes under the team finish in a reasonable amount of time. What do you like about working at Omnia Retail so far? I greatly enjoy working within a team that provides an environment where learning is a constant objective. Which heavily relies on our ability to confidently recover from mistakes. What are your top favorite books, podcasts, or documentaries? My favorite book series is “Stormlight Archive” by Brandon Sanderson, I am delighted by the world building. What do you enjoy doing when you are not working? In my free time I go bouldering, lift weights, go skating (inline or ice), enjoy the occasional CTF challenge and program some 3d graphics. Furthermore, I enjoy baking various cakes and cookies.

Why Brands Should Curate Their Product Assortment

The direct-to-consumer (D2C) wave continues to sweep across the world of e-commerce, but unlike early examples of D2C brands who started out that way, we are seeing more companies add DTC sales to existing retail...

The direct-to-consumer (D2C) wave continues to sweep across the world of e-commerce, but unlike early examples of D2C brands who started out that way, we are seeing more companies add DTC sales to existing retail strategies. This can be an exciting way to diversify sales channels, reach new potential customers, and boost revenue. It also creates the challenge of brands “competing” with their own retailers, which may be detrimental to the brand-retailer relationship, as well as their product’s overall pricing and competitiveness in the market. To mitigate this risk, brands can differentiate product assortments between their DTC and retail sales channels. According to McKinsey, those who get the product assortment right “enjoy more sales, higher gross margins, leaner operations, and most importantly, more loyal customers.” To help brands understand the importance of assortment differentiation, Omnia explores the various types, their benefits, and how price fits into the strategy. Benefits of product assortment differentiation When brands move toward D2C, they need to differentiate the product assortment to avoid competing with the retailers that sell their products. Why would a D2C brand differentiate their assortments? Manage brand experience – There is more potential to improve the brand experience and build stronger relationships with customers when differentiating product offerings across channels. Increased sales – Brands can see a bump in sales because they are increasing the amount of options available. Decreased cannibalisation – Differentiating products between D2C and retailers can help mitigate the risk of direct competition or cannibalising sales. Data access – Brands often don’t get access to any sales data from retailers, but selling D2C provides more data on what customers are and aren’t buying. Thereafter, assortments can be adjusted as needed. Meet customer needs – Strategically differentiating assortments for different selling environments gives brands the chance to better address customer desires. As reported by McKinsey, a more customer-centric product portfolio could create an additional 2-4% increase in sales. Additional benefits for retailer partners – Access to more data enables brands to improve products, not only for their DTC efforts but also for the products being sold through the retailers. It’s a win-win. Types of product assortment differentiation Mass personalisation 66% of customers expect companies, including brands and retailers, to understand their needs and expectations, and one type of product assortment goes all the way down to the consumer level with mass personalisation. Nike By You is a shining example of this strategy, where consumers can even make and design their own Nike products on a user-friendly website. They also have the manufacturing process in place for those personalised items to be created quickly, so customers could, for example, get shoes in their chosen colours and style in two weeks. The prices are higher than a typical mass-produced product, but for the customers who want to customise items, there’s a lot of margin to capture. Unique SKUs Another type of differentiation is when brands make unique SKUs for specific retailers, where one feature is added or the colour is a bit different. This gives the retailer a unique EAN code and non-matching products, helping to increase their sales and boost the brand’s relationship with the retailer. The assortment is not personalised at a consumer level, as with Nike, but is differentiated for key retailers. German manufacturer Miele is one example of this. Service offerings A third type of assortment differentiation is around the services offered. Some brands sell monthly subscriptions, offer monthly payments instead of one big expense, or provide unique customer service or brand experiences. US Razor brand Gillette launched its own “Shave Club” in 2015 to compete with D2C brands like Dollar Shave Club and Harry’s, and differentiates from its retailers by enrolling members in product giveaways, providing chances to win entertainment and sporting event tickets, and offering a money-back guarantee for unsatisfied customers. Availability of assortment Beyond differences in the products themselves, the chosen assortments and amount of products can also be differentiated across retailers and DTC. For example, ABC Shoe Company sends 60% of its running equipment assortment to e-commerce Retailer X, while Retailer Y receives 70% of the assortment since they also offer a wider assortment of hiking gear. A portion of ABC’s assortment is offered exclusively in its own online shop. In other words, the brand experiments with the breadth of their assortment; the products they make available to different retail partners. An example of this would be Adidas: the company’s product assortment can be purchased to varying degrees across a wide range of retailers and marketplaces, but some product lines – such as the partnership with Stella McCartney – can only be bought directly from Adidas. Categories where assortment differentiation is not the right strategy Some product categories are not built for assortment differentiation; for example, products that can be easily substituted. Think about a FMCG item like razor blades: They are fast-selling and there aren’t as many features where brands can differentiate: people might not care as much about the colour, for instance. Brands just need to create the best razor blade possible for their target audience, because other brands will step in and take those sales if they don’t. Even with products like these, however, differentiation can still be done outside of the assortment with your branding or the services offered in D2C versus retailer sales. Can price be a product differentiator for brands? Price is an important piece of the differentiation topic, partially because it is always relative. Products are highly comparable these days thanks to marketplaces and comparison shopping engines, with the exception of some unique items, and highly transparent in the retail market, enabling consumers to shop around for the best price or compare products with substitutes. There are two main strategies brands use to manage this balance: Comparing to retailers: Samsung compares or sets a D2C price in relation to MediaMarkt Comparing to other brands: Samsung compares or sets a D2C price in relation to LG What’s important to keep in mind is that for brands who sell through both retail partners and D2C, retailers are clients and a competitor at the same time, so it needs to be managed correctly. Price shouldn’t be a differentiator with retailers, but something that should be thought about cautiously and strategically. A fair price relative to your retailers is key to avoid triggering widespread pricing changes across all sellers of your products. Price can be a differentiator with other brands. The price-to-value ratio of the product should be in line with the products of other brands on the market, meaning that if your product is the same quality and a higher price, you haven’t differentiated and the pricing strategy doesn’t make sense. Managing the product portfolio with dynamic pricing Dynamic pricing is a tool that enables brands to automate the management of prices and price perception based on large quantities of data. The system can take in data from both retailers and brands, using the strategy you set to automatically make decisions and manage price. Brands can use this to avoid market collisions; for example, they can quickly pick up on whether an action of theirs caused a price to decrease across the market, and can remedy the situation right away. In a world where brands are frequently selling through a number of channels, especially with the combination of D2C and retail, dynamic pricing can play a key role in boosting sales without ruining relationships with retailers or customers. Interested in seeing how dynamic pricing could impact your product assortment? Schedule a demo of Omnia here.

Developing Average Order Value over time in e-commerce

When you start getting pressure from the top to increase revenue, maybe your first thought as a marketer is to go out and try to win new customers. But there are other ways to boost sales. Instead of investing heavily...

When you start getting pressure from the top to increase revenue, maybe your first thought as a marketer is to go out and try to win new customers. But there are other ways to boost sales. Instead of investing heavily in trying to acquire new customers, you can maximise the value of the customers you already have by increasing Average Order Value (AOV), sometimes called Average Basket Value (ABV). This approach can help you grow your business without proportional increases in marketing, advertising, and other costs. In this article, Omnia takes a look at strategies to increase AOV, external factors that can impact the metric, and how to handle fluctuations over time. Strategies to increase Average Order Value for e-commerce Boosting AOV over time should be a focus point for all types of e-commerce retailers. Why is this metric so important? A higher AOV means increased revenue from the same number of customers, enabling revenue growth without proportionate increases in marketing and sales costs. So, optimising AOV can be a high-impact lever for marketers to drive business growth. There are a variety of strategies that can be employed to increase the AOV for an e-commerce business, including: 1. Upselling and cross-selling One of the most common and effective ways to increase AOV is to upsell or cross-sell the customer, either at the time of purchase or after the purchase has been completed. One McKinsey study found that cross-selling and other techniques for category penetration can boost sales by 20% and profits by 30%. Upselling is the act of inviting customers to buy a comparable, higher-end (i.e. more expensive) item than the one they initially were considering. Cross-selling is the practice of encouraging customers to purchase related or complementary products or accessories. For example, if a customer is buying a camera in your e-commerce store: You could upsell them to a higher-end model or the newest edition. You could cross-sell an additional lens or tripod to accompany the camera. 2. Bundling products or offering discounts on packages Consider creating product bundles or packages that offer multiple items at a discounted price. When a bundle includes items that are i) of interest to the customer and ii) represent a great value, it can increase AOV while also encouraging customers to purchase additional items they may not have otherwise considered. For example, UK beauty retailer LOOKFANTASTIC has a number of versions of “The Box”, bundles for different types of beauty products and special editions like Mother’s Day. A great time to utilise bundles and increase AOV is to create an “all-in-one” package – something that includes everything they would need or want for their desired experience. For example, a food and beverage retailer could sell bundles themed around holidays or events: the Super Bowl bundle, New Years Eve bundle, etc. 3. Implementing minimum order thresholds As customers, we’ve all been there: the online store says you need to spend €8,79 more to get free shipping, so you add something to your cart. Or, maybe you have to spend a certain amount to qualify for a discount on offer. Minimum-order thresholds are a proven way to boost AOV for e-commerce. Offering free shipping or discounts on orders that exceed a certain amount will incentivise customers to add more items to their cart to meet that threshold, and often the amount they end up spending will exceed the minimum you set. Not sure where to start? Digital ads expert Aaron Zakowski suggests setting the minimum threshold at 30% higher than your AOV. That way it feels attainable to the greatest number of customers possible. If you set the threshold too high, there may be an increase in abandoned carts. Extra costs like shipping contribute to nearly half (48%) of abandoned carts, so a properly set threshold is a win-win for both seller and consumer. 4) Creating loyalty programs One strategy to increase AOV while also improving customer retention is to offer rewards or discounts for customers who spend a certain amount or make repeat purchases. This encourages continued business and incentivises customers to increase their order size. All the key metrics – from AOV to retention to profit – are connected, too: One study by Bain & Company found that a 5% increase in customer retention can increase profitability by 75%. Source: Shopify | Data: COLLOQUY 5) Announcing time-limited offers Creating a sense of urgency with time-limited promotions or flash sales can encourage customers to buy more items at once. This can be especially impactful during a low season if such a time exists. For example, if you sell seasonal items like swimsuits, you could offer a winter sale. While swimsuit sales are typically lower during the colder months, a time-limited promotion encouraging customers to stock up before the spring and summer rush might boost AOV during a historically slower period. 6) Personalising the customer experience Personalisation can produce higher AOV as well. 40% of US consumers say that a personalised customer experience led to them making a more expensive purchase than originally planned. The most effective way to personalise e-commerce experiences is through data. Leverage customer data and analytics to personalise product recommendations and marketing campaigns based on a customer's purchase history, browsing behaviour, and preferences. First-party data – the data you collect directly from your customers, like Nike with its membership program – is especially impactful. It enables you to make informed decisions and personalise the customer experience based on things they told you directly. Personalising with first-party data pays off, too. Brands utilising first-party data in key marketing functions achieved a 2.9-times increase in revenue lift and a 1.5-times increase in cost savings. External factors that affect Average Order Value Shifts in AOV are driven by more than the tactics marketers employ to encourage customer spending. The most obvious external factor that impacts AOV is seasonality. This applies both to products with a seasonal element (e.g. swimwear or ski equipment) but also any business impacted by buying seasons (e.g. Black Friday and pre-winter holidays, back-to-school season, etc). Economic disruptions can impact AOV as well. For example, the first COVID-19 lockdowns created drastic shifts in AOV in the EU over the course of just a few weeks. Prior to the spreading of the pandemic, AOV hovered between €90.37 and €82.84. By February 17th, that number had increased by over 25% from the week before to €103.81 per order. AOV then dropped off dramatically following the first European lockdown announcements on March 9th. Source: barilliance.com Another economic factor impacting AOV is inflation. With rising prices, AOV actually increases assuming sellers pass added costs on to consumers – even if total sales take a hit. The chart below illustrates changes in AOV and inflation in Europe from Q4 2021 until Q3 2022. Seasonality can be seen in the drop-off in December 2021, after the peak of Black Friday and the holiday shopping high season. March 2022 shows another drop after a strong February, likely due to the start of the war in Ukraine, consumer uncertainty, and inflation. By April, brands and retailers were already adjusting prices, after which we see AOV increase in following months. Source: Awin Your AOV increased or decreased – what now? For many e-commerce companies, AOV is a fairly steady and predictable metric. However, because of AOV’s potential impact on revenue without proportional increases to marketing and sales spend, it’s a KPI e-commerce companies should continue focusing on. If your AOV has decreased – suddenly or over a period of time – it’s crucial to figure out why, and quickly. Analyse the current tactics being used and why they may not be working. Are your customers no longer responding to tactical nudges that worked in the past? Do you need to update target customer profiles to improve personalisation efforts? Perhaps your loyalty programmes and discount offers are no longer appealing to your target demographic? Trying out new or updated tactics, such as the ones discussed in this article, is a helpful way to shake things up. If the issue is not down to marketing tactics but a product assortment problem, or another major factor like a new competitor entering the market, that will require a deeper analysis and discussion across the company. If your AOV is increasing, great! That means something is working. Analyse which tactics are having the biggest impact, and double down on those. If some techniques are not contributing to the increase, switch them out for others to see if you can boost AOV even more. Increase sales to people with existing purchase intent By concentrating on Average Order Value, you are able to capitalise on customers that have already expressed purchase intent. These visitors have already shown that they want to buy, and may even have products in their shopping cart. It is then easier for you to help them discover additional or higher priced items that are relevant to their needs. The loyal customers will continue to boost AOV over time, as 57% of consumers say they spend more with brands they’re loyal to. Optimising for Average Order Value is about increasing the value for those who already spend with you, a helpful complement to any new customer acquisition strategy. This way, customers who spend more money on your site will get more in return.

Amazon moves to cut distributors to improve profits

In a bid to increase annual profits, Amazon is actively severing its relationships with third-party sellers. From 15 January 2024, as an email from Amazon to third-party sellers suggests, the e-commerce authoritarian...

In a bid to increase annual profits, Amazon is actively severing its relationships with third-party sellers. From 15 January 2024, as an email from Amazon to third-party sellers suggests, the e-commerce authoritarian will be pursuing partnerships with brands directly, squeezing brand owners out of their relationship with distributors if they want to remain on the online marketplace. Source: Consulterce - LinkedIn Amazon has experienced a downturn in sales and ad revenue from merchants in 2022, compared to the pandemic years of 2020 and 2021. “Amazon is trying to increase profit margins in its retail division at all costs right now,” says Martin Heubal, a strategy consultant who used to work for the tech giant and who helps Amazon vendors achieve growth on the platform. Bloomberg News reports that the platform’s advertising sales growth was shaky all throughout 2022, which affected its profit margins. In addition, Amazon’s sales growth was at its slowest over this period, resulting in new strategies to increase profits. Other game plans to boost profits include the recent layoffs of 18,000 employees, which is the largest in the company’s history. In addition, it was announced in early January that three warehouses in the UK would be closed down as a part of their downsizing procedures. What’s the impact on brands and distributors? Amazon suggests this new procurement strategy is to cut out the middleman and lower costs for consumers, however, this strategy suggests a broadening of the monopoly they have within online retail to force brands to choose between growth and profit with the marketplace or moving with their distributor who is being cut out. In the US, 40% of all online shopping is done on Amazon, which means 40 cents of every dollar a consumer spends is shopped on Amazon. Many brands may find that because of this grasp on consumer spending power, they may have to choose to do business directly with them, leaving their partnerships with distributors null and void. To add salt to an open wound, their business models and distribution strategies will be turned on their heads, while third-party sellers struggle to stay buoyant. In the same email, Amazon said distributors can still sell these products directly to customers on Marketplace, however, this will require price changes that will affect both the distributor and the consumer. Typically, distributors sell in bulk at a lower price, which benefits all parties. By having to move from B2B to D2C, a distributor will have to factor in new costs and strategies. As 15 January 2024 approaches, brands have tough decisions to make As we know, 1P (first-party) brands lose many commercial freedoms when selling on the marketplace such as price setting. As we have seen in the past, once Amazon gains market share within a vertical and control of the client, they can dictate a price. So, is this a good move, long-term, for consumers and brands? Alternatively, if brands have other D2C channels, are they enough to maintain the same profit margins? Omnia’s Founder and CEO, Sander Roose, shared that the larger problem is this decision by Amazon will create many complexities for brands. “All of a sudden, brands will have new things to learn and new decisions to make. For example, how will the working relationship play out with Amazon after years of having longstanding relationships with their distributors? Should they sell 1P or 3P? How, and to what extent, should they use Amazon ads to fuel sales? What will the process be when Amazon starts making changes or demands about prices or inventory? This, I believe, is the main setback for those brands.”

Meet the Team: Melissa Cron

Name: Melissa Cron Company Role: Junior Consultant --- What do you do at Omnia Retail? I’m in the Junior Consultant traineeship so I will be rotating through different functions within the company. I’m currently in the...

Name: Melissa Cron Company Role: Junior Consultant --- What do you do at Omnia Retail? I’m in the Junior Consultant traineeship so I will be rotating through different functions within the company. I’m currently in the Customer Success team where my main goal is to help our customers gain the maximum value out of Omnia. This comes with building new and existing relationships, understanding our customers’ pricing needs, and translating them into our tool. What is something people in your industry have to deal with that you want to fix? Nowadays the internet is saturated with retailers and brands selling online which, as a consumer, can overwhelm you with the number of choices available. Now imagine this from the seller's perspective: they need to monitor their competitors and quickly adjust their own prices based on all this information while taking into account their own pricing strategies/goals. Without a tool like Omnia, this can become an extremely tedious, time-consuming, and manually-intensive task. What is your past experience, of working in your position? Regarding my educational background, I hold a BSc in Economics and Business Economics from Maastricht University, and an MSc in Strategic Management from Erasmus University Rotterdam. After my studies and before joining Omnia, I moved back to Thailand and worked as a Customer Service Officer in the automotive department of a microelectronics manufacturing company. What do you like about working at Omnia Retail so far? Each day presents a different challenge so there is always something new to learn. I feel that the bar is set very high within the company, which encourages me to do my best. The company values are something important to me and they really are instilled in everything we do. Last but definitely not least, my colleagues are great; they’re a fun bunch and always there to lend a hand or support when needed. What are the values that drive you? Honesty, empathy, integrity, and kindness What are your top favorite books, podcasts, or documentaries? - The Twilight Saga - The Surgeon: A Rizzoli & Isles Novel - Favorite documentary: Inside Job What do you enjoy doing when you are not working? I have recently taken up baking which is quite fun (although the cost of ingredients nowadays has me questioning this hobby). Besides that, you will probably find me on the couch looking online at the many restaurants in Amsterdam I would like to try, reading non-fiction books, or watching TV shows (usually reality TV shows or The Office on repeat most of the time). My resolution for this year is to be more physically active, but that is still a WIP. Let’s end with your favorite quote! “You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take” - Wayne Gretzky

Meet the Team: Anas Anjaria

Name: Anas Anjaria Company Role: Backend Engineer --- What do you do at Omnia Retail? I work on new features, product stability, streamline development process etc. What do you like about working at Omnia Retail so far?...

Name: Anas Anjaria Company Role: Backend Engineer --- What do you do at Omnia Retail? I work on new features, product stability, streamline development process etc. What do you like about working at Omnia Retail so far? I love the working culture, Munchie-mittwoch, and my colleagues here. Whenever I am stuck somewhere, there is always someone to help me out. Apart from work, I meet some of my colleagues and we spend time together (for instance cooking together). What are the values that drive you? Working culture, good development processes, opportunity to work on new stuff & challenges. What do you enjoy doing when you are not working? I share my experience via blogging.

D2C in 2023: What we predict and recommend for brands

In 2019, as a retailer, a D2C brand, or a pricing expert; if you heard the statistic that, in 2022, 64% of consumers will make regular purchases directly from brands, you’d likely wonder what could possibly take place...

