From Retail to Me-Tail: a recap of etailment Summit 2.014


The eTailment Summit & Expo 2.014 was held in the stunning location of the former airport Berlin-Tempelhof on October 8th and 9th, 2014. The organization group composed of bevh, dfv Mediengruppe and the conference group came up with a sophisticated program supported by famous partners from the e-commerce, fulfilment, logistic, media, payment and retail industry.

With this year’s motto “From Retail to Me-Tail”, the eTailment summit emphasized on almost every aspect of nowadays needs of the (more or less) educated, connected, modern, digital, mobile and global society, their individuals and how the industry tries to cope with new challenges to satisfy them. The more individuals are willing to divulge their personal data (experts in this sector argue that Facebook profiles are worth more than sinus milieu information), and the more the industry takes advantage of this data the higher the call for protection of personal data.


A consumer centric and (big) data driven approach seems to be answer and key indicator to a new market approach for many retailers and marketers. Under the headlines me-tail, me-product, me-channel, me-work, me-time, me-data, and me-future the summit highlighted the following aspects of “me-tailing”:

  • Personalised shopping experience in every channel
  • Personalised web shops: Following a survey of the research and consulting company Fittkau & Maaß, the web shops of BAUR, OTTO, and other shops of the otto group achieve best results of a personalized shopping experience, whereas Asos and Zalando are below benchmark.
  • Personalised and “user generated” products: For representatives of DaWanda and myboshi, me-tail is also the personalisation of products, which leads to a high consumer involvement and disposition to buy. Nestlé follows a different approach. The first goal
    of the multinational manufacturer of FMCG is to make consumers happy. Therefor the group uses smart data of consumers to develop better products which matter to broader target groups. This is important for their cost-benefit analysis.
  • Personalised product recommendations following social consumer and community insights: Benjamin Otto, CEO at Collins (About You, Edited and Sister Surprise) presented About You. The slogan “Jedes Teil Dein Style” (“each item your style”) describes Collins’ consumer centric driven e-commerce strategy. It is based on relevance, brand, empathy, and differentiation through apps, personalisation and open commerce. About You
    is an ecosystem which is aligned to external developers of apps and retailers. The user gets
    a choice of matching fashion items from 50,000 products available in stock that fit exactly
    to his liking. Inspiration buying adjusts to the shopping experience of a rather female target group.
  • Personalised offers for different user devices like mobile devices: Besides mass customisation mobile commerce was regarded as the biggest trend. Even if conversion rates on mobile devices are not as high as for stationary computers, outweigh the benefits of high reach and cheaper cost per click (CPC). Westwing noted a sales decrease of the web shop and invested inmobileshoppingconsequently. The online pure player found out that mobile devices are mainly used at home and become more important for commerce. Today cross-device-shopping makes more than 15% of overall sales. The challenges are high when you start with mobile commerce: CRM functionality, tracking (often a disaster), and differing devices (-> fragmentation of screen sizes, number of device types, and operating systems).WestwingdefinedfourmajorKPI for successful mobile commerce:
    1. dedicated mobile team
    2. design creates value
    3. top management’s responsibility
    4. fast reaction
  • Personalised offers per age groups (sexy but poor digital natives versus rich silver surfers) and me-commerce types: Further to Fittkau & Maaß’ studies there are four main types: 19,7 % are pragmatics, 14,7% fans, 53,3% skeptics, and 12,3% are reserved shoppers. One third of Fittkau & Maaß’ probands accept personalisation when the data origin is transparent.
  • Personalised 360° services for increasing customer retention rates: IKEA has just started to equip IKEA stores with tablets and still profits from fair dealing standards like the perpetual exchange guarantee to lower entry barriers, enhance the image, and simplify
    the exchange. Globetrotter has introduced the E-Mail Service Provider (ESP) to create smart mails with individual offers.
  • Personal data: Richard Alan Herz, CIO Zooplus, Charles von Abercron, Managing Director and founder of Glossybox, and Dr. Markus Irmscher, Head of Corporate Brand and Platform at Nestlé Deutschland discussed how big data becomes big business. Whereas the online shopping platform Zooplus, who always considered itself as a big data and fulfilment company, believes in process automation, content is key to success for Glossybox. Being spread in different channels, such as social media, the provider of cosmetics and beauty products notes high coverage and cross-channel-effects. In building an internal BI unit Glossybox reduced the churn rate and increased customer satisfaction by 30%.
    Nestlé follows an objectives-driven approach to become a big data business (-> know where you want to go, get to know your customers, and build strong relations with them). Nestlé’s approach is contextual marketing, which seems to be more important for multi-brand than for mono-brand companies.

The summit showed that user requirements are steadily increasing and becoming more complex and personalised. One can assume that their search behaviour changes in the same way and search queries become even more specific. Consequently, me-tailing starts with perfect semantic search engine marketing. This is a great chance and challenge for the PPC business and the quest for the perfect match.

Two other hot topics have been internationalisation and female business. Going beyond borders for you customers is a trend that is becoming even more important in the upcoming year. Clear strategies for internationalisation are needed. Furthermore, female business is growing. Understand you female customer, every single one. Females have other needs, so be sure to analyse them and answer those needs.

The eTailment Summit & Expo 2.014 was a great event full of expert discussions, insights, and knowledge. Many occasions for networking and socializing were not missing.

Written by Daniela Richeux and Lenny Leppers.


Maximilian Hainlein

I'm working for crealytics as Social Media and Marketing Manager since 2011. My motto: "It's better to be the needle than the haystack."