In 2019, as a retailer, a D2C brand, or a pricing expert; if you heard the statistic that, in 2022, 64% of consumers will make regular purchases directly from brands, you’d likely wonder what could possibly take place in between those years for D2C shopping to become the majority choice for consumers. Direct-to-consumer, commonly called D2C, has jumped leaps and bounds in the last few years thanks to the traditional relationship between brand and retailer experiencing a reckoning with covid-19 lockdowns and closures that spanned two years. In essence, the new face of D2C e-commerce was born out of a need for survival amongst brands, from tech to fashion, who were staring down the barrel in 2020 with closed retailers, supply chain issues and sitting stock. On the other end, stay-at-home consumers were searching for a way to receive goods directly to their homes. Today, D2C sales, including established brands and digital natives, are estimated to reach $182.6 billion in 2023 and, overall, D2C sales have increased by more than 36% from 2020 - 2022 in the US. Despite these successes, D2C - both online and offline - has also suffered from the global inflation crisis of 2022 that left brands contending with 10.1% inflation in the UK, 6.1% in France and a 31.7% increase in energy prices across the EU. Facing increased competition, residual inflation, and a crackdown on sustainability practices, how does D2C fare for 2023? As we explore this growing sector of global e-commerce, Omnia looks to paint a portrait of its current state, as well as our predictions and expectations for the year ahead. Established brands will dominate revenue in 2023, showing the major shift big brands have made to D2C Despite showing impressive growth over the last few years, revenue for digitally-native vertical brands (DNVBs) will take a backseat to the more established brands that have made the move to D2C in recent years. In 2023, digitally-native brands are expected to earn $44.6 billion in revenue while established brands will earn much larger revenues, taking home $138 billion. In 2024, these numbers are expected to rise to $51 billion and $161 billion respectively. However, that doesn’t mean any less focus should be placed on the digital side of a brand’s sales stream. Although it is notable to see how well digitally-native brands are doing in the retail landscape, it is more noteworthy to see just how many established brands have made the move to D2C while some have circumvented the retailer route altogether at inception. Tech and home appliance brands like JBL, Phillips, Dyson, Bosch, and Miele, and sports brands like Nike, The North Face, Patagonia, New Balance and Under Armour have gone D2C - and these are just a handful of international brands that are making the move. In Europe alone, D2C e-commerce has grown by 23% between 2021-2022, with Germany leading the way as it remains Europe’s most sophisticated nation regarding logistics, infrastructure and a supply chain network. In addition, 57% of multinational companies worldwide gave “significant financial investment” in their D2C strategy, while another 31% added “moderate investment”. In the US, the amount of D2C brand consumers are set to increase to 111 million shoppers in 2023, making up 40% of their population. Globally, D2C-specific shoppers are at 64%, up 15% from 2019. Source: Insider Intelligence - D2C Brands 2022 Why more consumers are choosing D2C over retailers When we see brands experiencing double-digit growth in their D2C channels, we know it’s because consumers have been making a conscious and active decision to go to the brand they love and trust directly. According to Statista, the leading reason consumers choose to shop directly from a brand, at 49%, is better pricing. In second place is free delivery at 47% and free returns at 35% in third place. Free delivery and returns were made industry-standard by Amazon before the covid-19 pandemic arrived, and have become the expectation of most consumers who specifically choose online shopping over a retailer for the reason of convenience and speed. Source: Statista 2023 However, despite what many consumers think that they are getting a cheaper price directly from a brand, this is often not the case, which is why brands need a thorough dynamic pricing tool to offer a better price - not always the cheaper one - for the brand’s consistent growth. As Omnia`s pricing data show, the necessity for a dynamic pricing solution is twofold: Brands have to contend with their entire retailer network. On average, a brand’s product will be sold by more than 1,000 shops on multiple marketplaces and comparison shopping engines in a national market, which the D2C channel must compete with. Secondly, prices are volatile; meaning that on average the lowest market price for a third of all products for any assortment will either increase or decrease on a daily basis. A dynamic pricing tool gives a brand the ability to react to market changes and consumer demands. The need for market insight is, therefore, vital for a brand. D2C in 2023: In the face of increased competition, new brands will need to find a way to stand out Gymshark, a UK-based sports apparel brand founded at first, in 2012, to digital customers only, has been labelled as a “challenger brand” for one simple reason: It’s found success in creating products around neglected areas within sportswear; one of them being the interests of the everyday gym-goer, instead of the successes of famous athletes. Nike, Adidas and Reebok, who have largely encompassed their ethos, identity and marketing around the famous athlete, from Rafael Nadal to Shaquille O’Neal to Cristiano Ronaldo, have peddled the dream of sporting victories to billions of consumers who - for the most part - can’t or won’t achieve that level of sporting success; although it is nice to fantasise. Instead, Gymshark looked to focus their communication and overall identity on the wants and needs of the daily sport-lover and gym-goer who has a 9-to-5, or a family at home. In addition, the brand has focused on creating gym wear that isn’t only for model-like physiques or for fully able-bodied consumers. The online store shows people one would actually be sharing the leg press machine - not Tiger Woods. Now valued at €1.39 billion only a decade after its inception, the lesson that Gymshark can offer longstanding brands with a D2C channel is to not tell consumers to challenge the status quo with sharp taglines (“impossible is nothing”; “just do it”) but to actually do it themselves. By 2025, the sportswear market across the globe will be valued at €395 billion, with a growth rate of 8-10 percent, showing just how much potential there is within the market to rise above the fray. “Activewear start-ups have found success by creating hyper-specialised products and marketing to local communities first,” reports Business of Fashion. Not dissimilar to Gymshark, Off-White, the brand created by Virgil Abloh, learnt to fill an almost non-existent high-fashion-meets-streetwear gap. The creative director sadly passed away in 2021, however, his vision for meeting a misunderstood or neglected part of the streetwear market caught the attention of Louis Vuitton which led to his appointment as the luxury brand’s menswear artistic director in 2018. Off-White is still in production today. “In a large part, streetwear is seen as cheap. What my goal has been is to add an intellectual layer to it and make it credible,” said Virgil. Strategic partnerships are also part of Off-White’s game plan to succeed in this niche, collaborating with both ends of the spectrum - from Jimmy Choo to Levi’s to Sunglass Hut to Nike. Whether a brand is within the activewear or luxury category or not, we see opportunities for D2C players to focus on a niche in their segment or, like Gymshark and Off-White, look at the needs of consumers buying from those categories to see where they aren’t being met. How D2C brands can prioritise long-term success and growth in 2023 Rely less on digital marketing spending for growth In the early years of Facebook and Instagram, it was easy for brands to rely on sizeable marketing budgets to push growth. As consumers consumed content that was both organic and paid for, brands could rely on these platforms for sales and awareness. In addition, digital marketing on these channels used to be more affordable than it is today: On average, the cost per impression (reaching one person equals one impression) on Facebook cost $14.9 in 2021 versus $7.8 in 2019. The cost to advertise also gets more expensive if there are more ads within a segment, making the increasing competition among D2C brands in food, clothing, or tech even more costly. The smarter alternative to funnelling funds into digital marketing is to have an all-rounded approach that involves social media with user-generated content, tips and “how-to” video content; strategic partnerships with brand ambassadors; personalised email marketing and subscriptions; as well as omnichannel in-store experiences. How D2C brands spend money to acquire customers matters over the long term with strategic, disciplined spending being better over the long term. Focus on quality customer data British mathematician Clive Humby said in 2006 that “Data is the new oil”, which is a statement that has proven to be true over the last few years. Research firm Magna Global found in a study they conducted that 83% of consumers are willing to share data - such as retail preferences, location, age, and marital status - to access discounted or personalised services. In addition, McKinsey reports that 80% of consumers want personalisation from retailers, which is a lesson the D2C sector could learn using customer data. Using quality customer data, D2C brands can build stronger relationships with customers, based on their personal preferences, when it comes to new product launches, sales, returns and delivery, and more. D2C can also optimise pricing and product assortment, as well as help brands understand the customer journey online. Hire the right talent Finding and retaining quality talent will be key to achieving long-term D2C success. From branding to e-commerce to digital to customer experience (CX/UX), having professionals and experts in these arenas is a non-negotiable point. Firstly, companies can look to see who, in the team, has the knowledge, credentials and skills to push forward the D2C agenda while offering them leadership positions or promotions. Another way to secure strong talent is to acquire professionals from existing scale-ups that have shown to be strong competitors in the market. First-party data and underserved niche markets will be D2C’s best friends in 2023 Over the last three years since D2C experienced its most growth, we’ve been pleasantly surprised at the sector’s resilience, considering it is up against e-retailer and marketplace behemoths like Amazon, eBay, Bol.com, Walmart, and Target, as well as social commerce marketplaces under the Meta title. Both brands and consumers have shown an almost stubborn competitiveness in forging their own way within retail and e-commerce. However, 2023 will not come without its challenges for D2C brands: Gaining and implementing strategies with first-party customer data will become more vital for growth while Apple and government regulators work to make third-party data a thing of the past. In addition, as the competition increases within D2C, brands will have to find ways to rise above the fray to stand out. In categories like skincare, beauty, or sports apparel where mostly established brands own the customer, new and emerging D2C brands should grab underserved niche markets by the horns.

From Zara to Adidas, the state of design infringement in the fashion industry

The line between creative inspiration and infringement can be thin, dotted, or invisible at times. This was one of the lessons that Adidas had to learn this month when it lost its $8 million lawsuit against American...

The line between creative inspiration and infringement can be thin, dotted, or invisible at times. This was one of the lessons that Adidas had to learn this month when it lost its $8 million lawsuit against American fashion label Thom Browne over the use of parallel stripes in their designs. The German sportswear giant, who filed the lawsuit in 2021 saying that Thom Browne’s use of the stripes infringed on their trademark logo, believed that the use of the striped design was “confusingly similar” to the one presented in their logo. In 2020, global fashion brand Zara was sued by a smaller luxury label, Amiri, for copying a design of jeans without permission to use the design that included pleated leather panelling and zippers around the knee; after which the two brands decided to settle. And, more recently, French luxury brand Hermes has sued NFT artist Mason Rothschild for creating and selling NFT digital images of their famous Birkin bag, saying that the name of his work, entitled “MetaBirkin”, appropriated the Birkin trademark. At the crux of these lawsuits, along with many others, is a conundrum of creative expression, trade infringement, artistic licence and consumer confusion that affects D2C brands both small and large. As the fashion category within retail is so often pushed forward by something as ambiguous as creative expression, is there a defined lane that brands must stay inside of to avoid causing a fashion collision? Are fashion and beauty brands blurring into a homogenous cauldron of shared creativity? Do fast-fashion brands like SHEIN, Revolve, H&M and Zara get away with copycat behaviour because of their overall size and influence in e-commerce? Copyright and intellectual property laws may favour fast-fashion giants “Designers could not claim protection for any and all sweaters simply because they happen to make sweaters. But they can copyright the creative aspects of their work that make it different from the norm, such as a unique pattern,” says lawyer and Editor-in-Chief of The Fashion Law Julie Zerbo. “The reality is, in most cases, it's perfectly legal to knock off a dress design,” says Zerbo, which is why Amiri’s case against Zara resulted in being settled out of court as Zara made the case that the skinny jeans were “generic, ornamental and not distinctive” enough for Amiri to act on protectable trade dress rights, according to their legal representatives. In a similar instance, Nigerian designer Elyon Adebe found a replica of one of her crochet sweaters on SHEIN, the Chinese fashion brand that is the most-installed shopping app in the US; which seems to have copied the design and the colour scheme. The handmade garment was priced at $330 while the sweater on the e-commerce giant was priced at $17, catering to the Generation Z (aged 11 - 26) market that has largely contributed to SHEIN’s success. The copied sweater was removed from SHEIN’s website after Adebe posted about it on social media. The fact that many fast fashion behemoths are able to infringe, borrow or take inspiration from smaller D2C brands without much financial or social recourse leans toward a point made by Eleanor Rockett, author of the academic paper “Trashion: An Analysis of Intellectual Property Protection for the Fast Fashion Industry” published for the University of Plymouth, who said fashion is an industry “with copying at its heart” but further thickens the grey area when saying, “Intellectual property protection must strike the appropriate balance between inspiring innovation and restricting imitation.” She also references a theory that suggests copying spurs on innovation instead of stifling it, by saying that the more a trend or design goes viral, the faster it becomes irrelevant, in turn making for ripe conditions for more design innovation. European copyright law offers wider protections than in the US Rockett states how lax the intellectual property laws are in the US, which is supported by Zerbo’s thoughts above, and that the openness of them actually encourages copying and hastening the fashion cycle so that new designs can be made. In Europe, however, the requirements needed to be protected by copyright law offer far more coverage in the sense that there are only two requirements to meet: The design’s originality. It must be proven it is the creator’s own intellectual property The design must have the ability to be expressed in an exact and objective manner by an individual American law only offers protection if there are distinguishable features on the garment while European copyright law gives brands and designers wider protection. For example, in 1994, French luxury label Yves Saint Laurent (YSL) sued Ralph Lauren for copyright infringement. YSL’s dress was black, full-length, made of silk, had gold buttons, no pockets and a narrow lapel. The Ralph Lauren dress was black, full-length, made of wool, had black buttons, included pockets, and a wide lapel. YSL still won despite the dresses in question having unique characteristics, and took home €323,000. Are fashion and beauty brands blurring into a homogenous cauldron of shared originality? Shared originality - something that can’t quite technically exist but is tending to spread within fashion and beauty retail. Just this week, Nike sued Lululemon for patent infringement, accusing Lululemon of using some of Nike’s flyknit technology in their lifestyle sneakers. Although both brands produce sportswear and lifestyle shoes and clothing, their markets, branding, identity, ethos and marketing strategies are completely different; however, something that used to be a uniquely Nike product is now - kind of - Lululemons too. In addition, prior to this, Lululemon did not include any shoes as a part of their offering, making the fly knit look-alike their first venture into offering sneakers. In the past, Adidas has been accused of using fly knit technology in their Primeknit shoes too, adding fuel to the fire that proprietary designs and formulas that are used, borrowed or outright stolen make for a market that lacks individuality. While the shoes may not look similar, it is the fly knit technology patented by Nike in 2013 that Lululemonhas allegedly infringed upon, which is a knitted textile used in Nike's running shoes. Credit: @lululemon Instagram Credit: @Nikerunning Instagram Eventually, will everything look the same to consumers? Because branded items are losing their distinctiveness, consumers may opt for an item that looks similar to one they truly want, but is cheaper, thus increasing the competition within pricing. Brands are now not only competing on a product level, but on a pricing level because said products are becoming homogenised. The same can be said within beauty which has seen an explosion in market saturation in the last five years. If Chanel and MAC release liquid concealers within just a few months of one another that both offer pore-blurring technology, the product is no longer bespoke and the consumer can begin to choose a winning product on a price level, pushing forward the snowball effect that stepping on another brand’s proprietary technology only leads to a price war in the market. Although brand individuality is blurring, consumers can enjoy the unintended benefits When it comes to pricing, it works in the consumer’s favour when brands with similar products compete; keeping prices steady for shoppers. If there was no competition in pricing, there would only be monopolies; stifling opportunity and competition for new, smaller brands. When Andrea Saks from “The Devil Wears Prada” was on the receiving end of a scathing monologue from Miranda Priestley, played by Meryl Streep, for making a snarky comment about high-end fashion, she learnt that the “lumpy blue sweater” she was wearing wasn’t an exemption from the fashion industry, but very much a cog in the machine of it. Priestley's point was that fashion is not only cyclical, but shared, easily influenced and even more influential. Fashion is an industry full of brands and trends that either intentionally or unintentionally step on each other’s toes when it comes to designs, formulas or technology; all in the name of attracting and holding consumer demand. This is not to say that trademarks are up for grabs, and brands have the right to protect what they have built. Ultimately, the consumer must decide how they go about navigating the flock of brands that are all starting to look like doves and this is at times where dynamic pricing for D2C brands plays the biggest role for the consumer.

The Evolution of the Beauty Industry in 2023 and Beyond

Consumers who enjoy shopping from the beauty category have long been used to two main pillars to choose from: Luxury brands like Dior or Yves Saint Laurent, and drug store brands like Revlon, Essence and Catrice which...

Consumers who enjoy shopping from the beauty category have long been used to two main pillars to choose from: Luxury brands like Dior or Yves Saint Laurent, and drug store brands like Revlon, Essence and Catrice which are found in pharmacies. Recently, a third pillar, made up of new-age makeup and skincare companies such as Drunk Elephant or Fenty Skin, has arisen and shown intimidating potential to the status quo within beauty. However, alongside the wave of new beauty brands aiming to disrupt the industry with reformed ingredients and packaging policies, there has also been an increase in the number of famous actors, singers and social media influencers who have released beauty products and skincare lines, overwhelming the industry as a whole. It begs the question of if there is enough space for all of them to thrive. It also takes us to another point: Do we really need another celebrity beauty product? How are these new beauty brands different? And, are long-standing luxury brands affected by the hype about indie brands? Here is a look at how the world of beauty is doing in 2023 and beyond. The rise of celebrity and “Instagram” beauty brands For decades, the only association celebrities or supermodels had with makeup or skincare brands was the fact that they were the face of it: Kate Moss for Rimmel; Cindy Crawford for Revlon; or Beyonce for Neutrogena. Nonetheless, there was a defining knowledge amongst consumers that this was not their personal brand but simply an endorsement. Since around 2015, however, the rise of brands created and owned by celebrities include ranges from Kylie Jenner, Rihanna, Selena Gomez, Ariana Grande, Kim Kardashian, Jennifer Lopez, Victoria Beckham, Pharrell Williams, Kate Moss, Scarlett Johansson, Hailey Bieber and now even Brad Pitt and Travis Barker have entered the field. With a revenue industry expected to be $571 billion in 2023, endorsements and campaigns are no longer what celebrities want - they’re more interested in owning a piece of the billion-dollar pie that industry leaders like Kylie Cosmetics, valued at $1.2 billion, and Rihanna’s Fenty Beauty, valued at $1.4 billion, have managed to gain. Charlotte Palermino, a qualified esthetician and the co-founder and CEO of Dieux, a US skincare brand founded in 2020 that focuses heavily on sustainable ingredients and packaging, says, “It feels like there is almost no thought to the execution but that the main goal is to simply make money,” in reference to the haul of celebrity beauty brands. This trend has coincided with the growth of platforms like Instagram and TikTok that make for well-oiled machines that directly reach millions of consumers each minute of the day. The Instagram account for Fenty Beauty received more than 45 million engagements (likes, comments, shares) on its posts in the year of 2021 while the account for Kylie Cosmetics received over 64 million. And, remember, this is just one of the many social media platforms that celebrities are using to attract a loyal fan base for growth and revenue. Instead of paying for an expensive TV advert to run during prime time viewing, celebrities simply photograph, film and post from their personal and branded Instagram and TikTok profiles, which is not only essentially free to create but allows the everyday consumer into the lives and beauty routines of the ultra famous. For celebrities, this combination has catapulted their brands into the same stratosphere that long-time brands like Covergirl and L'oreal have existed in for decades in a short period of time. An Instagram beauty brand is not the same as selling on Instagram When we talk about Instagram beauty brands, we’re not simply referring to brands that are sold on the platform. Beauty has experienced a radical surge in new brands being born out of the Instagram era which means aesthetics, beautiful packaging, and even font selection are vital to the virality of a product. Instagram beauty brands are minimalistic, sleek, and colour-coordinated, with a focus on not trying too hard to impress. In addition, how strategic a brand is with their Instagram feed layout adds to the virality and legitimacy of it. Instagram brands have a larger focus on being photogenic so that consumers will want to follow and mimic their page, and ultimately buy their product. There is also a stronger focus on connecting to consumers on a deeper level by posting user-generated reels and tutorials to show how the product can be used by anyone at home. We see here how Fenty Skin, which is part of Fenty Beauty, uses a minimalistic design for the packaging and sticks to a particular colour scheme in their content strategy. Above is Beauty of Joseon, a Korean beauty brand that gained rapid popularity on Instagram between 2020 - 2022 thanks to its simplistic branding and cleanly-curated feed. Here we see Rhode, the skincare line from Hailey Bieber, which remains true to the ‘Instagram brand’ philosophy of uncluttered packaging, post-worthy selfies and lifestyle shots, a modern font, and a dedicated colour scheme. What new beauty brands are trying to get right Clean Beauty For decades, established beauty powerhouses have made little to no effort to improve their sustainability efforts and to answer questions on their animal testing policies. However, in the last five years, the trend of “clean beauty” has skyrocketed like a bullet out of a gun, forcing older beauty houses to contend with new, indie brands that make clean beauty central to their identity, marketing and long-term strategy. To be clear, clean beauty refers to products that are cruelty-free, vegan, sustainably made, and with ingredients that are safe for you and the environment. Beyond that, clean beauty may involve excluding ingredients like fragrance which can be irritating to the skin, as well as toxic ingredients that may be carcinogenic. Sustainable Production and Packaging Outside of the bottle, sustainability within packaging is a large focus for indie brands. However, it’s not as simple as ensuring your packaging is plastic-free or recyclable. Indie beauty brand leaders constantly have to walk the tightrope of creating a product that not only does what it claims to do, but remains within a respectable price range for consumers, all while having to factor in the cost of eco-friendly and ethical production processes, delivery, and packaging. Despite these challenges, new-age beauty brands have much stronger policies on eco-conscious packaging, using materials like paper, glass, airless packaging, and aluminium, compared to the global behemoths that have dominated beauty practices for the last century. Sustainability as a core element of a brand’s identity has also become essential to consumers, as a THG Ingenuity study shows that 74% of consumers are willing to pay for more for a skincare product that has sustainable packaging. Direct to consumer In 2023, the total amount of online sales completed in the beauty and personal care market is estimated to be 27%, and is expected to increase to 33% in 2025. Of that, 63% of online purchases will be done via a smartphone instead of a laptop by the same year. With this growth rate, more consumers are choosing to engage with a brand directly instead of heading to a large beauty retailer. It is no surprise, then, that most new-age beauty brands have started out with a D2C ecommerce-only model before even considering moving to brick-and-mortar retailers. They have bypassed the traditional ways brands would typically get lift-off within a market by recreating the rules for themselves. In this sense, D2C brands can receive first-hand data on what their shoppers like and dislike; they can pick up the pain points of the online shopping journey; and they have full control over their packaging and delivery practices. Should luxury brands be worried? Luxury brands have seen fads within beauty before when every celebrity from Britney Spears to Jennifer Lopez had their own fragrance in the early 2000’s, however, this trend was premised on a cultural obsession with celebrities, supermodels, tabloids and their lifestyles. In 2023, things are different: Two key factors for a successful beauty or skincare brand are transparency and authenticity. Actor Jared Leto told Vogue Magazine that he “has never been interested in beauty products,” and then released a body care line with 12 products. With new celebrity brands popping up at least once a month, consumers end up feeling overwhelmed, confused and frustrated facing a saturated market. As the up-and-down hype of a new celebrity brand comes and goes, consumers will want to turn to something trustworthy and made of quality, and this is where luxury brands have a chance to shine by reaffirming their relationship with consumers. Regarding indie brands such as Drunk Elephant, Dieux, Glow Recipe and The Ordinary, luxury brands may have to step up their efforts to be more sustainable and transparent about their production processes, who make up their C-Suite, how their packaging is made and more. For the most part, luxury brands have thrived on having an air of mystery and exclusivity about them which may no longer work for younger consumers. The more transparent you are as a brand, the more millennials and Gen Z shoppers, who make up the bulk of the consumer pool, will trust you.

Meet the Team: Jolene Ekuam

Name: Jolene Ekuam Company Role: Junior Consultant --- What do you do at Omnia Retail? I am undertaking the traineeship program at Omnia. Currently I am part of the sales team, working as a business development...

Name: Jolene Ekuam Company Role: Junior Consultant --- What do you do at Omnia Retail? I am undertaking the traineeship program at Omnia. Currently I am part of the sales team, working as a business development representative. My day to day responsibilities involve vetting the leads that we receive from our marketing team's efforts and generating new business from right fit prospects. What is something people in your industry have to deal with that you want to fix? I feel quite strongly about the topic of closing the gender gap in Tech. Future solutions are being developed by tech businesses, which are progressively influencing the course of humanity. The issue is that there are not enough women in these positions, especially in senior leadership positions, which poses a threat to exclude half of the world's population from discussions that will determine our shared destiny. I hope to one day influence and encourage young women like myself to venture into the tech industry. What is your past experience, of working in your position? My educational background is in economics and management, I graduated with a Bachelor in Business from Monash University in South Africa. Thereafter I moved to the Netherlands and pursued my Master studies at the Maastricht School of Management. Alongside my studies, I also did an internship at a health-tech startup based in Delft. What do you like about working at Omnia Retail so far? I really like the company culture and my colleagues at Omnia. We are a very diverse bunch and we embrace each other's diversity. I enjoy the flexible work arrangement whereby one can choose whether to work from home or from our office at Amstel. What are the values that drive you? Empathy, Self-reflection, Integrity and Loyalty What are your top favorite books, podcasts, or documentaries? Books: Martha Beck – The Way of Integrity Podcast: Oprah's ‘Super Soul’ podcast (for inspiration) & Adelle Onyango’s ‘Legally clueless’ (for relatability and a good laugh) Documentary: Beyonce's Homecoming (this interview would not be complete if I did not find a way to include Queen B!) What do you enjoy doing when you are not working? I love seeing and experiencing new things, I love to travel and explore new places and meet new faces. I am always open to trying out new activities or new cuisines whenever I can. I love to experiment in the kitchen with different recipes and soon I hope to start taking acting classes which I used to love when I was younger. Let’s end with your favorite quote! “Knowledge has to be improved, challenged and increased constantly, or it vanishes.” - Peter Drucker.

Meet the Team: Yuqiang Liu

Name: Yuqiang Liu Company Role: Backend Developer --- What do you do at Omnia Retail? The team and I maintain the retrieving process of offers from web, ensure stability and accuracy. What is something people in your...

Name: Yuqiang Liu Company Role: Backend Developer --- What do you do at Omnia Retail? The team and I maintain the retrieving process of offers from web, ensure stability and accuracy. What is something people in your industry have to deal with that you want to fix? It will help reduce communication cost to have up-to-date visualized structures of projects, microservices, pipeline automations, etc. Graphviz is strongly recommended What do you like about working at Omnia Retail so far? Besides interesting and challenging work, I like the great people here and the culture of free-to-be-you-and-me. Not only friendly and welcoming, I also feel close like family. What are the values that drive you? Becoming a better me every day. What are your top favorite books, podcasts, or documentaries? 1984 – George Orwell The unbearable lightness of being – Milan Kundera The little prince – Antoine de Saint-Exupéry What do you enjoy doing when you are not working? Cycling., the passion I have found again in Omnia. Encouraged by other cycling lovers in Omnia, I’m going to participate in a bike marathon this year, over 200 km. Yeah, good luck to me :-) Let’s end with your favorite quote! “Plato is dear to me, but dearer still is truth.” – Aristotle

What is Price Skimming?

Price skimming is a pricing strategy that can facilitate a higher return on early investments, influence the branding and appeal of a product, and allow a brand to target specific segments of a given market. Brands use...

Price skimming is a pricing strategy that can facilitate a higher return on early investments, influence the branding and appeal of a product, and allow a brand to target specific segments of a given market. Brands use price skimming to optimize revenue and margin across the lifecycle of a product, skimming off market segments. Furthermore, it helps maintain a better ROI regarding research and product development. Customers who are most loyal or seek premium products are more likely to pay top price. The subsequent skimming allows lower price points to attract the rest of the market. In this guide, you’ll learn: What is price skimming? Price skimming strategy Price skimming vs penetration pricing What are the advantages and disadvantages of price skimming? Ways to compete against predatory pricing and gain e-commerce sales What is Price Skimming? Price skimming is a pricing strategy often related to innovative and high-demand products. Brands set a high price ceiling for new products due to market analysis and consumer demand. The top layer of loyal customers buy at high prices. A retailer then pivots to accommodate new layers of consumers by slowly lowering the price over time. Retailers continue in skimming pricing until it levels-off at a base price. Retailers initially set prices high due to demand and then slowly “skim” the price down as the novelty of the product decreases and accessibility to it increases. Samsung uses price skimming strategy in regards to its mobile phones. When customer demand is high due to a new release, the price is set to attract the most revenue. After the initial fervor and hype wanes, Samsung adjusts price points to suit more consumers in the market. Samsung initially leverages price skimming to take market attention and share away from their main rivals. For example their Galaxy phones were priced to take share away from the iPhone. Price Skimming Strategy Price skimming involves targeting top-level consumers, those who buy at premium prices. Lowering price ensures a brand aligns price points with more customers. Nike, a serial manufacturer and retailer of shoes and clothing, applies price skimming to popular trainer releases. This is done by charging premium prices for new products and limited releases. Brand’s at the top of their market like Nike, have no trouble setting prices high. High prices are warranted by the demand for its trainers and loyalty to the Nike brand. Months after a release, Nike lowers prices to accommodate more layers or subsets of customers, those who are more willing to buy the product at a sales price. The dynamic between online and offline sales adds another layer of strategy. Retailers need to align in-store and online prices, for the Ropo Effect (research online buy offline) may increase in-store sales. Price Skimming vs Penetration Pricing Successful retailers remain agile regarding pricing strategy, for setting prices low or high can be fortuitous. Price skimming and penetration pricing differ in application despite being equally useful. Penetration pricing involves setting a lower price point as compared to market competitors. It allows a brand to gain exposure in a crowded market, quickly gaining market share via consumers looking for sales prices. Penetration pricing also helps attract new users, introduces brands to a market, competes with market leaders, and helps in acquiring market share. Often, the strategy is paired with price monitoring software for optimal timing and performance. Related Reading: Why Price Is the Most Important P Price Skimming Advantages 1 - Supply and Demand & ROI Premier products necessitate preparation and early investment. High price points in combination with low supply, for example the introduction of the PS5, helps recuperate earlier investments and ensures an overall better ROI. As the products availability increases over time you would then expect to see the price decrease as the demand decreases. For example, Apple invests a lot of money into technology and research. That warrants the premium pricing of its iPhones. The high prices akin to price skimming allows Apple to reinvest the higher return on investments back into the brand, which helps strengthen its branding. 2 - Brand Image “Sneakerheads” may pay more than 10x the retail price for a pair of popular trainers. Ownership equals prestige, novelty, and limited accessibility to them. Price skimming inspires consumer feelings and behavior that sculpts a brand’s image. The Adidas brand’s Predator football boot has gone through many iterations over the years due to its popularity. The soccer boot was first introduced in 1994. Last year, Adidas released the Predator 20. 3 - Market Analysis Retailers celebrate price skimming because it segments customers for deeper market analysis. Skimming allows marketers to segment customers into groups. Analysing what percentage of a given market paid premium prices is useful information to use for future products and pricing strategy. At the moment, Sony may consider price skimming in regards to its PlayStation 5. Early adopters and brand fanatics gladly paid premier prices for Sony’s newest release. However, data reflects a trend. Sony lowered the price of its previous PlayStation products over time. Sony sold more PlayStation 4 consoles in the third and fourth year after its release than the first two years on the market. It’s likely that Sony, observing a rising trend in gaming combined with its previous sales data of PlayStation consoles, initiated a price skimming strategy. (Source: https://camelcamelcamel.com/PlayStation-4-Console/product/B00BGA9WK2) Related Reading: Amazon Success Strategies 4 - Pricing Strategy Price skimming is an element of a larger pricing strategy. Some brands leverage price skimming for ROI and market analysis, but skimming price can be beneficial as a way to further inform a brand’s broader price strategy. For example, Nike had very modest sales goals in mind upon releasing the very first Air Jordan trainers. At the time, a “sneakerhead” or the thought of paying hundreds of dollars for a pair of trainers were nonexistent. The subsequent cycle of setting premium prices for new releases followed by loyal customer purchases created Nike’s brand mystique. Price Skimming Disadvantages 1 - Pricing Objectives Price skimming recuperates early investments and creates a mystique around a product or brand. But, it can potentially alienate early adopters too. Emotional appeal can help or hinder a brand. Lowering the price of a previously high-priced item may irritate early adopters. The lowered price affects early adopters, and it also means that more people are likely to own a product. That lessens its sense of prestige and exclusivity. Consider long and short-term goals along with possible reactions from loyal customers. In 2007, the price of that year’s must-have gadget, the iPhone, was lowered from $599 to $399. This enraged early adopters to the point that Steve Jobs had to make a public apology and offered $100 Apple store credit to any iPhone owner who felt “cheated.” Related Reading: How to Build a Pricing Strategy 2 - Reality Check Price skimming is an incredible pricing strategy available to those offering high-demand products. Luxury brands, like Gucci and Louis Vuitton, command high prices for its highly sought clothing and accessories. These brands are at an advantage in having more leverage in setting high prices that rarely come down. A major disadvantage of price skimming is that many brands don’t have the ability to implement it. However, Dynamic Pricing software delivers the data to make real-time pricing decisions a lot easier. 3 - Relative Competition The decision to wage price skimming is often relative to a retailer’s competition. Setting prices high can inspire customers to buy from competitors. Price changes rarely go unnoticed by the competition! Consider launch prices related to Xbox and Playstation products: Annually, Xbox and PlayStation are compared. And, price is always a main focus. Any pricing maneuver from Sony is sure to be closely monitored and countered by Microsoft (and vice versa) for years to come. Utilizing retail tools, such as Pricewatch, enables you to get real-time data pulled from a competitor’s website as well as shopping search engines. Conclusion Price skimming is another tool retailers leverage to gain market share and crush competitors. Used in combination with sophisticated pricing software, skimming prices can be tremendously advantageous. Recover a greater return on initial investment, position products to attract premier buyers, gain greater awareness regarding customer segmentation, and use data to inform future pricing strategies. Curious to learn about some other pricing strategies? Check out some of our other articles below. What is Value Based Pricing?: A full overview of how price and consumer perception works together. What is Charm Pricing?: A short introduction to a fun pricing method What is Penetration Pricing?: A guide on how to get noticed when first entering a new market What is Odd Even Pricing?: An explanation of the psychology behind different numbers in a price. What is Bundle Pricing?: Learn more about the benefits of a bundle pricing strategy What is Cost Plus Pricing?: In this article, we’ll cover cost-plus pricing and show you when it makes sense to use this strategy. Here’s What You Need to Know About Psychological Pricing (Plus 3 Strategies to Help You Succeed): Modern day pricing is so much more than a numbers game. When thought about correctly, it’s a powerful way to build your brand and drive more profits. How to Build a Pricing Strategy: A complete guide on how to build a pricing strategy from Omnia partner Johan Maessen, owner of Commercieel Verbeteren.

Analysis: Prices on Zalando drop by up to 23% over Black Friday

Despite slow performance expectations for Black Friday 2022, retailers and marketplaces around the globe proved once again how well a shopping event like Black Friday can do - even in the face of record-breaking...

Despite slow performance expectations for Black Friday 2022, retailers and marketplaces around the globe proved once again how well a shopping event like Black Friday can do - even in the face of record-breaking inflation, energy and food costs. The small and medium tech and domestic products categories, such as TVs, toasters and headphones, showed the largest price drops while consumers wanting to make good use of the discounts arrived in full force with their wallets in hand. Results in the US showed a 2.3% increase in online sales compared to 2021. In the Netherlands, data from credit card translations and online sales showed a 12% increase in purchases while spending increased overall by 30% in the week leading up to Black Friday. As an event, the most successful retailers and online marketplaces like Zalando have learned how to get the most out of consumers and their vendors using competitive pricing strategies. As Omnia works to provide critical data and information to our clients to better serve their pricing approach and to increase their knowledge of online marketplaces, we’ve taken a look at how Zalando, one of Europe’s biggest online marketplaces, managed its pricing on Black Friday 2022, as well as before and after. Zalando’s pricing before, during, and after Black Friday Our team analysed 10,000 product prices on Zalando across multiple vendors within various categories, however, with a specific date range surrounding Black Friday, which took place on 25 November. As shown below, Zalando’s prices increased by 8% in the three weeks leading up to Black Friday, starting on 25 October. Then, there is a significant price drop by 18% on the 17th, signalling the start of Black Friday week. The decrease in prices reached its highest amount with a drop to an average price level of 85.5 % on Sunday, 27 November. This means that prices have fallen by 23% (compared to a pre-Black Friday level of 108%) in just one week. After Cyber Monday, prices returned to pre-Black Friday numbers which were still higher than prices in October. Price Level on zalando.de over time, Source: Omnia Retail Data Price Level on zalando.de: For the analysis, the prices on the first day of the observation on 25 October mark the reference point (100%). From there our data shows that the price level (on average for all observed products) is increasing until 16 November. A turning point is 17 November: From a price level of 108%, the average price level dropped to 85.5%, which marks a relative drop of 23%. To win the Buy Box, price became the top driver for vendors We have observed additional dynamics in the price-change frequency over the Black Friday period which leads us to believe that Zalando implemented repricing strategies to create a stronger sense of competition for the Buy Box: In our methodology, a price-change ratio of 0% means that the price never changes A price-change ratio of 100% means that a price always changed at any observation time stamp (which was every 15 minutes). A price-change ratio of 1.5% meant that a price would change once per day. Over the Black Friday period, this ratio climbed to 7% on average, meaning that the price would not only change once every 24 hours, but it would change once every 5 hours. Source: Omnia Retail Data Usually, to win the Buy Box, the top driver has never been about price: Over the same observation period, 25% of products had a maximum of one vendor change in the Buy Box and 7.4% of products had no change at all despite 56% of these products showing price increases. Even in the three weeks leading up to Black Friday, the Buy Box owner never changed for 28% of all products. This shows that, historically, price is likely not the main driver for winning the Buy Box, however, during Black Friday, Zalando’s pricing strategies brought pricing to the forefront as a top factor, instigating lower prices and stiffer competition. In the graph below, one can see Zalando’s Black Friday pricing strategy at play: Source: Omnia Retail Data Outside of competition scenarios, the Buy Box is less about price and more about convenience If price is usually not the determining factor for winning the Buy Box, regardless of competition scenarios, what is? Speed of Delivery Our data suggest that delivery times are vital to remaining in the Buy Box. To win the Buy Box, a vendor must have a maximum delivery time period of four days, which becomes even less when the number of vendors per product increases. In other words, the more competition there is for a certain product, the more important convenience becomes for the vendor and ultimately the customer. Availability of Stock As seen below, the Buy Box change ratio when all products are available is at 2.1%. However, when products are unavailable up to 24 hours, the change ratio doubles to 4.09%, showing just how vital availability of stock is to winning the Buy Box. As a vendor, it is essential to have consistent levels of stock, otherwise your chances of losing the Buy Box is much higher. Source: Omnia Retail Data Unlike Amazon, Zalando leaves competitors wondering about their Buy Box strategy As an online marketplace, Zalando’s focus remains within the fashion market, attracting 48.5 million active customers across 25 European countries, earning a revenue of €10.5 billion in 2020. Zalando claims not to have a Buy Box like Amazon in an attempt to distance itself from the image of a platform where prices change within minutes due to the high competition among vendors: “We do not want to enable a price war. Therefore, only one vendor offers a product. If more vendors offer the same product, convenience decides who is listed on the platform. This is calculated by an algorithm on the basis of factors such as shipment speed, trustworthiness and return speed. There is no pressure on price to win any kind of Buy Box,” says Zalando’s VP of Direct to Consumer Carsten Keller. Nevertheless, as a marketplace, Zalando opens its platform to third-party sellers just like Amazon does. According to their website, 800+ partners are active in their partnership model entitled “Zalando Fulfilment Solutions”. This means that, in some cases, more than one retailer, including Zalando itself, is offering a product on the platform. And this, as the above statement indicates, leads to a situation where the platform has to decide which offer is listed and shown to the end consumer. Finally, this is where we can speak of a Buy Box offer similar to Amazon’s, as the principle of a product being offered by multiple vendors on the same platform is the same. If Zalando is not open about its Buy Box strategy, how can vendors benefit from Omnia’s services? A vendor selling on Zalando is able to retrieve all available data from the platform into Omnia’s software as a direct scraping source. As the website does not show competitor prices, the data will nevertheless be useful to run an internal data analysis shedding light on what pricing strategies can be useful on Zalando. With Zalando as data source, the retrieved data can be used within different sets of pricing rules. Vendors need to have a robust pricing strategy for Zalando In times of high spendings, such as over Black Friday and the Christmas festive season, vendors need to prioritise a number of factors, from stock levels to delivery times, as well as competitive-based pricing to make the best of their real estate on Zalando. As seen from the above data, price is not historically the most important factor for Zalando’s Buy Box, however, Black Friday 2022 proved that the marketplace is willing to adjust its commercial values to create an environment where lower prices will result in more spending.

Meet the Team: Melissa Castelyn

Name: Melissa Castelyn Company Role: Financial Controller --- What do you do at Omnia Retail? I am responsible for most of the operational work in the finance department. This stretches from debtors and creditors...

Name: Melissa Castelyn Company Role: Financial Controller --- What do you do at Omnia Retail? I am responsible for most of the operational work in the finance department. This stretches from debtors and creditors control to month-end closing, year-end closing, reporting, invoicing, payments and any other financial related items that the business needs. What is something people in your industry have to deal with that you want to fix? Finance work is historically quite manual, but with tools like PowerBI and Python, I believe the way finance departments run can be much more automated. I would like to find and implement these ways and tools that are available and transform the way finance works. I also feel strongly about mitigating mental-load in the workplace. There is a lot of research on how the way of work can affect your mental load, and in turn your stress levels. By using better ways of working, communication and task-management in departments and across whole businesses, this can be reduced significantly. There really are some brilliant schools of thought on this topic, as well as very innovative software and tools that can be used. What is your past experience, of working in your position? I am a South African Chartered Accountant (=bAcc degree+masters+3 years articles+board exams). My articles were completed at Africa’s biggest retailer, a corporate company called Shoprite Checkers. During those 3 years I moved through the whole company, seeing almost every department. I stayed on for another 3 years in various departments, after which I made the move to the Netherlands, starting off at a media start-up for 2 years before landing at Omnia. What do you like about working at Omnia Retail so far? The way of working and culture really makes it a great place to work. Everyone is given full trust from day one and this really creates a sense of ownership. I enjoy the freedom that we are given to be who we are and fulfil our roles in ways that work best for us as individuals. What are the values that drive you? Self-reflection, honesty, trust, loyalty, ingenuity. What are your top favorite books, podcasts, or documentaries? A fine balance - Rohinton Mistry Human Kind: A Hopeful history - Rutger Bregman Culture Map – Erin Meyer What do you enjoy doing when you are not working? I love travelling, especially to places by the sea, so that I can have a daily swim. When in Amsterdam, I enjoy a lot of yoga, dinners with friends, going to the theatre and live performances. I am also learning Spanish as an extra language and have weekly online tutor classes. Let’s end with your favorite quote! “If you think you are beaten, you are. If you think you dare not, you don’t. If you’d like to win, but you think you can’t, it’s almost certain you won’t. Life’s battles don’t always go to the stronger or faster man. But sooner or later, the man who wins is the man who thinks he can.” - Walter D. Wintle

As we head into 2023, Omnia reflects on a successful year behind us

Like any good sports team, Omnia takes a look at its wins and losses that shaped the year. With the acquisition of Patagona in 2021, this year would be the first full year as a combined company, bringing challenges and...

Like any good sports team, Omnia takes a look at its wins and losses that shaped the year. With the acquisition of Patagona in 2021, this year would be the first full year as a combined company, bringing challenges and triumphs. As the team enjoys the festive season and cooler weather, Omnia takes a look at some of the milestones and goals achieved that made 2022 a successful year. In addition, we’ll be sharing some of our best performing thought leadership articles that helped solidify our name as leaders in pricing and retail knowledge in Europe. Team and customer events furthered our vision to be market leaders in pricing solutions In March, the team met in Darmstadt to reveal the new logo to the entire company. The new logo, which is a combination of the previous Omnia Retail and Patagona logos, represents the symbolic union of the two teams after Omnia acquired the company in 2021. Thereafter, everyone enjoyed a team bonding exercise at Climbing Forest Darmstadt. Customer events were of utmost importance in 2022 to deepen our relationship with our current customers; to answer any questions they may have, and to establish new business contacts. This year’s e-commerce events included sharing our new logo and stand design with the public and getting to know some new international fairs too. In June, Omnia Retail was in London for Shoptalk Europe, followed by Webwinkel Vakdagen in Utrecht at the end of the month, as well as K5 Future Conference in Berlin. In September, there was DMEXCO, which is a digital marketing expo and conference in Cologne, followed by the huge Hardware Fair in Cologne, where we have been partof the tailored e-commerce expo for two days. The event highlight of the year for Omnia was when we hosted our very own event, Price Points Live, which saw the best minds in pricing, consumer psychology, e-commerce, inflation, and sustainability in e-commerce come together to share their knowledge for our customers. Taking place in Amsterdam in October, it was a chance to provide our customers with detailed and quality knowledge to improve their businesses and teams. It was also the first time that the Amsterdam and Darmstadt customers were interacting and mingling together under the Omnia name. In addition, the event put us in the category of thought leaders who drive success with data, support and insights for our customers. Review the full video of the event here. The team welcomed new faces from six new countries in 2022 One of our core values is “free to be you and me”, which promotes diversity, inclusion, understanding and acceptance of all people, with no judgment based on gender, race, nationality or any other factor, which is why having team members from various backgrounds has always been important. By the end of 2022, Omnia totalled employees from 26 countries around the world, up from 20 in 2021. Females in line management positions also increased, growing to 27% in 2022 from 9% in the previous year. In addition, women in leadership positions increased to 33%, up from 17%. Customer feedback showed a positive experience Omnia received 10 new reviews on G2, one of the world’s most well-known aggregators for software services, with an average score 8.3 out of 10. Reviewing Omnia’s best articles for 2022 Our content team spent many hours and minutes researching trends and topics that would be helpful to our customers, as well as other entrepreneurs, retail leaders and those keen on expanding their knowledge in pricing. Here are our top 10 articles for 2022: The Strategies Behind Amazon’s Success Price: The Most Important P in the Marketing Mix Understanding and Using Market Penetration Strategies How Odd Even Pricing Helps You Utilize The Power of Psychology What is Bundle Pricing? For the Bicycle Industry, 2022 Creates a Continued Supply Chain Crisis How Pricing Influences the Consumer Decision Making Process Adjusting your Pricing Strategy to the Product Life Cycle Stage How Does Amazon’s Search Algorithm Work? What is MAP Pricing?

Meet the Team: Max Bäumer

Name: Max Bäumer Company Role: Team Lead Technical Support --- What do you do at Omnia Retail? I manage the Technical Support team. What is something people in your industry have to deal with that you want to fix?...

Name: Max Bäumer Company Role: Team Lead Technical Support --- What do you do at Omnia Retail? I manage the Technical Support team. What is something people in your industry have to deal with that you want to fix? Technical Support is usually the first contact point, when customers are facing issues. From time to time, customers are emotionally triggered during this conversation. In general this does not help solving the underlying issue faster, even worse, it affects us mentally aswell. In general, I would prefer when anyone in the industry is treated with the respect one would like to receive themselves. What is your past experience, of working in your position? Don’t really have any. I kind of tripped, fell and landed at Patagona (now Omnia). And now look where I am :) What do you like about working at Omnia Retail so far? The people are the most important part. Even after Covid forced most people into home office, the connection remained strong. I’m happy to call most people not only my coworkers, but actually friends. I think having this many foodies around, is only one of the reasons. Besides, I always enjoyed the freedom to try out new things and learn new skills. What are the values that drive you? Food and good sleep. Besides, perhaps respect, compassion / empathy and kindness. What are your top favorite books, podcasts, or documentaries? Eragon, Qualityland and The Kangaroo Chronicles. What do you enjoy doing when you are not working? Eating food big time and doing lots of sports because of the previous point. Let’s end with your favorite quote! “Hinten kackt die Ente” (My Dad)

Christmas Gifts in 2022: A Conundrum of sustainability and capitalism

A large part of the festive season is buying gifts for friends and family, as well as ourselves, with the November to January period being retail’s most profitable and chaotic time of the year. With inflation and the...

A large part of the festive season is buying gifts for friends and family, as well as ourselves, with the November to January period being retail’s most profitable and chaotic time of the year. With inflation and the increased cost of living causing drawbacks in spending in the European and UK market since February, retailers and e-commerce players alike have been anticipating the gifting season to boost yearly sales and revenue. Something that retailers also have to contend with each year is new gifting trends, basket loading, and increased returns; creating a tornado where retailers try to meet consumer demands as well as keep their heads above water regarding returns and sustainability efforts. Ahead of the festive season, we’re exploring gifting trends, how e-commerce and brick-and-mortar stores can better manage returns, and other aspects of this time period. Gifting trends for 2022 Shopping and finding inspiration on social media Instagram, TikTok and YouTube aren’t just platforms for people to share their holiday photos and video tutorials. They’ve become multi-billion Dollar virtual businesses that push content using algorithms to make sales. Social commerce, as it is now called, is expected to be valued at $1.2 trillion by 2025. Users of the platforms are not only shopping from them, but they are using the platforms for gifting inspiration. The same way people use online reviews as a testing ground for a product, more and more consumers are using social media to research a product or brand. In fact, according to a Sprout Social report on the common ways people find the perfect gift, 40% of consumers are seeing organic posts from brands and another 34% are researching a product on the platforms. Limits on spending This year, the average consumer in the US and the UK will spend roughly €1,100 on holiday gifts, while shoppers in France, Germany and Spain will spend approximately €405 on gifts during this season. These numbers are still considerable, however, it is a far cry from what families used to spend in the years leading up to the pandemic. According to a new survey done by Retail Economics, 51% of shoppers are imposing spending limits on gifts for Christmas this year; while 90% of low income shoppers are setting limits as opposed to 68% of the most affluent shoppers. Personalised gifts After facing and surviving the life-and-death reality of a global pandemic, many people are turning to personalised gifts for loved ones to show how much they care. This includes engravings on jewellery, imprints of initials on leather items, sandblasted champagne flutes, handmade gifts and more. The personalised gifts market is set to grow by 7.8% per year over the next five years, reaching €36.9 billion in 2027. Who’s offering extended return policies over Christmas 2022? Because retail is so reliant on the festive season for hitting targets, moving inventory and making profit, shoppers have more power than ever when it comes to returns over Christmas and New Year’s; enjoying extended return policies. And, what many retailers and consumers may not know is that leniency on time actually reduces returns more than any other returns policy factor. Here are just some of the companies offering extended return policies: ASOS, an online clothing and accessories retailer, is giving shoppers up to 2 months and 10 days to return an item. If you shopped between 14 November - 24 December 2022, you have until 24 January 2023 to make a return. Amazon’s Christmas returns extension is from 7 October - 31 December 2022, offering shoppers up to 31 January 2023 to return. H&M allows purchases between 14 October 2022 - 3 January 2023 to be returned until 31 January. GHD, a global hair care brand, allows purchases between 1 October - 24 December to be returned until 14 January 2023. Patagonia has no deadline for purchases being returned. Banana Republic allows returns for purchases made between 1 November - 31 December 2022 to be returned until 31 January 2023. Ralph Lauren’s extended returns policies allow purchases Investing in technological upgrades can reduce the rate of returns The process of a shopper returning an item has never been an easy and affordable part of the logistical chain. For many years, the industry-standard of offering “free and easy returns” has fulfilled consumer demands, however, it has left an ever-increasing hole in the pocket of D2C brands and retailers; so much so that global brands are ushering in a new era of limited or charged returns. In recent weeks, Zara, J. Crew, LL Bean and Dillard’s in the UK began charging a fee for mail-in returns, while Kohl’s in the US has stopped paying for a return’s shipping costs. CNN Business reports that some retailers are considering refunding shoppers for their return and letting them keep the item because the cost of a return is too much. In addition, these same retailers don’t necessarily want returned stock because they have mountains of excess inventory already, from gym apparel to home decor. In the US alone, the cost of shipping returns amounted to $751 billion, according to the National Retail Federation, while the number for online shopping alone is $218 billion. Although free returns remain a top factor for choosing a particular retailer, some consumers are enjoying the Black November discounts and the extended returns policies so much that they’re ordering one item in various sizes or colours, such as a coat in medium and large, and then logging a return on the size that doesn’t fit. This practice is called “Bracketing” and it is the result of shoppers taking advantage of free returns; not trusting sizes online; or opportunistically buying an outfit for a single event and then returning it (which is also known as wardrobing). If every shopper did this, retailers would be paying for one return on every order with their free returns policy. On average, the returns process costs twice as much as the delivery process, making bracketing and wardrobing unsustainable for a business and even more so for the environment. So, how can retailers minimise the cost of returns? The obvious reason would be to start charging for returns, which would cut down on bracketing and wardrobing significantly. However, the less obvious choice that also improves the customer experience would be to invest in technological and informational upgrades on products online. Dr. Heleen Buldeo Rai, an author and researcher at the Vrije Universiteit Brussel in Belgium, who has researched and written extensively on the topic of sustainability within e-commerce, shares in a literature review entitled “Return to sender? Technological applications to mitigate e-commerce returns” that using internet-enabled tools and data analysis to improve product information may result in fewer returns. For example, some D2C beauty brands are making use of an AI tool that allows a buyer to take a photo of their skin tone in real-time to match it with an exact shade of foundation. A case study Dr Buldeo Rai references sees online clothing stores in China make use of virtual fitting rooms where you can try on an item of clothing using an AI model with your personal measurements. In this case study, returns decreased by 56.8%. Other technologies include colour swatches, video product reviews, and zoom technology, which has shown that just one unit increase of zoom usage leads to a 7% decline in the odds of a consumer logging a return. By focusing on improving the customer experience with technological upgrades and features, fewer returns will result in lower overhead costs and a lower impact on carbon emissions. Christmas spending may be lower in 2022, while a better returns system is on the horizon Christmas shopping in 2022 is not expected to be as abundant as previous years due to ongoing inflation and increased living expenses, however, retail can still expect shoppers to make good use of discounts, extended Black November sales, free shipping and free returns. As a pull-in for customer loyalty, it is understandable why retailers would want to keep free returns as an option. However, unless retailers and e-commerce pure players prioritise a new customer experience to reduce returns, it will continue to be an expensive headache, totalling $642 billion per year as it currently stands. Overhauling the returns process will also improve retailers’ environmental impact. A study conducted by Dr Buldeo Rai shows that just under 80% of consumers are willing to wait longer for a delivery or to collect their own purchase. With this kind of information, retailers can offer better delivery and returns options that are easier on their pocket and the environment.

Meet the Team: Manuel Zahn

Name: Manuel Zahn Company Role: Team Lead of Team Constellation --- What do you do at Omnia Retail? My team and I handle the planning, implementation, and acceleration of dataflows in our pricing platform. Every day, we...

Name: Manuel Zahn Company Role: Team Lead of Team Constellation --- What do you do at Omnia Retail? My team and I handle the planning, implementation, and acceleration of dataflows in our pricing platform. Every day, we process hundreds of millions of data points, such as offers and price recommendations. What is something people in your industry have to deal with that you want to fix? Traditionally, in the software industry, we have to manage infrastructure, which distracts from focusing on the actual product. I encourage you to consider serverless architectures, where the cloud provider takes care of the infrastructure, and you can save time and invest it in your core product. What is your past experience, of working in your position? I studied computer science and economics at TU Darmstadt. During that time I worked as a research assistant in the Multimedia Communications Lab (KOM) in Darmstadt. There my main focus was researching and lowering the energy consumption in smartphones. I’ve also had a six month internship at NEC Laboratories Europe, where I researched about automated configuration of cloud-based IoT platforms. Soon I joined Omnia as a working student in 2014 :) What do you like about working at Omnia Retail so far? What I like most about Omnia Retail are the awesome people. There is always a friendly and constructive atmosphere which is the baseline for growing. Due to the large variety of tasks, the everyday work never gets boring. What are the values that drive you? Curiosity and Creativity What are your top favorite books, podcasts, or documentaries? - Methodisch Inkorrekt (Podcast) - Geschichten aus der Geschichte (Podcast) - A Journey Beyond (Documentary) What do you enjoy doing when you are not working? I’m passionate about cycling. In every season. I’m a fan of bikepacking. This means bicycle adventures on a Gravel Bike with minimum baggage plus tent. So far I cycled through the Alps, Scandinavia and Spain/France. Who is in for the next level of adventure? Let’s end with your favorite quote! “The Sky's the Limit” by Captain Picard in the final episode of Star Trek TNG

Meet the Team: Elisa Mozena

Name: Elisa Mozena Company Role: Senior Corporate Recruiter --- What do you do at Omnia Retail? As a Sr Corporate Recruiter, I hire new Omnians to help further build our teams. What is something people in your industry...

Name: Elisa Mozena Company Role: Senior Corporate Recruiter --- What do you do at Omnia Retail? As a Sr Corporate Recruiter, I hire new Omnians to help further build our teams. What is something people in your industry have to deal with that you want to fix? I know recruiters sometimes have a bad reputation and this is one of the goals I have in my career - I want to have a positive impact on every candidate I meet with, independently of the interview outcome. We’ve all been candidates once, including myself, and I know how stressful and time consuming looking for a new job can be. What is your past experience, of working in your position? Before becoming a recruiter I worked for a time at the Finance department of a Hotel (it was not for me), and before that I was a Chef. I worked in Michelin-star restaurants and came quite a long way but at certain point I wanted to develop intellectually and decided to go back to study. I followed a BA degree in Amsterdam and as part of it I did an internship in recruitment. I fell in love with recruitment and have been in this field ever since. What do you like about working at Omnia Retail so far? The people - I love working with inspiring, smart and driven people. A players attract A players ;) What are the values that drive you? I link to think I match with all of our values, but Obsession with Excellence comes first. It’s different than being a perfectionist. There is no such a thing as “perfect”. Obsession with Excellence is about improving, always doing your best, and having high standards. What are your top favorite books, podcasts, or documentaries? I listen to Brazilian Podcasts, it’s the easiest way I have found to stay in touch with my culture. Regarding books, my no1 will always be Harry Potter, All the Light We Cannot See, The Outsider. What do you enjoy doing when you are not working? When I’m not working I’m doing crochet, spending time outdoors, or taking dance classes. Let’s end with your favorite quote! A smooth sea never made a skilled sailor (it’s actually a Brazilian quote).

Black Friday 2022: Our predictions and recommendations

Each year, avid shoppers look forward to the annual Black Friday shopping event, which kicks off the holiday gifting season, where brands and retailers reduce prices on items from electronics to jewellery to levels that...

Each year, avid shoppers look forward to the annual Black Friday shopping event, which kicks off the holiday gifting season, where brands and retailers reduce prices on items from electronics to jewellery to levels that inspire crowds in their thousands. Around the world, shoppers who may not be able to afford certain products, or feel that they are getting a better deal than the usual price, can now make a purchase, or a consideration at least. Consumers who find shopping for items like dishwashing liquid a tedious task may buy in bulk on Black Friday to avoid it being on the shopping list in future, which is also known as pantry loading. Whichever category consumers fall into, Black Friday attracts people from almost every socio-economic background, making it retail’s favourite day of the year. As we await Black Friday in 2022, which officially falls on 25 November, it takes little effort to see that this year’s event may be quite different to that of previous years, considering record-high inflation has hit Europe in the jugular since the start of the Russia-Ukraine conflict. Despite mixed reports on how this year’s Black Friday will go, Sander Roose, CEO and founder of Omnia, predicts there will still be many retailers and brands who are aggressive in their discounting strategy for the fact that they are holding excessive stock and, quite possibly, because they feel inclined to discount heavily as they know they are dealing with inflation-stricken consumers. However, some studies are showing consumers to be spending more now than before the arrival of Covid-19 as people grapple with surviving a life-and-death reality. Let’s take a look at this year's Black Friday predictions in comparison to previous years, and if high inflation is a strong enough deterrent for consumers. Market predictions for Black Friday in 2022 London-based e-commerce researchers IMRG have found unimpressive results in their data collection. Previously, over the years, IMRG has found that Black Friday is the pinnacle of retail’s fourth quarter trading period. In 2022, it is estimated that not only will Black Friday not be as abundant as previous years, growth estimates are at -5% in comparison to 2021. The clothing, home, beauty, garden and electrical markets are not expected to see any growth this Black Friday. Other than inflation and low confidence in the economy, there’s another factor influencing Black Friday spend this year - the FIFA World Cup. Some retailers predict that a global focus on the games may negatively impact shopping on Black Friday weekend, with 34% of 118 retailers thinking it will reduce shopping, according to an IMRG survey. However, if retailers and e-commerce stores are smart, especially those in clothing, sporting apparel and electronics, they should see this global event as a golden opportunity for them to curate their marketing, deals and the customer experience to include the World Cup theme. Regarding the general feeling towards Black Friday from consumers, a survey from Zendesk gives a more positive outlook, showing that 4-in-5 consumers are more excited than ever for this year’s Black Friday and that the increases in living costs are propelling them to bigger deals and discounts. This behaviour isn’t new, suggest Dan Thwaites and Patrick Fagan, who are the founders of Capuchin Behavioural Science. "A rise in stress, or mortality salience, has been equated with a rise in purchases of ‘escape products’ such as beer or status products like luxury watches, reflecting the thought, often ascribed to Epicurus, ‘Let us eat and drink, for tomorrow we die,’” says Dan. However, consumers should be wary of spending brashly, as a new investigation by consumer watch group Which? found that 9-in-10 Black Friday items on special were the same price or cheaper in the six months prior to the shopping event. Comparing the EU, UK and the US Despite inflation and higher living costs, Europeans have experienced an overall increase in their purchasing power-, or expandable income, since 2021 due to the reopening of economies, businesses and tourism. GfK’s study on the average purchasing power per person per year in Europe sits at €16,344 - an increase of 5.8% compared to last year. However, there are giant differences between some countries regarding their spending abilities. For example, Liechtenstein’s purchasing power per capita is €66,204 while Ukraine’s is €1,540, so although spending abilities have improved, not every European may be seeing or feeling it. This is evident in the year-on-year decrease in holiday spending in specific European countries, which includes Spain, whose purchasing power was below the continental average: Source: Statista 2022 Filip Vojtech, a geo-marketing expert at GfK predicts that the increase in purchasing power amongst Europeans may not necessarily translate to retail purchases this Black Friday and the festive season, as the uncertainty regarding inflation and high energy prices is keeping many Europeans conservative with their money. In Germany, for instance, Horizont reports that Black Friday shopping is expected to be low this year, as consumers are more interested in saving. If bargain hunters do shop, 76% of them want to place a larger focus on planned purchases and price-centred campaigns, instead of hurried buying for the sake of buying. In the UK, the same IMRG study found that 47% of retailers believe that the stress of increased cost-of-living is enough to deter shoppers from eagerly shopping on Black Friday weekend. However, another 43% of retailers said that today’s higher bills will actually pull consumers into Black Friday spending so that they can make good use of heavily discounted products. Nevertheless, the spending will be less spontaneous and more considered. In this instance, we could say that the state of consumer spending on Black Friday in the UK may look similar to Europe. Source: Statista 2022 US consumers provide a unique - albeit complex - case. McKinsey reports that, although they are concerned about inflation and have historically low confidence in the economy at the moment, American shoppers are also showing eagerness to spend and have remained robust and confident spenders in the last few months, as retailers like Home Depot and Walmart have reported. American consumers are also expressing a higher sentiment for the holiday season this year than they have in a few years. The Consumer Pulse Survey conducted by McKinsey shows that 55% of US shoppers are excited about holiday shopping, which traditionally begins with Black Friday, and have the savings to spend. In addition, consumers across the Atlantic are so excited about holiday spending that their usual wait for Black Friday specials is creeping back a few weeks with 56% starting their spending in October. Black Friday: What’s selling, who’s taking part and who’s not in 2022 Lower volume sales means bigger discounts As Sander predicted, certain categories have experienced lower sales this year than they had planned. This is due to an overwhelming global demand starting in 2020 that retail leaders thought would spill into 2022. However, global demand for items from e-bikes to washing machines has slowed down, and retailers will be ambitious to discount considerably. Products in the luxury small domestic appliances (SDA) category, like a Nespresso coffee machine, and products in the luxury major domestic appliance (MDA) category, like a SMEG gas stove, will likely not see major sales this Black Friday, which is not surprising since their popularity this year has been lower and in decline compared to 2021. However, because their volume sales have been low this year, these are the items that retailers will be desperate to get rid of and will likely have the biggest discounts. GfK says that standard and basic SDAs like TVs and cordless vacuum cleaners, which have already received a 15%-plus price cut this year, will be the biggest targets for larger discounts this Black Friday. Products in the tech and electronics category, such as headphones, smart watches, bluetooth speakers and more, will also see the biggest discounts, as reported by the New York Post. High-income earners won’t feel the pinch Despite 43% of global consumers believing now is the time to pull back on non-essential spending rather than jump straight in, high-income earners who aren’t necessarily affected by inflation and high living costs will still continue to enjoy Black Friday spending like previous years. Premium products in the luxury domestic appliances category mentioned above will still be supported by premium buyers. Gen Z has higher demands for Black Friday discounts Black Friday is retail’s favourite day of the year to get rid of stock at drastically low prices, however, some age groups, like Gen Zers (born 1997 - 2012), require retailers to offer a minimum of 41-50% of a discount for them to want to participate. The other, older age groups - Millennials, Gen X and baby boomers - require between 21-30% of a discount to consider shopping. This may be so for two reasons: The more obvious reason is that Gen Z shoppers are often in high school, in university or have recently entered the working world, meaning their expendable income is lower than the older age groups. The less obvious reason, which took some research on our behalf when looking at Gen Z’s buying behaviour, is that Gen Zers are far less concerned with fitting in when it comes to shopping, and prefer choosing a brand that separates them from the crowd, unlike Millennial shoppers. They are also more likely to spend money on a brand that values authenticity and sustainability. Typically, it is large-scale retailers and global brands that dominate Black Friday offerings, and not the smaller, lesser-known companies who are not focused on pushing inventory and creating a product at the cheapest price possible. A product would, therefore, need to be heavily discounted for the average Gen Z shopper to consider buying it. FOMO (Fear of missing out) and ego-boosting behaviour From a psychological point of view, Dan and Patrick share that events like Black Friday trigger emotionally-charged consumer behaviour. We may still see confident spending from consumers who are simply shopping because they feel they might be missing out if they don't. "The thought of deals disappearing triggers this fear of loss, making us feel we have to act,” says Dan. “Simply making something look like a sale can be enough to trigger the behaviour,” Dan continues, such as using the colour yellow which has been studied as being an influential colour for discount offers. “Even though the product is no cheaper, people buy more. This is due to representativeness bias. If something looks like a duck and sounds like a duck, we think it’s probably a duck. Same with discounts - even if they’re actually not.” When one does in fact find a good deal after doing some research online, consumers tend to feel as if they have “gotten one over the store,” as Mark Ellwood says, author of Bargain Fever: How to Shop in a Discounted World. “And it's also really fun. You didn't know it was dopamine surging through your brain. But you still come out of the store, and you're grinning, and you're thinking, 'That was amazing.' We should have that moment all the time,” continued Mark to CBS News. This sentiment is further expressed in the academic paper “The Excitement of Getting a Bargain: Some Hypotheses Concerning the Origins and Effects of Smart-Shopper Feelings" by Robert M. Schindler from the University of Chicago who says that “Just as ownership of a product may have many different types of consequences, so also there may be different types of consequences resulting from the price a consumer pays. This includes the implications which a price may have on the consumer's self-concept. Paying a low price for a particular item might lead a consumer to feel proud, smart, or competent.” In the name of sustainability, some brands are giving Black Friday a miss In an effort to sway shoppers from shopping in excess or to encourage them to focus on recyclable materials, some global brands are not offering Black Friday sales, while some have created their own spin on it. Ikea launched a campaign called #BuyBackFriday which asks customers to bring their used furniture for resale instead of throwing it away. Fjällräven, a bag and outdoor apparel brand, uses the event to remind people who long-lasting their products are, instead of hyping people up to buy another coat. Shoe brand Allbirds actually increased their prices on Black Friday in 2021 by $1 and gave the money from each purchase to Fridays for Future, an organisation focused on climate change. Monki, which owns H&M, will not be offering Black Friday specials at all. Black Friday becomes Black November To lure in foot traffic or to get rid of stock volumes; either way, global brands and retailers (both online and offline) have extended a one-day event into days and weeks of Black November specials. Globally, we see that the annual shopping event began changing years ago, with the introduction of Cyber Monday at first, and then the rapid move to online shopping during Covid-19 lockdowns. For the first time ever, in the US, during 2021’s Black Friday event, there was a decline in year-on-year growth by $100 million. This may be because 49% of consumers took advantage of the earlier specials on offer throughout the month of November, according to the America National Retail Federation. In addition, the total number of Black Friday weekend shoppers fell from 186 million in 2020 to 179 million in 2021, showing again how consumers are choosing to enjoy discounts and deals earlier on. Specifically, Target launched their Black Friday sales in mid-October - more than one month before the official event. Amazon teased shoppers with its October Prime Day, a warm-up to Black Friday. Adidas and Nike launched their strategies more than a week before the event, offering between 15-50% off. How can retailers make the most of this year’s Black Friday? Start your Black Friday deals earlier As mentioned above, the Black Friday festivities are beginning in early November and sometimes in October. According to a PwC study, 43% of shoppers choose the earlier Black November deals to ensure items are in stock. Another 37% shop earlier to make sure their purchases are delivered in time for the festive season; and 31% do it to avoid the large crowds. Introduce dynamic promotions With dynamic promotions, you are constantly (and automatically) surveying and evaluating your competitors’ prices and your volume sales, even throughout the chaos of a sale, so that your promotional strategy maximises revenue, maintains competitiveness among the sea of Black Friday sales, and better moves inventory from warehouse to consumer. Treat this year’s event as a test one can learn from Although each year is proving to be different, it would be wise for brands and retailers to look at their marketing and promotional strategies to see what worked in 2021 and what didn’t. Going forward, each year should be treated as a study that can be learned from. Optimise the in-store and online experience In-store digital media, additional discounts for shopping online, multiple delivery options, email sign-up discounts, stock volume and delivery updates… There are many ways to help consumers enjoy their Black Friday shopping experience even further. Consumers tend to remember the brands that went the extra mile in creating a positive shopping experience. Take the opportunity to cross-sell to increase revenue Specifically for retailers in clothing, sports apparel and electronics, creating bundles of products that compliment each other may drive up revenue and entice shoppers to spend. For example, creating a Black Friday bundle discount on a smart watch with wireless earphones; running trainers with exercise equipment; winter coats and boots; and so on. Lessons for Black Friday 2022 Although there are remaining questions on shopper turnout for this year’s Black Friday weekend, one thing stands firm: Retailers and brands are ready to offer big discounts on sitting stock, with the largest deals taking place in the tech, electronics and domestic appliances categories. This strategy rings true across all major markets, including the EU, US and UK, despite the US showing the highest levels of consumer excitement around Black Friday shopping. In the EU and UK, inflation and high living costs remain a potential blockage for retailers to experience the shopping rush of Black Fridays in the past.

Price Points Live: How retailers can benefit from consumer psychology

In the last few months, the EU has experienced inflation at a high of 10.1% as well as a slight economic recession, as predicted by ABN AMRO Bank’s Senior Economist Aline Schuiling. So, with unprecedented inflation...

In the last few months, the EU has experienced inflation at a high of 10.1% as well as a slight economic recession, as predicted by ABN AMRO Bank’s Senior Economist Aline Schuiling. So, with unprecedented inflation following a global pandemic, how can retailers tap into new ways of understanding consumer behaviour? This is where Dan Thwaites and Patrick Fagan, co-founders of Capuchin Behavioural Science, come in. Influencing the consumer’s mind to choose one product over the other, or to spend more money instead of less, is a tricky tightrope to walk on. In this article, which forms part of our in-depth view on each topic discussed at our Price Points Live event last month, we will discuss how data-driven and science-backed techniques regarding consumer psychology can benefit retailers and e-commerce players. Strategies for success: How small but impactful moves can influence consumers There are a number of ways to influence buying decisions and, under certain conditions, retailers can actually get consumers to spend more. Certain nudges and strategies, which are simple and easy to implement in nature are referred by Dan and Patrick themselves: The Decoy Effect This is a technique used by retailers to push consumers toward two product options that are similar in value (such as a microwave) by introducing a third one as a decoy that is much more expensive. Adding a decoy is considered “a violation of rationality” by introducing cognitive bias against it. Consumers are pushed toward the other two options without even knowing it. Academic Dan Ariely shared in his book Predictably Irrational, Revised and Expanded Edition: The Hidden Forces That Shape Our Decisions a study he did to show how well the decoy effect works. In his experiment, he presented three options for a subscriptions to his students to choose from: Online-only access for $59.00 a year Print-only access for $125.00 a year (the decoy) Online and print access for $125.00 a year 16% of the students chose the first option, none chose the second option, and 84% chose the third option. Ariely then removed the decoy option. Even though no one selected the second option in his earlier experiment, this time with only two options, the results showed a considerate shift. When given only two options, 68% of the students chose the online-only access for $59.00 a year, and only 32% chose the online and print access option for $125 a year. The Anchoring Effect This is a little more complex than the decoy effect, however, it is still geared towards creating cognitive bias by steering a consumer to a certain product or brand or price based on the belief that it is the best option. Certain information is presented to the consumer to which they become anchored to. This is done intentionally. For example, if a retailer was conducting research and asked how much a consumer would pay for a smoothie that had collagen production ingredients in it, the only information the consumer would have to go on is their previous experience with buying smoothies, because they wouldn’t know what the cost is for collagen-inducing ingredients. Or, perhaps a retailer is wanting to push sales for a new waffle-making machine and it is marketed as having cutting-edge technology for perfectly shaped waffles with new mechanics to prevent spills or messing. Consumers may latch onto the idea of something being “new and improved” versus previous experiences with older machines. The Precision Effect Does €4.99 look less expensive than €4.00? A number of studies and papers have been written about this theory, including the journal paper entitled “The Price Precision Effect: Evidence from Laboratory and Market Data” in Marketing Science by Manoj Thomas, Daniel H. Simon and Vrinda Kadiyal from Cornell University. These academics coined the term “the precision effect” which ultimately suggests that prices with rounded numbers, such as €20.00, look larger - or more expensive - than €25.55 for a product. In addition, one of their studies found that homeowners spent more money buying houses when properties were listed with rounded numbers. The precession effect can be used by retailers to increase sales and ultimately improve turnover. Nudging consumers means understanding buying behaviour During times of economic difficulty, retailers need to dig deep into the pockets of creativity to connect with concerned consumers and to sustain profit and growth. Consumers are the beating heart of retail and e-commerce and understanding how they think, feel and spend during times of financial success as well as financial stress is pertinent to e-commerce’s survival. Using these strategies shared by the Capuchin co-founders, as well as many other nudging tactics, can be a game-changing move on the part of the retailer in surviving inflation or any other global phenomenon. The entire recording of the event can be reviewed here.

Price Points Live: Inflation is set to decrease to 2% in 2024

With inflation being the number one issue on the minds of business owners, economists and consumers alike, it was no surprise that the topic was first on the list during Omnia’s annual Price Points Live event, which...

With inflation being the number one issue on the minds of business owners, economists and consumers alike, it was no surprise that the topic was first on the list during Omnia’s annual Price Points Live event, which took place in Amsterdam a few weeks ago. In a series of articles, we will share an in-depth view of the event’s topics, starting with inflation, and then including consumer behaviour and psychology, sustainability in e-commerce, and pricing and profit. Sharing her knowledge and predictions regarding current and future inflationary trends, Aline Schuiling, who is the Senior Economist Eurozone at Group Economics of ABN AMRO Bank, explained how the ECB (European Central Bank) predicts and calculates inflation and what the EU can expect in the coming years. Trajectories for inflation show a confident decrease Aline’s inflation predictions for the next few years show that Europe can expect a decline in inflation and will rest at 2% again by 2024. This prediction is supported by a study conducted by Statista, which shows that inflation will remain at 2% from 2024 - 2027. In addition to a positive outlook regarding inflation, GDP growth for 2022 had a better result than expected: Annual GDP growth is expected to sit at 3.1% and in 2024, it’s expected to sit at 1.9% growth. Thanks to a resurgence of tourism, the easing of bottlenecked supply chains and the lowering of energy and food prices, these short-to-medium term projections should instil more confidence in the markets and the economy. When calculating inflation, Aline assures that numbers are derived from comparisons to the previous year. “For example, in the first few months of the pandemic in 2020, inflation was actually in the negative. Then you see prices start to go up later on and then inflation starts to increase. Why? Because it is compared to the year before when inflation was actually in the negative,” says Aline. In the table below, we see Aline’s point, in addition to the contribution of food and energy price surges, as mentioned above. Despite support from governments, recessions in the EU and UK are likely At its worst time, inflation in the EU reached 10.1%, which has had a detrimental effect on consumer spending and behaviour, confidence in the markets and overall GDP growth. Due to this, a number of European governments have tucked into their coffers to support economies (households and businesses) affected by the energy crisis. Notably, Germany leads by spending 6.5% of its GDP on energy support, while the Netherlands has spent 4.8% and Italy has spent 3.3%. France has capped the prices of gas and electricity to 6%. Despite these efforts, Aline reports that consumer confidence has been the lowest ever since the financial crash of 2007 - 2008: Source:Source: Refinitiv, ABN AMRO Group Economics Inflation & central banks by Aline Schuiling, Price Points Live, 13.10.2022 In addition, a slight recession is expected in the third and fourth quarters of 2022 and the first quarter of 2023 in the EU and UK, despite decreasing inflation. However, the US will experience a slightly stronger economy as well as a larger bump up in 2023. Source: Refinitiv, ABN AMRO Group Economics Inflation & central banks by Aline Schuiling, Price Points Live, 13.10.2022 For price setting behaviour, these predictions matter Although some of these expectations don’t look overwhelmingly positive, central banks, businesses, retailers and e-commerce players rely on these predictions for setting prices in the near and far future. This, in turn, affects the consumer. It is vital for all businesses to be aware of these changes and on top of what the ECB expects for the Eurozone economy. Retailers who have a quick and confident response to high inflation not only survive but thrive in the years to follow: “The most resilient retailers were able to drive 11% annual growth in total return to shareholders”, McKinsey reports, between the years of the Great Recession of 2007 - 2009. This number was five times higher than their peers through to 2018. Within e-commerce and retail, there is an opportunity here to test one’s robustness. After all, if brands and retailers want to ensure long-term success, they must develop sound strategies for difficult periods and inflationary challenges. The entire recording of the event can be reviewed here.

Meet the Team: Srinivas

Name: Srinivas Sista Company Role: Operations Process Manager --- What do you do at Omnia Retail? I am a part of the Operations team and work on projects that need processes and structure. What is your past experience,...

Name: Srinivas Sista Company Role: Operations Process Manager --- What do you do at Omnia Retail? I am a part of the Operations team and work on projects that need processes and structure. What is your past experience, of working in your position? I started my career as an analyst and then worked in ecommerce startups in SouthEast Asia for five years mainly in the Operations teams including 3 years as a cofounder of an ecommerce startup. After I moved to the Netherlands I worked in a social media agency, founded a micro mobility startup, worked as a freelancer in a content team, a postman and a sales development representative before joining Omnia. What do you like about working at Omnia Retail so far? I like the work culture - the culture of feedback and being able to speak openly yet professionally. What are the values that drive you? Mutual respect and the right to find happiness. What are your top favorite books, podcasts, or documentaries? TED Talks, Books by Aldous Huxley ( essays) and mostly fiction. BBC Earth as a documentary is great. What do you enjoy doing when you are not working? Walk my dog, spend time with family or play chess.

How inflation is affecting production and overconsumption

With falling profits, rising inflation and bloated overhead costs, the world of retail and eCommerce is experiencing one of its biggest challenges since the 2008 global recession. Wall Street reported that of the 79...

With falling profits, rising inflation and bloated overhead costs, the world of retail and eCommerce is experiencing one of its biggest challenges since the 2008 global recession. Wall Street reported that of the 79 large retailers that shared their financials during the period of 1 April - 23 May, 59% of them reported a decrease in consensus revenue for 2022 and 71% estimated a decrease in earnings for 2023. During the same period, the S&P Retail Composite Index fell 24.1%. Either directly or indirectly, inflation affects everyone and everything that involves monetary exchanges, but two of the most impacted arenas are production and consumption. How are retailers feeling the pinch? Are consumers taking on the costs of retail corporations’ slacking profits? How does inflation affect consumer behaviour? And, amongst the fog, is there an opportunity for retail to shine through these difficult times? We’re answering these questions as we look at the impact of inflation on production and overconsumption. The domino effect of increasing inflation The Belgian food retail company Colruyt Group, reported in September that their profits for the most recent financial year have experienced a significant decline due to rising inflation. However, in a move unique to most food retailers, the group’s CEO Jef Colruyt has promised that the decrease in profits as a result of high inflation will not be a burden passed onto consumers and that they will continue with their low-price strategy into the new financial year. To offset the financial cost, the group is considering selling a part of its wind energy company Parkwind. Other food retailers are experiencing empty shelves as relationships with manufacturers and farmers have soured due to tense conversations over energy, employee and transport costs. For Colruyt alone, these rising costs could amount to approximately €200 million. Luckily for loyal Colruyt buyers, their relationships with manufacturers and farmers remain steady, and food shortages are not expected to be an issue. On the apparel side of retail, Nike is expanding its relationship with online marketplaces like Zalando, however, not without a cost. Although sales rose by 4% in the last quarter, the increase in manufacturing costs caused a 20% drop in earnings per share. In addition, gross margins fell to 44.3% due to higher transport costs including freight and logistics. However, the new relationship with Zalando is expected to be a successful one for both brand and retailer, as more Europeans will be able to access premium Nike products through Zalando if they are a Nike club member. Returns is already a €111 billion issue for e-commerce players - and that’s just over the festive season. Couple that with 2022’s inflation shock-to-the-system, it is no wonder brands and retailers are reaching for ways to curb overhead costs. In an eyebrow-raising moment for most consumers, global clothing brands Zara and Boohoo have begun charging for returns for their online shopping customers due to rising delivery costs. Zara is charging €1.95 per return, or, a return is free if they drop it off at a branch. It is also a tactic to increase footfall and to lure in impulse shopping. However, the commute to a Zara branch still requires time and money from the consumer and may be considered an inconvenience for shoppers who choose online shopping for the reason of convenience. From production to consumption, how are retailers and brands reacting? A 2022 report by Unicef concluded that if every person in the world consumed resources at the rate of people in the EU and the OECD (which includes the US, the UK, parts of South America, Australia, Turkey and many European countries), we would need 3.3 Earths to sustain the level of consumption. An even worse statistic showed that if everyone consumed the way people in Luxembourg, Canada and the US did, we would need 5 Earths. In the long run, operating a sustainable company - and a sustainable world - with eco-friendly supply chains, manufacturing and delivery processes will be the most effective solution to overconsumption. It is a mammoth task that requires a years-long commitment, but companies like Apple, Google, Patagonia, Beyond Meat, Who Gives A Crap and more have made major moves to be more sustainable, to promote lower consumption, and to reuse. After piloting a secondhand items program, luxury fashion brand Balenciaga is planning to implement it full time after it showed much support from Balenciaga customers wanting to sell their secondhand purchases as well as potential shoppers keen to have a piece of the brand at a more affordable price. The brand, owned by Kering, says the move is part of their goal to become “a fully sustainable company” with a focus on consuming less, recycling and reusing. Balenciaga has selected Reflaunt, an online service that sells second hand luxury items to “embrace circularity” as their chosen resale platform. In August, Michael Kors also launched its resale side of the business, saying the goal is to extend the life of MK products and to reduce waste. The very existence of any luxury brand goes against the ideals of minimalism and anti-materialism. In fact, a luxury brand generally embodies the opposite: Flashiness, opulence, excess. It will be interesting to see how well these resale strategies work in terms of interest, sales and impact on overconsumption. On the consumer end, can inflation cause a decrease in overconsumption? French economist Jean-Pierre Malrieu says that “in these times of overconsumption, inflation is a gift from heaven” and adds that high inflation tends to “restore balance” when it comes to materialism and over spending. Sharing in this trend are many US consumers who, as reported by the New York Times, are changing their consumption habits. Some families have stopped using a house cleaning service and have opted to clean their homes themselves. Others have stopped taking their pets to professional groomers. Holidays include camping at local spots instead of cross country trips. Audible and Kindle subscriptions are being cancelled and replaced by books, walking and board games. Others have grown a vegetable garden and have learnt to make treat meals like pizza so that they don’t have to spend money on takeout. Some are updating old clothes instead of throwing them out and replacing them. How can retailers offset the impact of inflation without layoffs or passing the cost down to the consumer? Focusing on affordability. In retail, there are always ways to cut costs. Looking for suppliers that are less expensive or materials that are cheaper is a good starting point. Introduce exciting incentives. It’s been proven that team morale and productivity can be ignited when incentives are introduced. Whether it is bonuses, extra paid leave, or half days on Fridays, employees react well to incentives, with organisations using incentive programs achieving 27% higher profits and 50% higher customer loyalty levels. Implementing robotics and AI technology into supply chains. A study by Berkshire Grey found that processing time could decrease by 25% and processing costs by 35% if automation and robots are used in manufacturing and distribution. Take a granulated approach to price increases. Instead of applying widespread, top-to-bottom price increases to every product to offset inflation that will likely infuriate customers and erode loyalty, segment the products into categories that can withstand a price increase based on a customer’s eagerness to pay. Only the robust survive We have seen, with concrete data, how retailers who have a quick and confident response to high inflation not only survive but thrive in the years to follow, in comparison to those who stumble around wondering what to do. “The most resilient retailers were able to drive 11% annual growth in total return to shareholders”, McKinsey reports, between the years of the Great Recession of 2007 - 2009. This number was five times higher than their peers through to 2018. It’s numbers like these that prove how much power a brand, retailer or marketplace may have in times when they think they are powerless. The current inflationary period is not expected to disappear any time soon, and it certainly won’t be the last time retail experiences increasing freight and logistics costs, high demand and fractured supply chains. As stressful and as slow-moving as it is to trudge through the mud of inflation, one could almost develop a copy-and-paste strategy to sail through these seas each time they come round again. It’s all about making bold, forward-thinking decisions to turn challenges into opportunities. FAQs: Which countries have the highest overconsumption levels? UNICEF concluded in a 2022 report that if every person in the world consumed resources at the rate of people in the EU and the OECD (which includes the US, the UK, parts of South America, Australia, Turkey and many European countries), we would need 3.3 Earths to sustain the level of consumption. An even worse statistic showed that if everyone consumed the way people in Luxembourg, Canada and the US did, we would need 5 Earths. Tips to save money at home Choose to clean your own home instead of a house cleaning service Skip taking their pets to professional groomers and bathe them at home. Vacation locally instead of cross country trips. Cancel streaming subscriptions or podcasts that aren’t being used. Grow a vegetable garden or learn to make your favourite meals so that you don't have to spend money on takeout. Tailor old clothes instead of replacing them.

As retail awaits higher spending this festive season, brick+mortar enjoys a comeback

Inflation may be the top-of-mind issue for retail and e-commerce players alike, but a new and surprising trend that should maintain morale and a robust attitude is seeing the sharp decline in store closures in the US...

Inflation may be the top-of-mind issue for retail and e-commerce players alike, but a new and surprising trend that should maintain morale and a robust attitude is seeing the sharp decline in store closures in the US and UK. In addition, the holiday season is set to bring increased spending compared to 2020 and 2019, despite an increase in the cost of living and a decline in confidence in the markets. Adobe Analytics expects global holiday season shopping to reach €938 billion this year, making the festive season retail’s favourite time of year. Omnia takes a look at why brick-and-mortar is experiencing a smoother ride versus previous years, and what we can expect for 2022’s holiday spending. 2022 is the year brick-and-mortar rallied Two years into the global e-commerce boom that has been predicated on Covid-19 lockdowns and stay-at-home restrictions, e-commerce players have been taken aback by the sky-rocketing growth - and matched demand - for shopping online. However, now that most of the world has opened up and lockdowns are a thing of 2020, pent up demand from consumers has resulted in another trend: Brick-and-mortar stores are seeing more openings since pre-pandemic levels in 2019. Today, store openings in the US and the UK are higher than store closures, showing a surprising reversal in the years leading up to 2020. Coresight Research has tracked retail store openings and closures in the US and has seen a year-on-year 55% decrease in store closures from September 2021 to 2022. Some of the factors include overwhelming demand from consumers to get out and shop; higher demand for premium real estate spaces, such as in Manhattan, and financial incentives for tenants during the pandemic when real estate was floundering. In the US alone, 2022 has seen 5,000 new store openings, including brands like Hermes, Gap Inc and Deichmann. In the UK, PwC reports that store closures have significantly slowed down since 2020 and 2017 with an average of 34 closures per day in the first half of 2022, compared to 61 per day in 2020. Despite the successes of brick-and-mortar stores this year, the reasons and conditions for its success can’t be expected to last. As consumers return to normal, pre-pandemic life, the desire to shop won’t last, especially since inflation is the highest it's been in the US, UK and the EU in decades. In addition, since demand for high-end retail spaces has reached bidding war levels, rent will increase and financial incentives won’t be on offer anymore. For the upcoming holidays, e-commerce and brick-and-mortar will receive a welcomed boost among inflation Retail’s favourite time of year is around the corner, and festive season decorations, deals and promotions are already filling Instagram timelines, shopping aisles and Bol.com carts. With a whirlwind last two years dealing with unpredictable markets and evolving consumer behaviour, one thing remains a sturdy, reliable bench for retail to rely on: Holiday spending. Consumer spending is expected to see an increase in 2022, which bodes well for brick-and-mortar stores as well as e-commerce shops. PwC reports that consumer spending for the upcoming holidays in December will increase by 10% when compared to the same period in 2019 - the very December that saw some of the very first cases of Covid-19. Spending will increase by 20% versus spending in 2020. What else can we expect from consumers this festive season? An average of €1,472 will be spent this holiday season, which includes gifts, travel and entertainment An average of €777 will be spent on gifts; €465 on travel; and €230 The highest spender is expected to be a young male living in the city Consumers will spend more money on themselves this year as well as their families compared to previous years In terms of age groups, millennials (approximately 24 - 40-years old) will spend the most, at an average of €1,878 while Brands with loyalty cards, programs and credit cards can expect 79% of millennials to use them for their associated brands Household annual earnings more than €123,000 will likely overspend on their holiday budget by 15%, taking their holiday spending to an average of €2,840 - double that of the average mentioned above A majority of of consumers, 41%, will wait until late November for the best holiday deals The ever-surprising consumer If there’s anything retail can learn from consumer behaviour this year, it’s how resilient and robust shoppers are, despite rising living costs and a changing retail landscape. One of the attributes of the improvements and predicted successes discussed in this article are the attitudes and motivations of consumers, which remain unpredictable in the best way possible. As retail heads into the holiday season, and brick-and-mortar store openings remain steady, consumers will be watched closely for the next trend in offline and online shopping.

Dynamic pricing strategies and tactics to cope with inflation

High inflation is here to stay for years to come Across the world, inflation remains at sky-high levels, with the G20 average Consumer Price Index (CPI) at 9.2% year-on-year for July ‘22 and the OECD countries at 10.2%...

High inflation is here to stay for years to come Across the world, inflation remains at sky-high levels, with the G20 average Consumer Price Index (CPI) at 9.2% year-on-year for July ‘22 and the OECD countries at 10.2% year-on-year for the same month. As Roman Steiner, partner at McKinsey’s Zurich office, explains, there are five issues contributing to inflation that, together, add up to a perfect storm: labour costs and the availability of talent, as well as rising prices in agriculture, hard commodities, freight, and energy. Contrary to what the heads of Central Banks communicated at the start of the inflationary period, we shouldn’t expect inflation to be resolved soon. And, although aggressive interest rate hikes will somewhat help to temper inflation, it will remain a topic that should be top-of-mind at least for the coming years. Retailers have got the hardest “sell” to make Inflation typically cascades through the chain. It starts with higher energy and material costs, to higher component costs, to brands increasing the purchase prices retailers have to pay for finished products, to retailers having to try to get consumers to pay more for those products. In this chain, retailers typically have the toughest “sell to make”, as sustained high inflation - and particularly the soaring energy costs in many regions - are really driving consumers to actively search for savings and become more choiceful in how they spend their money. As Kevin Bright, McKinsey’s Global Leader of Consumer Pricing Practice, notes: “Consumers are substituting one category for another, exiting a category, or shifting to a different brand. There’s massive downshifting, particularly from mainstream brands to value brands.” All of this indicates that the concept of price elasticity should be top-of-mind for retailers. On an overall level, it’s likely that price elasticity across the board is increasing as many households are in a situation where they have to eat away from their buffers. But we also know that price elasticity varies wildly in between categories, so retailers need to be choiceful in where they try to pass on price increases to consumers and where to take a hit on their margins. Interestingly, this is the first serious inflationary period where retailers have pricing software available that can help them to effectively and efficiently cope with the high frequency and high volume of changes both in the purchasing side as well as the market side (changes in consumer prices). In the remainder of this article, we will provide some guidelines on how retailers could use the power of pricing software to cope with inflation. Playing mix when possible One of the interesting things that typically occur when retailers start with dynamic pricing - and, thereby, are able to reprice their full assortment with high frequency - is that the products in the long-tail start selling better. Because of this, we have seen many cases where, although the retailer decided to price more aggressively, which led to significant revenue growth acceleration, the average margin percentage still grew. While this might sound contradictory at first glance, this is because the high margin long-tail products start selling better and weight more heavily in the mix. How strong you are in a category will determine how much you can rely on playing mix. If your shop is often the starting point for shoppers searching, you can rely more on playing mix and it can be wise not to move down too aggressively on all products as the shopper will end up buying one of the products in your assortment, anyways. If, on the other hand, virtually all of the traffic in a category comes from product level out-clicks from comparison shopping engines (and so you don’t have a dominant position), you will need to price competitively on each and every product. Inform yourself on what your key competitors are doing and how they are responding Most retailers operate in an environment where there are multiple shops offering the same product. Especially in these times where e-commerce has become an integral element in many categories, the competitive landscape has become wide. That means that it pays for retailers to study the behaviour of their key competitors before making major changes to their own strategies. In order to help our customers get a clear overview of key competitors and their positioning on the overlapping assortment, we are about to launch the “competitor overview dashboard”. This dashboard shows the total number of competitors found and automatically surfaces your main competitors based on a “match rate” for the selection of the assortment you have made. The match rate breakdown allows you to quickly identify those competitors that have the biggest overlap with (possibly a subsection of) your own product assortment. This not only enables you to continuously verify your list of key competitors, but also to identify if new players have entered the market that require closer attention. The dashboard then shows the relative price positioning of each of those key competitors, as illustrated in the (anonymised) screenshot below. We advise you to use this screen both to determine your initial inflation response plans, as to verify responses by your competitors after you have made significant pricing strategy changes. Note that this screen enables you to go back in time as well, so you can compare today’s positioning with that of a week ago, per see. Differentiate in pricing strategies to maximise profit No matter how successful you will be in passing on price increases to consumers, it’s likely that you will have to absorb some of the hit via lower margins in these exceptionally challenging times. Omnia always recommends its customers to be very choiceful in where to be aggressive in pricing, and where to grasp the opportunity to take more margin, but in these inflationary times with margin pressures for all retailers, that matters more than ever. We also believe that this advice not only benefits our customers, but makes the market operate better as a whole. Our recommendation is in-line with what McKinsey advises in their article “Navigating inflation in retail: Six actions for retailers”: “Go granular with pricing and promotion and tailor value delivery to consumers. Instead of implementing broad price increases that may erode customer trust, retailers can tailor their inflationary price response by customer and product segment, considering both margin performance and consumers’ willingness to pay. Raising prices is unpleasant for both consumers and retailers. Retailers that take a surgical approach are more likely to emerge with profitability and consumer relationships intact.” There are multiple ways to operationalise this advice. One of the ways is to make use of the price elasticity classification algorithm that the Omnia platform applies to a large set of historical data in order to arrive at an elasticity classification of categories and products. You could then apply a strategy like “lowest price point of this list of five key competitors” in a highly elastic category while applying “most occurring price point in the market” in an inelastic category. The benefit of this approach is that you leverage the power of machine learning in the automated price elasticity classification, while maintaining the control and the explainability of pricing rules. Price elasticity is not the only way to segment your assortment and differentiate more in pricing strategies. You could also identify Key Value Items (KVIs), for example, based on which products are highly viewed. In order to automate this as well, the Omnia platform can be directly connected to the Google Analytics API which allows you to consider views on product details pages (PDPs) in your strategy. That is a way to implement a high-runner strategy. Both approaches to going more granular will lead to becoming price aggressive on products where it is more important to consumers and it will have more impact on sales volumes and price perception of consumers, and to take more margin on products where price is less of a consideration. From an overall perspective, this is likely to lead to the best combination of the top and bottom line, as well as price perception. Be prepared to move up The Omnia software basically enables you to automate any pricing strategy you can think of. Yet, not all pricing strategies are created equally. In these inflationary times where many retailers feel an urge to pass on at least part of the price increase they are confronted with to consumers, it is especially important to apply strategies that enable you to grasp the opportunities of a market that is moving up. To illustrate: when you are applying a pricing strategy as “price position one in the market,” it's highly unlikely that you will quickly pick up on the trend of “the market” moving upwards as the chance that there is still a “garage box retailer” selling for a low price is substantial. On the contrary, if you apply a basic strategy like “most occurring price point of a certain list of X key competitors” or a more nuanced “market conditions” based pricing strategy, you are much more likely to pick up on those upwards trends. Automatically reflect your purchase price increases Omnia recommends implementing safety rules that prevent you from selling products at a loss (or at too low a margin). Without such rules you might be matching a very deep promotion of another retailer for which that retailer has negotiated back funding from the supplier to (partially) fund such a deep price-off. That would be disastrous for your profitability. By feeding your purchase prices to the Omnia platform, and making sure your pricing strategies end with safety rules as “never go below purchase price + X%”, you are realising that purchase price increases have a real-time impact on your pricing. Also, here there are various ways to implement this. You could configure Omnia to simply set the price to the defined minimum boundary. But it is also possible to configure Omnia to not change the price when you are not able to match the price point of a competitor due to minimum margin requirements. That is where, again, the Market Conditions functionality comes into play. Track your progress It’s always important to track the impact of your pricing strategy changes on your performance in terms of sales and gross margin, and price-ratio vs the market. That is why the Omnia platform brings all of those metrics together in the Performance screen. In these inflationary times with margin pressure and increased importance of pricing, tracking these metrics is more important than ever. Summary While inflation undeniably puts retailers and brands in a very challenging position, understanding and using the full capabilities of a dynamic repricing software can help soften the blow. Combining careful analysis of competitor and consumer behaviour with granular pricing strategies will give you the best chance of walking the fine line of staying competitive in a highly dynamic market while ensuring the profitability of your business.

Complete Guide to Selling on Amazon in 2022

With a massive reach (to the tune of 47% market share in the US and UK and 31% market share in Germany), it’s an incredible outlet to showcase products, earn more sales, and build brand awareness. But Amazon is also an...

With a massive reach (to the tune of 47% market share in the US and UK and 31% market share in Germany), it’s an incredible outlet to showcase products, earn more sales, and build brand awareness. But Amazon is also an overwhelming online platform for Sellers and consumers alike. With so many options for how to shop, sell, advertise, and win on Amazon, it’s no wonder there are lots of questions. In this guide we’ll answer some of the top questions we hear about Amazon and give helpful hints on how to succeed on the platform.

How we collect vital data for our customers (Part 2)

In recent years, data has surpassed oil in being the most valuable commodity on Earth. In just the four years between 2016 - 2020, the data market in the US grew in value from €129 billion to €211 billion. In a...

In recent years, data has surpassed oil in being the most valuable commodity on Earth. In just the four years between 2016 - 2020, the data market in the US grew in value from €129 billion to €211 billion. In a nutshell, data is how we understand something on an intricate level without bias and subjectivity, and within the world of e-commerce and retail, it is the cog in the machine that’s indispensable. In this four-part series, Omnia shares the process a potential customer will enter into once they decide to choose our pricing software solutions. In early August, we shared part one, which included the technical pre-requirements a customer needs to begin their pricing journey. Today, we are delving into how we collect data as one of the initial and most vital parts of the process. Where does the data come from? Speaking to David Gengenbach, a developer at Omnia, and Berend van Niekerk, Omnia’s Head of Product, it is impressive to see how much time and attention goes into getting detailed - and most importantly, correct - data for the pricing strategies of customers. There are two types of data that provides everything needed to reprice an entire online store or marketplace: Internal data and market data. Internal data Internal data includes information that comes directly from the customer. “Everything from sales data, purchase prices, stock data, performance measures, information on champion and non-champion products, new and old products, categories, seasonal products… it’s important to provide as much information as possible,” says Berend. Insights from Google Analytics and additional plugins can also be used to understand where traffic is going and which products are most popular. If your online store is using Shopify, Magento, Shopware, Plentymarkets or JTL, you can make use of our "Pricemonitor plugins" which you can find in the respective app store. The plugin allows you to connect easily to our database, without having to involve your IT department. After the initial data is connected to Omnia, the customer has the ability to modify all information within the tool. They can clean the data, change the formatting and add additional logic and calculations to the data. In this way the user can do the required modifications, without having to bother their IT department. “There’s less hassle for the customer this way,” says Berend. External data Market data, or external data, comes in two categories, according to Berend: "Data from marketplaces and comparison websites, like Google or Amazon, and data that is directly collected from competitors' websites." Typically our customers use a combination of both. The data from marketplaces and comparison websites will provide a good view of all competitors selling the product, where data that is scraped directly from your competitors will ensure you the most up-to-date and complete overview of your main competitors. The data from marketplaces and comparison websites includes highest and lowest pieces, reviews, delivery times and many other features. How do we ensure data quality? Vetting data is also part of the scraping and collection process. David, who specialises in competitor data, shares that there are four aspects to data quality: Finding the right competitor prices by ensuring that the competitor prices are for the exact same product as you are selling. For example, if we were checking the prices on Google Shopping for the iPhone 13, we would not consider the prices for second hand iPhones, where many websites advertise on Google. These prices would not be included. Within those prices, making sure that we identify any outliers. For example, perhaps Google grouped the products incorrectly and there is a very high or low price in the grouping. The timeliness of the data: Making sure that we update the prices on a particular schedule, so that we collect any price updates quickly. Data quantity plays a role too. If we conduct a product search, and there are 10% less products today compared to yesterday, we need to investigate what may be causing that. Superior pricing strategies are informed by our data Within the retail and e-commerce landscape, there is no successful web shop or marketplace without a comprehensive dynamic pricing strategy. And, in turn, there is no complete dynamic pricing strategy without data. However, it is up to the customer how much of their internal data they are willing to give. The more data we have, the more we can create a profitable and competitive pricing strategy for each customer. Stay posted for our next part of the series on what customers can do with this data.

Meet the Team: Brend

Name: Brend Kolfschoten Company Role: Junior Consultant --- What do you do at Omnia Retail? Enjoying a lot what I’m doing within the company and getting to learn a lot while doing it. Within Customer Success team I’m a...

Name: Brend Kolfschoten Company Role: Junior Consultant --- What do you do at Omnia Retail? Enjoying a lot what I’m doing within the company and getting to learn a lot while doing it. Within Customer Success team I’m a supportive partner for all the companies connected to Omnia. Making sure that everyone gets the most out of the system. What is something people in your industry have to deal with that you want to fix? Creating an environment where there is room for creativity and a lot of testing. Due to the growth of online stores, Dynamic Pricing became more relevant than ever. Making it possible for companies to change prices on a more regular base. By taking away any restrictions the data or any analysis could pose. What is your past experience, of working in your position? Before starting at Omnia I’ve finished a master degree in Data Driven Business. After finishing the degree I’ve worked on forecasting methods in which Dynamic Pricing would be one of the key factors for determining the results. While studying I have built up experience in Customer success, Customer support, and sales within several different industries. What do you like about working at Omnia Retail so far? Every day is completely different. Making it an interesting work environment where there are a lot of things to learn. Working in a really diverse team but having the drivers for working at Omnia. Different members within the teams all have their own field of knowledge making it a place where we could learn from each other. Noticing also that I’m working with smart people all around me. What are the values that drive you? Empathy, Courage, Determination and Curiosity What are your top favorite books, podcasts, or documentaries? - Boook:The Tipping Point: How little things can make a big difference - Malcolm Gladwell - Documentary: The last dance - docuseries on the rise of superstar Micheal Jordan - Song: A horse with no name - America What do you enjoy doing when you are not working? I’m a musician and playing within 2 different bands. Having about 40 performances a year all over the Netherlands. Being an entertainer on stage and really giving and receiving energy from the crowd. To make sure I have the energy to jump around the stage for a few hours I’m also a big fan of sports. My main sport is Cross-fit but I like to pick any challenge by changing up the sports I’m doing like: Football, basketball, beach volleyball, bouldering and squash. Let’s end with your favorite quote! “Life is like a box of chocolates, you never know what you’re going to get” - Forrest Gump

What e-commerce players need to begin their pricing software journey (Part 1)

When the concept of retail first began in ancient Greece in 800 BC with traders selling goods and food at markets, merchants needed to keep track of their stock in a similar way retailers do so today. It began with...

When the concept of retail first began in ancient Greece in 800 BC with traders selling goods and food at markets, merchants needed to keep track of their stock in a similar way retailers do so today. It began with writing things down with a simple book and some ink. A couple thousand years later, that book turned into spreadsheets and tables; and a few decades after that, spreadsheets turned to software and digital systems. As a software creator and provider, it is awe-inspiring to see how far systems and processes that support retailers have come since the days of paper and quills. In a four-part series, we will dive into an overview of both the technical requirements and learnings for retailers and brands looking at investing in pricing software. We will also cover some of the processes our teams drive, from data scraping, sharing potential pricing strategies to the onboarding process. Let’s start at the beginning The basis for many larger e-commerce businesses is an enterprise resource planning system (ERP) like Oracle, SAP, or Microsoft Dynamics 365. In some cases, a Product Information Management Systems (PIM) and Shopsystem like Shopify are added to this set up. Smaller and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), especially those that started online first, might only have a Shop-system like Shopify, which can fulfil all the essential tasks in the e-commerce context that an ERP-system does. As the e-commerce market is characterised by high volatility, any online stores, striving to keep up with today’s competitiveness, cannot possibly track vital data like stock volumes, sales orders, supply chains or inventory by hand. Tim Avemarie-Scharmann, Omnia’s Head of Knowledge & Scalability says, “While my cheese trader Helmut at the farmers market might be fine using Excel for most of his calculations and data flows, modern businesses, especially in e-commerce, need to integrate advanced systems that perform specific tasks automatically. This applies to your price setting as well, while Helmut can sell his cheese at 4.99€ per 100g, sometimes taking a peek at the prices from a competitor retailer will likely find themselves a much bigger market, and in some cases identifying hundreds of competitors.” Where dynamic pricing fits in When it comes to new technology and its usage, one of the first questions in people's minds is, “Is it trustworthy?” And, if you transfer this to implementing dynamic pricing software within your business, the question most people have is: “Can I trust those automatically calculated prices?” In representing the overall setup of your business and the integration of a dynamic pricing system, we think of it as a star-shaped figure, where the segments could represent the different external software services a brand is using, and the core of the star is the leading ERP/Shop system or a combination of both. Marketing, logistics, shipping, payment and pricing are just some of the additional services one has to integrate into your data flows. Even though a brand or retailer outsources the application of pricing rules to Omnia, the retailer will be in full control of the prices, as the ERP or Shop system is still at the core of your overall set-up. In a nutshell, the dynamic pricing system will receive input from your Shop/ERP system that is the signal for calculating a new price for a product. The calculation of the new price is based on the parameters that are defined with our Customer Success and Consultancy team, based on the markets and competitors monitored and pricing strategies implemented. Thereafter, the dynamic pricing system will import the new prices back to the Shop/ERP system. This way, the retailer is always in control of their price calculation. How accessible is this data? A big part of the technical implementation is establishing a connection between Omnia and the customers' Shop- or ERP-system. While in some cases a one-time, manual upload of a product list is sufficient, for example, if a brand wants to track a stable set of products in the market, some setups do require more flexibility and automation. That is the case for most retailers, where the conditions of selling can change at any time. For this, you need at least one daily data transfer, so all systems are synchronised. This can be done via simple https-feeds or by exchanging data via FTP-servers. Most Shopsystems used in e-commerce provide the option to export data via feeds and do not require coding skills. Additionally, you need to synchronise the export and import of data via the feeds with other internal processes. For example, when the new prices are calculated at 8am in the morning, you don't want them to be in your systems at only 6pm. For users of Shop- and ERP-systems such as Shopify, Shopware, Plentymarkets, JTL, Magento, we provide plugins, which make the data transfer part much easier. The plugins are designed especially for the case of transferring pricing data to-and-from our Dynamic Pricing Portal, and have pre built-in features that allow a retailer to import price updates only for products where the recommended price actually changed or to only import the price updates for certain product groups, for example, those where you have checked the results and want to make the newly-calculated price recommendation live. These cases can be covered by transferring pricing data via feeds, but with the plugins, they are easier to set up for SMEs who may not have a dedicated pricing department like larger enterprises do. Data security Especially for larger enterprises, but essentially for all of Omnia’s customers, the question “How trustworthy is the software?” does not only relate to the aspect of how to be in control of the price calculation process which we described above, but also how data is stored and processed. For this, we are currently in the process of becoming ISO 27001 certified and aim to be ready by the end of 2022. This certification ensures that we take many precautionary measures, so that all of Omnia’s users receive the highest quality standard when it comes to security and data protection. A guided process This may sound overwhelming or time-consuming for a business who is first learning about the importance of pricing software, but the opposite couldn’t be more true. Omnia’s Customer Success team are involved at every stage of the process, providing knowledge, expertise and guidance during a structured on-boarding process. As this article is the first part of a four-part series, stay posted to our next chapter on how we collect competitor and customer data. Read now Part 2: How we collect vital data for our customers

Meet the Team: Dennis

Name: Dennis Koschinski Company Role: Backend Developer --- What do you do at Omnia Retail? The team and I take care that our web crawlers download millions of offers every day. What is something people in your industry...

Name: Dennis Koschinski Company Role: Backend Developer --- What do you do at Omnia Retail? The team and I take care that our web crawlers download millions of offers every day. What is something people in your industry have to deal with that you want to fix? We have to monitor millions of multivariate data points every day. The analysis is a complex task that can easily overwhelm somebody. I would like to make this task easier, which could help people focus on the more important problems. What is your past experience, of working in your position? I joined Patagona (Omnia) directly after finishing university, where I studied Physics with a focus on the characteristics of solid state matter. During my studies I worked as a scientific assistant in Solid State NMR Spectroscopy, which gained me some experience in data analysis and computational quantum physics. What do you like about working at Omnia Retail so far? What I like most about Omina Retail is that I can work together with smart and funny people on challenging topics that don’t bore me. What are the values that drive you? Respect and kindness What are your top-3 favorite books? - Lord of the Rings, J.R.R. Tolkien - Modern Quantum Mechanics, J.J. Sakurai - The Glass Bead Game, H. Hesse What do you enjoy doing when you are not working? I cook tasty food or listen to music. Let’s end with your favorite quote! “The measure of greatness in a scientific idea is the extent to which it stimulates thought and opens up new lines of research.” Paul Dirac, 1968

Revolutionising graduate traineeships within the SaaS landscape

As creators of the first Dutch scaleup traineeship within SaaS, Omnia Retail is changing how newcomers to the industry can learn and importantly grow. When COO Vanessa Verlaan first pitched the thought of a scale-up...

As creators of the first Dutch scaleup traineeship within SaaS, Omnia Retail is changing how newcomers to the industry can learn and importantly grow. When COO Vanessa Verlaan first pitched the thought of a scale-up traineeship for new employees at Omnia Retail, some of her first words were, “This is not a quick fix to finding and retaining talent”. Then came the idea of an 18-month traineeship for new employees who had recently graduated with massive potential, which then became the foundation for Omnia’s talent acquisition shake-up, in 2020. In a niche industry scale-up, it has proven difficult to find candidates who are both commercially strong and have specific qualifications or experience, and more importantly, have the ability to fit in with Omnia’s core values. “The candidate needs to be able to work in pricing, e-commerce, with data, while feeling aligned with Omnia’s values,” Vanessa says. “By looking inward, we noted that we already had talented people that had the potential to grow exponentially within the company. And so, we reverse-engineered the process of hiring,” says Vanessa. As creator and designer of the traineeship, Vanessa saw that team members in the tech support department were already learning the ins and outs of the organisation and the products Omnia offers. It offered foundational knowledge and experience that would ultimately lead to chosen team members entering an exciting chapter to kickstart their careers in SaaS (software as a service). Co-building the traineeship and the organisation at the same time Each trainee will learn about different aspects of the company, including three rotations within the customer success, sales, and tech support departments. They will also work with our new Knowledge and Scalability Department as well as marketing, and will be contributing from day one. Once they have met specific milestones within each rotation, they are ready to move onto the next one, depending on the needs of each team. “We look at the desires of each rotation’s team. If the team is ready for the trainee to move onto the next phase or if there is still something to be learnt, this will be assessed on a case-by-case basis,” Vanessa added. “This is not an internship for students, but a traineeship for graduates who are co-building the traineeship and the organisation at the same time,” says Vanessa. There is an emphasis on personal development with workshops tailored towards personal effectiveness, communication, commercial and analytical skills. Martijn Crooijmans, a fairly new member of Omnia’s sales team, completed the traineeship 5 months ago and has entered a permanent role as an Account Executive. Martijn, who studied management and consumer studies and has his Masters degree in business development and entrepreneurship from Utrecht University, applied for a spot in the traineeship because of his interest in innovation management. When he first started, he admits the experience was like a rollercoaster. “I feel like I learned more in the first six months at Omnia than in the couple years studying prior. From the start I got a lot of responsibility and had a lot of coaching for all the different commercial roles I was in during the traineeship,” he says. Stemming from that point, Martijn shared that some of his most exciting and fulfilling milestones was implementing real-world strategies for Omnia. “I was able to close several enterprise customers as an Account Executive, and managed a portion of our SMB clients as a Customer Success Manager. I also ran a full implementation of our solution at several enterprise customers as a solution consultant,” says Martijn. Saskia Mueller-Herbst, who is a Solutions Consultant in the Knowledge and Scalability department, started her journey within Omnia in business development after completing her Bachelor's degree in International Business and her Masters in Marketing Management before the traineeship was established. Saskia was then offered an opportunity to join the traineeship. “I saw it as a great opportunity to get to know several sides of the business. I was further excited about this possibility as I wanted to collect as many insights as possible to define where I saw myself in the long term,” says Saskia. Saskia shared that one of the challenges she faced was learning to manage the many moving parts of a scale-up. “While I enjoy having different responsibilities and tasks to work on, I realised that it’s very important to work in a structured way. The work is never done and I needed to be good at prioritising my work,” Saskia shares. However, one of Saskia's biggest triumphs was noticing her own growth. “During the traineeship you constantly improve and all the skills you learn you can make use of in the next rotation.” Within every rotation you learn something different A new member of the Customer Success team that completed the traineeship is Suzanne Meinders, who has her Masters in Marketing. Suzanne applied to take part in the traineeship, similarly to Martijn. Because of how the traineeship is set up with various rotations, Suzanne agrees this is the best way to learn 360 degrees of a business. “Now I have completed all rotations, I feel I truly know the product really well. Within every rotation you learn something different, and I think that truly sets you up for success within any position you will choose in the end.” To new or future trainees, Martijn offers some sound advice: “When you start, you are not just learning to perform well within your role, you are also learning how the SaaS product works. This means a lot of new information is coming your way and it might feel like you have been thrown in the deep. There are, however, a lot of people around that will gladly help you out and will pull you out of the water if needed. So, don't be afraid to ask for help, and soak up as much information as possible in the beginning.” Saskia shares similar advice, saying, “It’s important to be open and communicative. If you are passionate about something, there is a good chance that you can pick up a project related to this topic and make it their own.” Suzanne says, “Be ready for the moment where you rotate and go from ‘I know this’ to ‘I don’t know anything.’” An important aspect of working at Omnia is aligning with and committing to its three core values - never stop learning; obsession with excellence; and free to be you and me - and Omnia’s traineeship is no exception. Trainees “never stop learning” by working with managers, senior team members and actual customers. They are “free to be you and me” by the fact that an applicant’s race, gender identity, or even their university is not looked at when they apply. Finally, trainees have an “obsession with excellence” when they achieve each milestone in each rotation in order to complete their traineeship. In a period of two years, Omnia has hired 11 trainees, of which three have already graduated and accepted a permanent position within Omnia. “Our goal is to hire eight trainees each year; there are no fixed deadlines and we’re hiring all year round,” shares Vanessa. Two years on, the graduates from Omnia’s first completed traineeship are working in mature roles. “I am incredibly proud of Saskia, Suzanne and Martijn who have all grown so much on a personal and business level,” says Vanessa.

How robotics and AI are improving supply chains

If only Henry Ford, the founder of Ford Motors who invented the assembly line that revolutionised how cars are made, could see how corporations have advanced the logistics of supply chains in 2022. Approximately 109...

If only Henry Ford, the founder of Ford Motors who invented the assembly line that revolutionised how cars are made, could see how corporations have advanced the logistics of supply chains in 2022. Approximately 109 years later, modern supply chains are including engineering and scientific developments like never before, seeing robotics and artificial intelligence (AI) brought to the forefront to increase productivity, decrease overheads, and improve the customer’s experience. With the rapid development of e-commerce and the changing landscape of consumer spending habits, it has become vital for retailers and brands in many industries to rethink and modernise how they bring a product through the process of production, manufacturing, shipment and delivery to the consumer. We have taken a look at how robotics and AI are affecting and improving global supply chains, the companies that run them and their employees. Robotics in retail and e-commerce One of the biggest issues within retail and e-commerce is delivery - and fast delivery at that. Using robotics, AI and automation (RAIA) has shown to significantly improve delivery schedules and times. According to a 2021 McKinsey & Company survey, 75% of retail supply chain leaders have made 2-day delivery a priority and 42% are aiming for same-day delivery in 2022. Alongside these consumer demands, 64% of retailers cited digitalisation and automation investments as being critical. A key area in speeding up deliveries and creating seamless supply chains is warehouse automation, and one such retailer that’s taken on the challenge is Ochama in the Netherlands. The Chinese e-commerce giant JD.com launched robotic grocery stores in four Dutch cities, namely Leiden, Amsterdam, Utrecht and Rotterdam. Groceries and non-food items are collected throughout the store by mobile robots, packaged and presented to shoppers. Customers can order their parcels via the Ochama app and then collect it at the store by scanning a barcode that specifies your order, after which a conveyor belt and robotic arms hand-deliver the order. This is only one part of the machine that has utilised robotics: A warehouse of 20,000-square metres is equipped with automated systems that can process up to 15,000 parcels a day. Because of the technological advancements used in the supply chain, Ochama has brought down the overall costs of food and non-food items by 10%, making the omni-channel retailer one of the first to be able to reduce some of the consumer living costs using robotics and AI. From groceries to clothing, AI is showing its exponential value. Finesse, a US clothing company, is using AI to determine future fashion trends for potential markets and moving away from fast fashion. When you visit their website, the clothing doesn’t actually exist yet. What you see is 3D-rendered items of clothing where shoppers can vote for an item they’d like to buy. The items with the most votes get made, resulting in reduced overstocking and lower production costs. In this case, we see AI being used as an integral part of the business model instead of being a background assistant to supply chain problems. AI has shown to be helpful with returns This particular business model, where votes determine production, doesn’t mean returns and refunds aren’t still an option - or a problem, depending which side of the e-commerce street you’re sitting on. Nonetheless, AI has also shown to be helpful with e-commerce’s biggest headache: Returns. Global e-commerce’s returns problem is estimated to cost €111 billion just over the festive season after December. Approximately 30% of all online orders are returned by customers, making it a very large and expensive problem. In fact, although a customer may experience the ease of “free and easy returns”, a typical return actually costs a retailer between €19 - €41 each time when they factor in transport, processing (receiving, inspecting, then sorting), and reselling efforts. Berkshire Grey found that processing time could be reduced by 25% and processing costs by 35% if employees could make use of automation and robots. How may employees view the incorporation of robotics and AI? A 2021 study published in the Journal of Technology in Behavioural Science conducted multiple interviews with employees of different seniority levels across multiple industries to quantify their understanding and perception of RAIA in the workplace. Firstly, the study found that employees feel that “human touch” and “soft skills” could never be replaced or replicated; secondly, it found that employees should view RAIA as an opportunity and not a threat; thirdly, employees may experience a job satisfaction dilemma; and lastly, employees feel that companies should be extremely prepared before and after RAIA is implemented for whatever the impact may be. There is no doubt that jobs, workplaces, employee-to-customer or employee-to-employee relationships will change, but it is important for companies and team members alike to start viewing RAIA as a way to upskill, revolutionise and grow. There seems to be a common misunderstanding that by including robotics and AI into the workplace it will automatically result in retrenchments, firings and an exodus of employees. Although we can’t speak for the intentions of all companies, robotics has shown in many cases to improve the work environment for employees. If employees have been spending valuable time on mundane or time-consuming tasks that are part of their job, they can now spend that time on strategy; the very thing that results in better productivity and more profit. With our fully or partially automated dynamic pricing software solutions, Omnia takes a similar stance. Users require less time on repetitive, high-volume tasks and have more time planning and managing the strategic direction of prices. Looking toward the future Warehousing, final assembly and production are three main areas where autonomous robots will be the most beneficial. Deloitte predicts that including robotics in these areas can increase productivity; improve the collection of data; and decrease the risk of hazardous tasks while working alongside humans for improved efficiency and safer work environments. McKinsey & Company conducted a study that surmised that 20-30% of the time can be freed up for other important tasks if repetitive tasks are automated or robotised. Deloitte suggests that using autonomous robots within the supply chain will dramatically increase over the next five years and the more companies start to incorporate robotics into their processes, the more fluid and seamless supply chains will become.

Meet the Team: Yaza

Name: Yazah Wainakh Company Role: Software Developer --- What do you do at Omnia Retail? Supporting the Frontend part of Omnia products. Mainly trying to create an enjoyable and fruitful experience for our customers :)...

Name: Yazah Wainakh Company Role: Software Developer --- What do you do at Omnia Retail? Supporting the Frontend part of Omnia products. Mainly trying to create an enjoyable and fruitful experience for our customers :) What is something people in your industry have to deal with that you want to fix? I think there is a general misconception when it comes to Frontend development, where mostly it is thought of as creating user interfaces and fixing colors and alignments. While UI is at the core of our responsibilities, there is, on the other hand, a lot that goes on behind the scenes that enables a web page to look and behave as you see it. From data structuring, processing, storing to ensuring a high quality performance, all are parts of a frontend developer’s toolkit. What is your past experience, of working in your position? I studied Software Engineering in three different countries between Bachelor and Masters, naming Syria, Jordan and Germany. This enabled me to see how people from different backgrounds address issues and handle challenges.. I have worked in different part-time jobs while studying, varying from software development to research assistance. Then I landed my first full-time job at Patagona (now Omnia). What do you like about working at Omnia Retail so far? The transparency within Omnia. The friendly environment where one can speak-up their mind freely. The support among the team members to learn and grow, because at the end of the day a team is only as strong as its least experienced member. It is therefore essential to participate in the growth of each team-member. What are the values that drive you? Compassion, Integrity, Determination, Self-growth. What are your top-3 favorite books? - The sky wept fire - by Mikail Eldin - The power of now - by Eckhart Tolle - Outliers - by Malcolm Gladwell What do you enjoy doing when you are not working? I enjoy a nice walk in nature, spending time with family and friends, and I always have a book nearby to be explored. Currently “still” trying to learn German. Also, a tv-show is mostly to slip in here and there. Let’s end with your favorite quote! I will share two quotes that pop a lot in my head, “Happiness is an inside job” by William Arthur Ward ”If you don't like where you are, move! You are not a tree” by Jim Rohn

Pricing as the new commander for financial growth

Figuring out a price for your product or service is not dissimilar to walking on a tightrope. On the one hand, you could purposefully overprice your product to increase profits and place your product as high-end,...

Figuring out a price for your product or service is not dissimilar to walking on a tightrope. On the one hand, you could purposefully overprice your product to increase profits and place your product as high-end, however, you may be placing the price too high, which would alienate you from the market. On the other hand, you could lower your price to make more sales, but this may result in slow profit growth and a cheaper reputation in the market. As said above, it’s a complex and technical tightrope that can sometimes result in many wasted hours spent on pricing updates and ultimately failed products and businesses. Out of all the P’s that make up the skeleton of a successful brand or retailer (product, place, promotion and price), pricing has become more and more vital to that success. Before the internet and e-commerce radically changed the way people shop, retailers could comfortably rely on this formula for financial growth. However, as e-commerce takes over physical stores and traditional shopping methods and habits, it is the pricing element of the four P’s that is showing brands the way to increased profits and scalable growth. Omnia looks at pricing as the new commander of the 4 P’s and why a particular pricing strategy - Dynamic Pricing - should be the top choice for brands and retailers. Price: The new leader of the 4 P’s Small but significant price changes have shown to be the most useful in achieving financial growth. According to a study conducted by McKinsey & Company, pricing improvements can significantly impact margins in a positive way, ranging from 2.5% to 9%, depending on the type of product and company. For omnichannel retailers, the boost was 3%. The study also found that it was pricing improvements over a reduction in fixed or variable costs that resulted in larger margin profits. This data can give brands and retailers hope that the fears or obstacles associated with price improvements, such as the risk of a competitor’s response or the risk of customers choosing not to buy, can be overcome. Despite this, many brands and retailers are still not prepared in making pricing improvements a central factor for margin boosts in the future. Going forward, only 6% of the study said that they were “very prepared” to capture the pricing opportunity and 55% said they were “somewhat prepared”. So, if brands and retailers are struggling to focus this vital element, what can they do to prioritise pricing while simultaneously learning, growing and profiting? Dynamic pricing as a solution For the average brand or retailer, both off and online, it is difficult to teach or learn dynamic pricing without a professional SaaS (software as a service) company doing the teaching and implementing. Unlike marketing, management or sales, it isn’t exactly a subject learnt at school or at any tertiary institution and there is very little reading material on it. This may explain why retailers have largely been so slow in prioritising pricing as a solution to boost profits. Dynamic pricing, as opposed to other pricing strategies, uses multiple prices for a product at various times, which are all dependent on market trends, supply and demand, a competitor’s prices, customer behaviour and internal company costs and even seasonal or weather changes. These numerous price changes are not chosen at random - in fact, it’s quite the opposite. Direct data scraping from competitors paired with third-party data from customers makes up an advanced and information-packed strategy to automate price changes, prioritise time within the business, and increase profits. How our pricing software is executed at Omnia Retail Although Omnia’s pricing software is at the helm of our unique enterprise offering, it is also our customer success division that comes part-in-parcel that sets us apart from other providers. Implementing our dynamic pricing software isn’t a rushed job that ends with our technical team leaving you, never to be seen again. In fact, we spend approximately 68 hours spread over 8-12 weeks teaching and applying our software, sharing knowledge with your team members and getting all the necessary parts of the machine well-oiled. Our customer success approach is divided into two parts: Preparation and action. “Preparation”, which amounts to approximately 20% of the process, involves the Omnia team and the client coming to share knowledge and vital information. This includes reading shared content from Omnia including the onboarding playbook and process deck; a technical setup guide; providing us with the needed information such as product lists; and any info that came from competitor direct scraping. “Action” takes up 80% of the process and involves a more hands-on approach in getting the ball rolling. It involves processes such as defining the various roles within the project and involving all members from the technical to the creative. Other processes include portal setup, data mapping, goal planning, implementing pricing strategies, education on the software and raw data, technical management, reporting and more. Thereafter, the client goes live and their relationship with Omnia continues as they may need it. Case study: Automating and optimizing pricing for Plein.nl Plein, a Dutch online marketplace for a range of toiletries, beauty, baby, and pet products, sells their stock via their own website and on other marketplaces such as Bol.com and Amazon. The Plein team needed a pricing solution to automate and optimize their prices on their website as well as on the products being sold on marketplaces, all of which have different rules and regulations. Multiple pricing strategies were needed for both their website and third-party sites that needed to run efficiently and parallel to one another. Plein’s goal is to become the number one online marketplace for personal care, and more so, their aim is to be viewed as the least expensive option in the Netherlands. With all this in mind, Omnia took on the exciting challenge ahead. Today, Plein uses Omnia’s products to receive market insights, automate its pricing strategies and to automatically calculate change prices across the market. Using both Dynamic Pricing and Price Watch, Plein was able to receive pricing data from their competitors to better inform themselves, and all pricing across multiple platforms became automated, meaning hours spent doing manual updates was spent elsewhere. We also provided insights into the tradeoff between Plein’s margins and sales. The leaders of retail pricing solutions across Europe Price optimization has a large impact on whether profits grow or not and whether retailers can thrive. For customers, it is also vital that they receive a competitive price for a product and are not swindled. The best way to balance oneself on this slim beam is to employ the smarts of dynamic pricing.

Meet the Team: Tim

Name: Tim Avemarie-Scharmann Company Role: Head of Knowledge & Scalability --- What do you do at Omnia Retail? I help our customers to define and achieve their commercial pricing goals, by building our customers' and...

Name: Tim Avemarie-Scharmann Company Role: Head of Knowledge & Scalability --- What do you do at Omnia Retail? I help our customers to define and achieve their commercial pricing goals, by building our customers' and internal team's pricing and retail expertise in a sustainable and scalable way. What is something people in your industry have to deal with that you want to fix? Competitive positioning and pricing are complex issues, and also a necessity for every entrepreneurial organisation. In the digital E-Commerce this is even more true, as data and information are available all the time, both to the consumer as well as to competitors. I want to provide our users with the most relevant industry knowledge on pricing, and help them apply the most efficient solution. What is your past experience, of working in your position? I studied Sociology, Politics and Philosophy and used to work in Singapore for some time after my studies. The major part of my professional life I have been working in a SaaS company in the E-Commerce industry, dealing with questions related to (dynamic) pricing. I also serve as municipal councillor in my city Mainz for the pan-european party Volt, where I get engaged with local questions related to global issues like climate change or the technological disruption. I am very much interested in the intersections of different things, e.g. where the technological meets the social or the political meets the economical. I like to deal with different questions in varying contexts, as it challenges me to learn something new and to grow, but also to come up with new ideas and innovative solutions. What do you like about working at Omnia Retail so far? With many of my colleagues I have been working together for the better part of all of our professional careers. Many of us have started during or right after university. We all grew together and everybody became more skilled in what s/he is doing, may that be coding or working with our customers. To see that we all evolved professionally and personally, becoming friends that care for each other along the way, and being able to produce valuable solutions for the biggest and most renowned brands and retailers in Europe, is something that makes me proud and wistful. And after merging with Omnia, there is a big bunch of new interesting people that I am really excited to work with and learn from in the years to come. What are the values that drive you? Positivity and caring for the people around me. What are your top-3 favorite books? - The Silmarillion - J.R.R. Tolkien - Sapiens: a brief history of humankind - Yuval Noah Harari - Beerholms Vorstellung - Daniel Kehlman What do you enjoy doing when you are not working? I like to work out, but I am not sure if that qualifies as “not working” ;-) As my daughter just turned 2, I spend a lot of time on playgrounds. When there is enough time on the weekend we usually go on family trips. It´s such a great thing exploring and experiencing the world around you with your kids, it brings a completely new quality to it. Let’s end with your favorite quote! "Technology is society made durable" - Bruno Latour

Omnia appoints a new CFO, supporting its vision and leadership

As Omnia Retail moves into the next phase of growth, a new member of its leadership team is set to assist in driving forward the company’s multinational strategy: Hande Erdogan, Omnia Retail’s new Chief Financial...

As Omnia Retail moves into the next phase of growth, a new member of its leadership team is set to assist in driving forward the company’s multinational strategy: Hande Erdogan, Omnia Retail’s new Chief Financial Officer, who joined the team in April at the company’s Amsterdam offices. Hande brings a world full of knowledge and experience to the table, honing in on her skills within the financial services industry. Hailing from Turkey originally, Hande attended Boğaziçi University in Istanbul, achieving a degree in international trade and then completing her Masters in finance and economics at the London School of Economics and Political Science. Hande has a strong foundation in investment banking, having worked at Citi for 14 years and then made the transition in a CFO role for a tech scale-up. “For the last 5 years I was the CFO of a start-up which grew to become a scale-up, with offices in Istanbul, Berlin and London, so I have both worked with big, international corporates as well as start-ups across their growth journey,” says Hande. Hande’s goals for Omnia align with our plan to become an undeniable global force in pricing software as the only solution to retailers and brands. She will be focused on ensuring financially healthy organic growth, coupled with inorganic growth via value-creating acquisitions. “My primary target is to channel all my knowledge and experience to support Omnia’s goal to expand its coverage and strengthen its leadership position. I will mostly focus on adapting the finance function to support a scalable organization and arrange necessary internal and external funding to fuel its growth,” says Hande. Although Hande has worked in the financial sector for most of her career, it is Omnia’s dynamic pricing software and customer success division that drew her to the role, setting Omnia apart from other SaaS companies. Hande explains it is the “how” that elevates Omnia above the fray: “Omnia’s level of sophistication both at product and team level is quite unparalleled.” It is no coincidence then that one of Hande’s business philosophies aligns so well with one of Omnia’s core values of striving for perfection. Hande believes in working with dedication and a passion for excellence. CEO Sander Roose couldn’t agree more that Hande is the right person for the job. “Hande is precisely the right CFO for this next phase of the business and a great addition to the leadership team, we are proud to have Hande onboard.”

Meet the Team: Milena

Name: Milena Shayan Company Role: Customer Success Manager --- What do you do at Omnia Retail? It’s hard to narrow it down :) My team and I are the first contact point for our customers. We do the technical support,...

Name: Milena Shayan Company Role: Customer Success Manager --- What do you do at Omnia Retail? It’s hard to narrow it down :) My team and I are the first contact point for our customers. We do the technical support, workshops, and consulting. Besides that I do routine check-ups, proactive support and different projects to improve the internal & external processes. Other than that, I’m helping out wherever it’s needed, for example, Office Management, Accounting, Organizing little after work get-togethers with coworkers. What is something people in your industry have to deal with that you want to fix? In my day to day work I deal with a lot of customers and different accounts and support a lot of users with their challenges. What I really have learned is that looking at every challenge with respect and comprehension, to solve the issues and help our customers. I want to set an environment that relies on mutual respect and is conducive to problem solving. What is your past experience, of working in your position? Before I started working at Patagona (Omnia now), I helped in my parents' lab at the time and already had a lot of contact with customers. My studies in industrial engineering with a specialization in mechanical engineering, taught me besides technical thinking a lot about different soft skills like handling stress, being organized and disciplined. I’m glad that I was able to gain experience in many different areas within the company, from cold calling, sales, accounting, direct contact at fairs and more. So the last past almost 6 years I built a lot of know-how and best practices for my actual position within the customer success department. What do you like about working at Omnia Retail so far? On one hand, as e-commerce is constantly changing and evolving, we as a SaaS company are also always challenged to evolve. I have always had the freedom to delve into different areas and aspects and learn a lot of new things. On the other hand, I find that the friendly and supportive environment is not only encouraging but also makes working at Omnia fun. What are the values that drive you? Kindness, Creativity, Acceptance What are your top-3 favorite books? It’s usually hard for me to pick favorite books because they change over time. - Ikigai - Ken Mogi Two books I just started to read and already like a lot: - Who am I and if so how many? - Richard David Precht - The vegetarian - Hang KangBlink - Malcolm Gladwell What do you enjoy doing when you are not working? I like to paint, go to exhibitions (the most recent one was the Renoir - Rococo Revival), spend time with friends, and do some gardening. Let’s end with your favorite quote! "As time goes on, you’ll understand. What lasts, lasts; what doesn’t, doesn’t. Time solves most things. And what time can’t solve, you have to solve yourself." - Haruki Murakami

Meet the Team: Hector

Name: Hector Rubin Company Role: Junior Consultant Trainee --- What do you do at Omnia Retail? Learn, mostly! As a part of the traineeship program, I rotate through several different teams within Omnia. Starting with...

Name: Hector Rubin Company Role: Junior Consultant Trainee --- What do you do at Omnia Retail? Learn, mostly! As a part of the traineeship program, I rotate through several different teams within Omnia. Starting with customer success, but moving on to sales, product and working in a consultancy function as well. Currently, I’m handling client support requests and dipping my toes in the customer success realm. Most of my day-to-day activities revolve around understanding the intricacies of Omnia, common customer issues, and solving unique challenges (really, puzzles) that arise for our clients. I’m also responsible in part for making sure that the company is up to speed in the morning, so rising early is part of the job too! What is something people in your industry have to deal with that you want to fix? Information overload; there’s so much information coming at you from every angle, concerning a huge variety of topics. It becomes exceedingly difficult to remain organised and properly digest the necessary information as it comes. I find that this is especially prevalent in documentation; it is essential, but can quickly become hindersome if not well thought out. What is your past experience, of working in your position? I’ve worked in a number of positions before coming to Omnia, mostly throughout my studies. Almost all of my positions had some element of customer success/management, as a librarian, cocktail bartender, and pharmaceutical bike courier. Always important to keep the customers happy! I believe that my varied interests, good attitude, and open mind towards challenges are important credentials for my position. Besides those attributes, I hold a MSc in Entrepreneurship and Business Development from Maastricht University where I graduated cum laude. I also hold a BA in European Studies from Maastricht University. Studying always helps! What do you like about working at Omnia Retail so far? The environment, the people, and the challenges. I feel like I fit right in with the culture, which has made my transition very easy. Everyone here is open, informed and more than willing to help; without these things, I would certainly be more lost! Besides the mass of collective knowledge, my colleagues are genuinely wonderful people. After meeting our fantastic colleagues over in Darmstadt, I was convinced that everyone really has each other's best interests in mind. Finally, the challenges and learning curve has been a very appealing aspect of the work so far. Slowly gaining more competence and responsibility is a very satisfying feeling, and I’m looking forward to the day where I can call myself a ‘product expert’! The skills and knowledge I’m gaining at Omnia are extremely useful and I’m looking forward to continually developing myself. What are the values that drive you? Honesty, Genuineness, Self-reflection, Kindness What are your top-3 favorite books? -Blink - Malcolm Gladwell - Kitchen Confidential - Anthony Bourdain - A promised land - Barack Obama What do you enjoy doing when you are not working? I’m an avid runner, so you might find me looping around Vondelpark after work. Otherwise, I enjoy drawing, journaling and learning new languages. I’ve recently been working on my German. A good book never hurts either. Let’s end with your favorite quote! “If you talk to a man in a language he understands, that goes to his head. If you talk to him in his own language, that goes to his heart.”

The new era of the retail consumer

Not even the Wall Street crash of 2008 saw the retail world having to relearn the wants and needs of the modern consumer as much as the last two years of the coronavirus pandemic. As 2022 enters its second quarter,...

Not even the Wall Street crash of 2008 saw the retail world having to relearn the wants and needs of the modern consumer as much as the last two years of the coronavirus pandemic. As 2022 enters its second quarter, lockdowns have largely been lifted and the closest thing to normal life is resuming. However, one thing that won’t be returning to “normal” are the hows, whys and whats of purchasing decisions. Consumers are forever changed, and that means retailers and brands are going to need to learn quickly or sink fast. How have consumers changed and where are they spending their money and their time? Are pre-pandemic buying methods and spending habits going to make a return? How can retailers and brands retain customer loyalty? We have highlighted some key trends to shed light on the answers to these questions. Reflective or intuitive: How consumers make decisions If retailers and brands are going to survive and keep up with the post-pandemic consumer, one of the things they may have to do is understand how people make choices. In a nutshell, the psychology of decision-making is split between two systems or types: Type 1 is intuitive and Type 2 is reflective thinking. Brands often rely on a person’s intuitive thinking because it hinges on a shopper’s loyalty to them and higher purchase intent, especially when there are promotional deals on offer. For example, if a person has been buying the same baby diapers from the same brand for years, it is cognitively based on a sense of loyalty to the brand. However, the last two years have forced us to change our daily behaviours and this has affected how we see and reflect upon income, job security and our overall outlook on life. For the foreseeable future, reflective thinking (type 2) is something that brands should spend more time understanding and paying attention to. Reflective thinking is based on a feeling of “rightness”, according to Kantar, a data science company. That initial feeling of rightness, however, can be affected by a person’s situational, cognitive or motivational factors. In other words, the subconscious voice inside your head that says, “This is the brand of running shoe like and I’m choosing to buy it” can be affected by the aforementioned factors. Reflective thinkers (vs. intuitive) are more likely to let these external factors affect their decision and decrease their purchase intent, which is a theory supported by an academic paper by Joyce van Uden who attended Tilburg University in the Netherlands. In today’s world, those external factors may include the health and financial upsets of the last two years. In 2019, before a whisper of Covid-19 was even mentioned, nobody could’ve predicted that the brands and retailers they’d been shopping from would be affected by second-guessing on such a mammoth scale. Now, years later, situational, cognitive or motivational influences are certainly at play when consumers shop. Key trends and changes among consumers Online grocers have seen continued growth During global lockdowns in 2020 and 2021 that saw consumers having to stay at home, it was obvious that an increase in online shopping for groceries would naturally occur. However, this trend has continued post-pandemic. Globally, from 2020 to 2022, shoppers who bought groceries online increased by 19%. The main reason for this used to be safety related to Covid-19. Now, it’s for convenience. However, online grocers should not sit back and relax, assuming to pour all their resources and time into e-commerce. Grocers need to present a strong omnichannel retail experience for the consumer who wants options (and that’s pretty much all of them). Although shopping for meat and fresh produce is still largely done in-store, consumers like the service of home delivery or click-and-collect. It adds a level of comfort and accessibility to a service. A new trend called “top up shops”, in which a consumer will purchase staples like bread and milk online in addition to weekly or monthly in-store shops, shows just how common it has become for consumers to shop online and offline for food even within just a few days of one another. Created by JD Worldwide, a new food grocer in the Netherlands by the name of Ochama has blended omnichannel shopping, logistics technologies and robotics to offer shoppers cheaper groceries without cutting on efficiency and quality. Ochama is able to offer food and non-food items that are 10% cheaper while utilising robotics technology to gather parcels for customers who’ve ordered online or on the Ochama app. Customers can choose to pick up their parcel at the store or wait for home delivery the following day. Moreover, Ochama is only available to consumers who become members, instilling a sense of immediate exclusivity and brand loyalty. From e-commerce to m-commerce A boom in e-commerce during 2020 and 2021 was inevitable, however, what’s been interesting to note is how even within e-commerce’s growth, sub-trends are emerging. The mobile shopping experience for consumers has become easier, faster, more professional and more intuitive to the shopper’s needs. By the end of 2021, 54% of global e-commerce sales were from mobile, totaling €3.1 trillion, showing that the majority of e-commerce sales came from apps on a phone or tablet. In addition, this number was up by 22% from 2020, showing that more and more consumers are trusting and enjoying the mobile shopping experience. Globally, e-commerce app installs increased by 10% from 2020 to 2021, however some areas beat out this world average such as EMEA (Europe, the Middle East and Africa) at 15%. Less thinking and more doing in personal innovation Through an extensive survey done by market researchers at GWI, it has found that “seismic changes in the collective mindset” of consumers is taking place. From job resignations to how people have changed their spending habits, a common theme has emerged: Caution, delaying and overthinking are more and more being thrown to the wind. From the second financial quarter of 2020 (roughly April) to the second quarter of 2021, GWI notes that US consumers showed a “diminished need to be careful and responsible, especially with finances''. Upon looking at the research more in-depth, consumers also said that “treating oneself and indulging” became one of their top three priorities in the last year. This type of response was especially high in France and Italy, signalling a shift in Europe regarding consumer behaviour. In terms of pricing strategies, this could present an opportunity for direct-to-consumer (D2C) businesses to make their prices more competitive or marketers to be more suggestive in their communication. Brand loyalty has taken a knock Attracting and retaining brand loyalty is anything but easy and on the flip side for consumers, finding a brand you trust and consider the go-to for a particular product is just as difficult. Going forward, the traditional ways retailers and brands attract and retain customer loyalty have been turned on their head. McKinsey & Company reports that in the US, 75% of consumers tried new shopping behaviours and brands, pointing to convenience, availability and value-for-money as their reasons. Of the aforementioned 75%, 80% tried a new digital shopping method and 25% tried a private label or store brand, which are generally known to be less expensive. Retailers and brands should not discount on finding and keeping a customer’s loyalty, as a study by Bain & Company found that a 5% increase in customer retention can increase profitability by 75%. If a brand or retailer is noticing a shift in purchasing patterns such as consumers choosing other brands for specific products, this may prompt them to want to relook at their pricing or promotional strategies to regain the attention and loyalty of customers whose eyes are starting to wander. McKinsey also suggests that retailers should focus on “strong availability” and to also “convey value” to retain customers. The homebody economy is set to continue growing Because consumers were forced to stay home under strict lockdown laws, finding ways to entertain oneself became imperative. As a result, sales in the home entertainment, gaming, home fitness and electronics sectors sky-rocketed. Looking at Google search volumes in the first and third weeks of March 2020 when global lockdowns first began, “home fitness” as a topic went from level 22 - which is below average popularity for a search term - to level 100, which is the highest level of popularity for a term. What’s interesting to note is that, even after lockdowns have been lifted, consumers are choosing to spend more time at home and are cooking more at home rather than eating out. McKinsey asked consumers the following question: “Over the next two weeks, how much time do you expect to spend on activities compared to how much you normally spend?” The answers most selected were cooking, home improvement and exercise. Of these, cooking was said to increase by 39%; home improvement by 31% and exercise by 27%. While the home economy continues growing, e-commerce retailers could - or should - capitalise on how the consumer is choosing to spend their time. If a retailer that sells fitness equipment is smart, they will take this data and promote their home fitness equipment and apparel over items one may use in the gym or in the outdoors. Retailers selling items for construction should promote and prioritise DIY products. Retailers selling homeware should prioritise home cooking, kitchen equipment for families or singletons, and even recipe books for home use. Which segments of society are actually adopting these habits and trends? Not every change in consumer behaviour applies like a one-size-fits-all blanket. Depending on the socio-economic status of a consumer, reactions to spending in the post-pandemic world are different. According to the same aforementioned McKinsey study, the group most likely to adopt the majority of these behavioural changes are those who have had their finances and health affected by the pandemic in some way. And, most opposingly, the group that is considered the most affluent and secure is also likely to adopt the majority of these behaviours. This group is made up of 60% men who make more than $100,000 per year and have greater job security. The group that is least likely to adopt any of these behaviours at all is retirees above the age of 65. When it comes to strategy, does social media have the same impact it used to on consumers? A more blatant question is, “After the world has gone through an unprecedented health scare that’s torn through economies, homes, and entire families, is the vapid and materialistic nature of social media as effective as a strategy to lure in customers?” Yes and no. Before the coronavirus pandemic began, a large effect on the spending habits of the 16 - 64 year age group was influencer marketing on social media. In 2019 - and the five years before it - social media feeds were dominated by perfectly curated faces, bodies, and wardrobes as D2C brands and retailers used the power of influence to sway spending habits and profit their way. Today, seeing manicured lives that seem to be out of touch with reality has become less and less appealing. The loss of life, business foreclosures, global recessions and civil conflict on such a grand scale have left consumers looking for genuineness, choosing brands who want to connect in an authentic way. According to a GWI Zeitgeist survey of over 9,200 social media users aged 16 - 64, the thing they want the most from brands is authenticity: While the kind of content consumers want to see on Instagram and other social media platforms may be changing, these platforms have also been advancing their shopping features. Instagram, Facebook, TikTok, SnapChat and Twitter have developed content-driven strategies to get consumers to make direct purchases. As of January 2022, 44% of Instagram users worldwide shop weekly on the platform and 1 in 2 people use Instagram to discover new brands. In 2016, Instagram released product tags but their place in the Instagram shopping machine was only fully realised in 2021 which started allowing people to shop products from a web store and learn information about it without ever leaving the app. This firmly places Instagram in the centre of the m-commerce hurricane. From swimwear to electronics to jewellery, what originally was a photo sharing app has become a global m-commerce giant. TikTok uses short videos created by users to begin the path to purchase which, as described by TikTok itself, isn’t a linear start-to-end process: It’s an infinite loop. “Today’s consumers enter, exit, and re-enter at different stages of the purchase journey based on their needs and wants.” This “infinite loop” seems to be working - TikTok users are 1.5x more likely than other platform users to immediately purchase something they’ve discovered on the app. Looking to 2023 and beyond What’s that saying about change being the only constant? If you had to ask a person what spending or shopping habits they’re going to take on in one year from now, or even two or three, they will likely say they’ll be doing the same thing that they’re doing now. However, studies show that consumers - and people in general - are not aware of how much they change over time. In other words, we can’t forecast our own behaviour, according to a study conducted at the University of Sheffield in the UK. However, if retailers and brands are smart, they will do the work to satisfy these five factors that consumers need fulfilled when deciding to adopt a new behaviour (such as choosing to shop on a store’s new mobile app vs in-store): Cost-effectiveness, time-saving, convenience, enjoyment, personal reward. Shopping online and on e-commerce apps should be incentivised more A report created by Bond, a firm that studies customer loyalty, trends and behaviours found that 79% of customers stick with a brand if they offer loyalty programs. Loyalty programs are just one example of the many types of incentives retailers can use to attract new or retain existing customers. A key takeaway is that incentives should be personalised to the shopper to truly succeed. Adidas’ Creators Club is a successful example showing how to target new or existing customers. Through an individualised profile that one logs into, you can receive exclusive information on new products, club-only offers, invitations to events, and early access for purchasing new items. Disney partnered up with Visa to offer fans a credit card that allows them to save up for their dream Disney holiday. The card gives them discounts, accelerated earnings, and credit for flights. Card holders can also choose a card that has their favourite Disney character on it. It requires little effort, then, to see the value in incentivising consumers to shop on mobile and e-commerce platforms. The very reason incentives like commission, promotions and other job perks work so well for employees in competitive fields is the same reason consumers choose one brand who has incentivised them over the other who hasn’t: Human beings want more for what they’re willing to give (whether that’s hard work or money). An evolving lesson An academic paper written by Prof. John Hauser (MIT), Prof. Min Ding (PSU) and Dr Songting Dong (UNSW) provides evidence that “the accurate measurement of consumer preferences reduces development costs and leads to successful products” for retailers and brands, showing just how imperative it is to understand intuitive and reflective thinking in the context of a post-pandemic world. This ultimately provides retailers with an opportunity to reinvent themselves within their current market and position themselves to attract new consumers from competitors who fail to see the emerging trends within the market.

Omnia Retail celebrates 10 years as Europe’s leader in pricing software

Celebrating an important milestone for a company that largely founded and revolutionised pricing software solutions across Europe a decade ago, Omnia Retail celebrated its 10th birthday last week with a team event at...

Celebrating an important milestone for a company that largely founded and revolutionised pricing software solutions across Europe a decade ago, Omnia Retail celebrated its 10th birthday last week with a team event at their Darmstadt office in Germany. "What a ride"!" Sander Roose, the company’s founder and CEO, shared at the event that, “It’s amazing to see how much Omnia has grown and gone through completely different phases and developed her own personality.” Omnia’s CCO Maximilian Bank, who founded Patagona, a pricing software company that was acquired by Omnia in 2021, reflected on the journey as well: “From the humble beginnings, to the ever-changing challenges, to today's position as the European market leader for retail pricing software: What a ride!” Head of Product Berend van Niekerk shares Max's thoughts. “We are still just at the beginning of something way bigger and better and the best is still to come.” Alongside the Head of Marketing, Leon Curling-Hope noted that “We’re not slowing down, as there is a lot of untapped opportunity within the market with exciting things to come.” Pioneering an industry before its time Because pricing software was a fairly new product when Omnia started, Sander explains that the early days were not easy. Dynamic pricing was a subject and concept very few knew much about, leaving Sander and the team having to explain what it is to clients. “Nowadays, that has completely changed and every retailer and brand needs to have pricing software in order to compete in the market and they are fully aware of that.” “However, I do believe that those years helped us to get a head-start on international competition in building our product and sharpening our thinking about the topic,” says Sander. In servicing clients, Max and Sander believe it is not just about offering the best pricing software solutions, but aiding in building customer pricing expertise. Omnia invests heavily in customer success teams, and provides retail and pricing insights to its clients and via industry commentary on the Price Points blog. For Max, one of the best things Omnia provides its clients other than its products is customer closeness. “We are not an anonymous software provider - you can talk to us. We learn from our customers every day, and they, in return, benefit from our pricing and e-commerce know-how.” Creating core values: What makes Omnia different? When asked about Omnia’s three core values, Sander says they were developed out ofhis single most important lesson as an entrepreneur: Developing company culture. Company culture is made of the values and personalities of a company’s founders and early team members, says Sander. Omnia’s three core values are: Never stop learning; obsession with excellence; free to be you and me. “They’re at the core of everything we do. From evaluating job candidates to providing feedback and making decisions on promotions and career planning,” explains Sander. Chief Operations Officer Vanessa Verlaan, the steward behind Omnia’s company culture, echos Sander’s standpoint. “You need to prioritise company culture throughout your entire organisation and live up to it everyday.” Looking forward to the next decade Sander and Max have big goals for the next decade. By 2032, Omnia plans to not only be Europe’s leader in pricing software solutions but the global leader. “The way things are going at the moment, I have no doubt that we will achieve this goal,” says Max. “However, one of our top priorities will always be to make sure that we stay close to our customers: That's what made us what we are today. We should always remember that!”

Meet the Team: Marielle

Name: Marielle Roozendaal Company Role: Employee Experience Manager --- What do you do at Omnia Retail? Together with Vanessa (COO of Omnia Retail) we work on creating a scalable and professional organization and...

Name: Marielle Roozendaal Company Role: Employee Experience Manager --- What do you do at Omnia Retail? Together with Vanessa (COO of Omnia Retail) we work on creating a scalable and professional organization and building an engaging high performance company culture. My passion is to drive great employee and vistors experience. This is very varied, from working on different projects such as joining Amsterdam Inclusive and Diversity. But also looking for the right tools like e-Signing or HRIS. I am also responsible for the complete people administration, (home) office, organize team meetings and awesome events. What is something people in your industry have to deal with that you want to fix? Engage and connect employees. A lot has changed, especially in the past 2 years. Many companies have started working from home and are likely to continue to do so. As a result, employees mainly see each other online and no longer physically. It is important to take this into account and do everything you can to stay in touch and take care of each other.. What is your past experience, of working in your position? I have completed Media & Entertainment Management study. One of the things I learned is to plan and organize events in all kinds of areas. After that I started working as a study advisor at a company that offered training to companies and individuals. Something that had nothing to do with what I learned during my study. But at that time I wanted to work and live closer to my family and friends, so this was for a short term. After that I started at a start-up as Office Manager. I learned a lot at this company. Here I found out what I find important in my role and the company where I work. An open and transparent company where we can learn from each other. Then I came to Omnia where all this is the case and what is the right place for me. What do you like about working at Omnia Retail so far? The responsibility I get, the people and the culture. We have a strong feedback culture so I know what I can still learn and improve, but also what goes well. This allows me to bring out the best in myself. We have a great team that is always open to help and improving each other. What are the values that drive you? Honesty and Respect. What are your top-3 favorite books? - Book: The Culture Map - Erin Meyer - Podcast: People Masterminds What do you enjoy doing when you are not working? Spending time with my family and friends. Working with my hands (wooden furniture or games, crochet). I recently bought a racing bike, so this spring I’m starting cycling! Let’s end with your favorite quote! “Just do it.”

Meet the Team: Andreas

Name: Andreas Frankenberger Company Role: Chief Technical Officer (CTO) --- What do you do at Omnia Retail? Shaping our platform in a way that enables us to fulfill the future needs of our customers and fostering the...

Name: Andreas Frankenberger Company Role: Chief Technical Officer (CTO) --- What do you do at Omnia Retail? Shaping our platform in a way that enables us to fulfill the future needs of our customers and fostering the development teams to be prepared for the upcoming challenges. What do you like about working at Omnia Retail so far? Having discussions with very talented people on topics such as pricing, software architecture and software development in general. What are the values that drive you? Always learning new things. What are your top-3 favorite books? - "Misbehaving" by Richard Thaler - "Und Nietsche weinte" by Irvin D. Yalom - "Jerusalem" by Sami Tamimi & Yotam Ottolenghi What do you enjoy doing when you are not working? I enjoy cooking with friends and hope I find more time for sports such as weight lifting, grappling and bike riding. If I’m not at sport or cooking in the evening I read a book. Besides of this, I like not tying my shoes, according to my girlfriend ;)

Is this the end for e-commerce merchants as brands take the lead?

“Are retailers and brands like Decathlon, Nike and others changing the current narrative to better suit the needs of customers and their profit margins, blurring the lines between brand and retailer?” As we enter the...

“Are retailers and brands like Decathlon, Nike and others changing the current narrative to better suit the needs of customers and their profit margins, blurring the lines between brand and retailer?” As we enter the third year of the pandemic, many brands and retailers around the world have been making the move to sell direct-to-consumer in an effort to not only stay in business but to possibly enter new markets. Simultaneously, because of the rise in direct-to-consumer sales for brands, we have seen the rise of private labels within retailers. The waters between brands like Nike and retailers like Decathlon are potentially blending. In the last six months, these two global sporting goods companies have contended well with a fast-changing industry and many may look to follow. As global industries continue to try to keep up with the growth of e-commerce, consumer demands and behaviour, technological advancements, and more recently the pandemic, we have taken a look at how these companies and others are adjusting and performing. A tested relationship In the fight to catch the consumer’s attention, retailers and brands are climbing to new heights to not only increase profits, but to stand out in the minds of consumers enough to earn their loyalty over the long term. Traditionally, an online retailer would stock a brand’s items which would then be sold to a customer who visited their store. However, the rise of e-commerce and direct-to-consumer shopping channels is making the relationship between the two, at times, a tense one. Not only is the relationship becoming fraught, consumers are starting to see brands and retailers as one in the same. This is because both of them are going the distance to offer a unique shopping experience, and both of them are offering similar - if not identical - shopping methods. If a consumer shops on ASOS.com and buys a River Island jersey, it is safe to say the customer likes and trusts both the retailer (ASOS) and the brand (River Island). But, what happens when River Island opens up their own online store? The customer can now go directly to them. In reverse, what if the customer is already aware of River Island’s online store but prefers the shopping experience on ASOS.com? Perhaps they have faster shipping or nicer packaging. At its essence, this all comes down to one question: Who owns the consumer? Now more than ever, it is easier for brands to sell directly to consumers and, although they see the value of large retailers selling their products, most brands would ideally prefer to have the attention of the customer to themselves. Theoretically, if a brand truly wanted to start selling online overnight, they could launch a Shopify or Magento site paired with an Instagram shop and a couple of Google ads for marketing. But, like we said, this is theoretical and brands should not rush to launch a direct-to-consumer online channel without a clear retail strategy. The shift towards D2C Approximately 5 months ago, DSW, one of the largest shoe retailers in the US, received their last-ever shoe shipment from Nike. This is because Nike is shifting its focus and its products away from third-party retailers to their own online website, mobile app, and their brand concept stores. If you want to wear Nike, you’re going to have to shop from Nike, and this is by no accident: The sporting goods giant has been implementing this strategy since 2017 and, bit by bit, their shoes and apparel are getting harder to find in external sporting retailers around the world. So far, Nike’s Head of Finance Matthew Friend says that they have “exited 50%” of their retail partners. Aside from wanting to increase profits and connect with markets via e-commerce, Nike’s then-president Trevor Edwards stated that is about removing themselves from “mediocre retail”. From 30,000 retail partners, Nike’s plan has been to cut down those partnerships to an exclusive 40. By doing this, Nike is able to control the shopper experience, gain new customers, cut out the costs and admin associated with the traditional B2B chain of custody, and position themselves as an exclusive brand. As a retailer, Decathlon is developing an omnichannel purchasing experience for consumers as they focus on online sales across both direct-to-consumer and via third party online channels. In China in March 2021, they joined JD.com with their own flagship store, an e-commerce giant, which was a smart move considering online sales for all retail in China surpassed brick-and-mortar sales, accounting for 52.1% - a world first. In Switzerland, Decathlon is strategically planning to benefit from a shop-in-shop concept without the costs associated with their own department store as they shift more focus to online sales through a partnership with the Manor Group, a retail conglomerate that generates a revenue of €1.6 billion. The benefits of the shop-in-shop concept are obvious, but more importantly will retain some brand awareness and exposure. Despite the line between retailers and brands becoming thinner and weaker, retailers are not going down without a fight. To contend with brands becoming more autonomous, retailers are launching their own in-house private label products, essentially becoming a brand in itself. From clothing to sporting goods; from shoes to electronics; retailers are creating high-quality private labels which is increasing customer loyalty. According to a McKinsey & Company study, during the Covid-19 crisis, 38% of consumers tried a new private label brand and the most common reasons were affordability and availability. In addition, 40% of the same tested group said they’d continue with a private label after the pandemic subdues for the same reasons. In 2017, Decathlon began making plans to have their entire product range owned and manufactured by them by 2020, however, with the surprise of the Covid-19 crisis, this plan has slowed. Former spokeswoman for Decathlon Germany Genevieve Mulack said that “we will develop all our products ourselves in the future.” Today, Decathlon owns close to 70 brands stocked in their stores, ranging from cricket to mountaineering to basketball to yoga and everything in between. How would this move affect their pricing and overall performance? It may be too soon to tell, however if we look at Decathlon’s sales in China from 2013 - 2020, a period in which a direct-to-consumer online presence certainly increased for many global brands, we may be able to make a fair prediction that Decathlon’s sales should not be affected as long as distribution and manufacturing can keep up with global demand. In 2013, Decathlon in China made €7.4 billion, which rose to €12.4 billion at the end of 2019 (2020 saw Chinese sales drop to €11.4 billion because of the pandemic). As for Nike, after they started opening Nike-owned retail stores and their own online store, direct-to-consumer sales and revenue have consistently increased from €2.2 billion in 2010 to €12.8 billion in 2021. As a part of their direct-to-consumer push, Nike also aimed to have 30% digital penetration by 2023, meaning that 30% of their total direct-to-consumer sales would be from e-commerce, however, they’ve already flown past that goal. By the end of 2022, digital penetration was at 39%. With Decathlon and Nike owning and controlling their brand, this eliminates some of the competitive antics involved in pricing strategies with product resellers, allowing them to control their retail prices more competitively. The current market conditions are possibly accelerating the direct-to-consumer “D2C” move By the end of 2020, global e-commerce spend increased from 4 to 18% since 2010, totalling €3.7 trillion. Moreover, if we take a look at the last decade of retail, we can see a number of advances that have caused a ripple effect over the years: Online shopping stores became more user-friendly with advancements in UX and UI; transactions became safer and more trustworthy while more payment options also became available. The ability to shop on your mobile phone via an app developed by the retailer increased. By the end of 2021, 47% of all leading web shops in Europe had an app version for mobile shoppers. As of October 2021, 80% of smartphone owners in the US bought something from their phone in the last 6 months. Online marketing through social media platforms like Instagram and Facebook further developed. With 1.4 billion users on Instagram alone and with Europeans spending an average of 1 hour and 15 minutes on the app every day, there has never been a more direct way to reach consumers. Shipping became faster and more reliable, with Amazon setting an establishment for two-day delivery. Soon after, next-day and same-day delivery became industry-standard. Omnichannel selling became more of a necessity, instead of relying on the physical presence of a department store. Tracking customers by location, organic searches and their previous online purchasing history was developed and has largely become standard practice. Retargeting existing customers via email and social media marketing were also developed. Dynamic pricing; a focus on seasonality, price elasticity and high runner strategies are now at the forefront of pricing methodologies, let alone the adoption of newly developed machine learning algorithms and automation. E-commerce became essential as of 2020 due to the pandemic. Consumers became more price sensitive as the economy slowed. An ever-changing landscape In an ever-changing industry, an omnichannel or direct-to-consumer business model for brands is proving to be a good move. Other than the above-listed reasons, why else should brands consider moving to a direct digital channel? Another reason for developing one's own e-commerce platform or app is to become more pricing-focused, thus increasing your profit. Another reason is creating a brand narrative which can be done more effectively than ever before - and that is just the start. In 2021, the global consumer electronics industry generated €655 million in revenue, which is expected to grow to €839 million by 2025, depending on the supply-and-demand on semiconductors. That’s an annual growth rate of 7.2%. In India, the rise of D2C consumer electronics brands in the face of global giants like Apple, Samsung and Xiaomi has not whimpered. Brands like BoAt, Portronics, LoopAudio and Noise manufacturer, market and sell their products, which include headphones, Bluetooth earphones, smartphone covers, portable speakers, travel chargers and more. Similarly to Decathlon and Nike, BoAt has a hybrid D2C/B2B business model with shopping experiences available through their own web store, brick-and-mortar retail brand stores, Amazon and Flipkart. Out of all the above-mentioned sales made in the consumer electronics segment in 2021, 43% were completed online, which is up from 37% in 2019. US bike manufacturer Specialized recently made strategic changes to its business model. From February 2022, shoppers can order their pre-assembled bike on their website and have it delivered directly to their homes. Up until now, however, local bike dealers played the middleman by assembling the bike for the customer and delivering it to their home or, if the customer lived close by, they would collect it. By offering this service to Specialized, these bike dealers received a cut of the profit from each sale. Now that customers have the option of ordering pre-assembled bikes for home delivery, local bike shops will be receiving up to 50% less of their usual margin, and in some cases, not at all if customers continue to choose the pre-assembled home delivery option. Before officially announcing this change, founder Mike Sinyard said in April 2020 already that changes to Specialized’s business model were going to drastically change due to evolving consumer buying habits: “There is no escaping the reality that these changes will be disruptive for a while.” However, this was not Sinyard’s original sentiment roughly a decade ago when he boldly stated at a bike dealer event that Specialized would never sell bikes over the internet, in a bid to show loyalty to the bike retailer community the company has built since its 1974 inception. Fast forward back to April 2020, Sinyard said “Click-and-collect is a game-changer now. We see that as the best model working forward with our retailers.” This just shows the mental and physical shift companies have had to make in just a matter of years. In addition, now that Specialized has a stronger D2C element, they are reserving 15% of their stock just for D2C sales, thus making themselves a direct competitor to the very bike retailers they’ve been working with for years. What is the future for retailers and brands? Whether businesses like it or not, e-commerce is changing the retail landscape. In fact, the 2021 report by E-Commerce Europe stated that 73% of all citizens living in the EU-27 group shopped online in 2021 - that’s three-quarters of an entire continent. In addition, this number was up from 68% in 2019, showing a growing trend in shopping online. When online stores for brands were first emerging a decade or so ago, it was primarily used as a supportive entity to the primary department store, typically in a mall. Now, online stores and social media stores are built, managed, marketed and treated as individualistic, important parts of the selling machine - as they should be. With online sales being made more of a priority for companies, there are many opportunities to see businesses flourish and to connect with consumers in a more authentic way. Barclay’s estimates that the UK could make an additional €15.9 billion in revenue over a 5-year period using more direct-to-consumer strategies, and this could result in over 31,000 new jobs being created. Omnia certainly expects a trend in the coming years where more and more originally-focused B2B and online-oriented brands will enter the direct-to-consumer arena with some introducing flagship, shop-in-shop, concept brick-and-mortar stores or brand-owned online stores. We know that establishing a presence online seems on the outset to be an easy task at first glance, and it certainly has become more accessible to do so, but we also understand how competitive the market is in terms of advertising, dynamic pricing and logistics. Ultimately, this is where technology will eventually decide who remains on top and who flounders.

Meet the Team: Nik

Name: Nik Shulrufer Company Role: Software Developer --- What do you do at Omnia Retail? Supporting the Frontend part of the Omnia portal, transforming lines of code into nice new features for our customers and ensuring...

Name: Nik Shulrufer Company Role: Software Developer --- What do you do at Omnia Retail? Supporting the Frontend part of the Omnia portal, transforming lines of code into nice new features for our customers and ensuring that everything runs as smoothly and reliably as possible :) What is something people in your industry have to deal with that you want to fix? The world of software development is rapidly changing. Each day new technologies emerge, existing technologies get overhauled and so on. Therefore, if developers do not factor in the possibility of future changes, they will eventually find themselves stuck in the maintenance mode, instead of the mode of creation. Why? Because the biggest challenge for a software engineer is not to write a code which will bring about a certain result. It is writing a code that will be robust enough as to outlive hundreds of iterations without breaking anything and clear enough so it can be easily understood by others even after a few years. Only then you can call this a ‘good code’. What is your past experience, of working in your position? Holding a bachelor’s degree in law (yes, completely unrelated to tech), I started out as a self-taught developer several years ago out of sheer passion for creating things on the web. Since then, I familiarized myself with intricacies of Frontend programming languages, frameworks and tools which now allow me to build beautiful stuff for Omnia. What do you like about working at Omnia Retail so far? The friendly vibes and a pleasant environment to work in created by the awesome people at Omnia. In addition, it is also a huge opportunity for professional growth that Omnia offers. What are the values that drive you? Integrity – paramount to any social interaction and the foundation of every relationship. Consistency – the main ingredient for any growth or success, especially if coupled with a reflection and smart adjustments along your journey. What are your top-3 favorite books? Hard to pick only three, but below are some really good ones: - “The End of Eternity” by