HANDELSKRAFT CONFERENCE 2018 – INTERVIEW WITH CHRISTIAN OTTO GRÖTSCH
The Handelskraft conference on February 20 in Munich is casting its shadow. But what topics are the lectures actually about? And what is the basic idea of this successful conference? We spoke to Christian Otto Grötsch, initiator of the conference and founder of dotSource, and just asked.
ECD: Christian, the Handelskraft Conference 2018 has the motto “New ways to successful trade” – what new ways do you think these are?
Christian Otto Grötsch: A new way to successful retail is called service. Similar to how customers got used to being able to buy almost all products in large department stores, it is now normal to purchase every product conveniently online, in dedicated shops and on marketplaces. Differentiation is no longer primarily based on price – just as it used to be in large department stores. What counts for customers is the staging of the shopping experience and the quality of advice and service if something goes wrong. Today it is more and more about additional digital benefits.
To do this, retailers and manufacturers have to shed light on the buzzword jungle. Customers clearly reward useful content and omnichannel shopping worlds personalized in real time with an excellent price-performance ratio. The question, however, is what such digital wisdom actually means for companies and how they find their individual way to the target group in order to offer them an excellent digital user experience. What does the customer expect? Which strategy does the business model support? Which tools result in the best individual system landscape? What know-how do employees need?
The good news is: The customer, which is often claimed to be at the center of all business activities, is now finally really coming into focus, driven by data. In order to actually make progress in terms of digital excellence, I see retailers and manufacturers on the way to align all organizational units digitally networked with the customer. This also includes a work and business environment that stimulates and rewards innovation and change. Many companies are still unsure about the new ways of change management.
The future of retail will be digital. How does dotSource help companies find the right strategy and take the right path?
By accompanying companies right from the start and through all aspects of the digitization of marketing, sales and services. Our vision is “Digital Success right from the start.”
In concrete terms, it means that we share our digital business know-how from over twelve years of agency experience in strategy workshops, system selection, implementation, UX design and online marketing with our customers and jointly develop solutions that are fun. Our goal is to provide the customer with a steep learning curve and quick results so that he can experiment with the new means without taking high risks.
How did you come up with the idea of starting a conference three years ago? What is the basic idea behind it?
Very few retailers and manufacturers are successfully pursuing digitization alone. To win the race in digital business, you need a strong team of reliable partners and a high-quality network of industry colleagues. What began in 2015 as a dotSource customer day to focus on the exchange among each other, quickly became a conference for other retailers, manufacturers and publishers to learn from each other and to challenge their own ideas.
The basic idea is to bring digital decision-makers together despite the tough competition, because only together are we strong. The conference is an opportunity to think outside the box and benefit from exclusive insights, because: Only those who know their digital environment can adapt to their digital environment.
What is the benefit of your guests at the conference – what inspiration and what knowledge should they go home with?
At handelskraft.de we have been dealing with the trends of the digital industry in e-commerce and online marketing since 2007 without celebrating any hype. Digital trends such as services, digital platforms and blockchain technology clearly play a role during Handelskraft 2018. However, we do not want to participate in the industry’s popular buzzword bingo. Guests at our conference can count on our speakers to provide specific knowledge and real best practices at first hand during the keynotes and sessions and to be available for intensive queries during the conference day as well as at the evening event.
In addition, free digital consultation hours can be arranged with our experts on the topics of online marketing, marketing automation, customer relationship management (CRM), product data management (PIM) as well as UX and conversion optimization.
In addition to increasing knowledge, inspiration and networking, enjoyment should not be neglected either. Participants of the Handelskraft Conference 2017 at Porsche in Leipzig like to remember not only the content of the day but also the excellent catering and the racing lap in the Porsche Panamera for the evening event. We have again planned unforgettable activities to round off the conference for 2018 at BMW Welt.
2017 Porsche, 2018 BMW: what about your obvious affinity for upscale automobiles?
At first we thought that we could watch an industry of the century die up close. But digital change is also spreading among automotive groups. This is a good signal to retailers and manufacturers who, in shock, believe that digitization will be eliminated.
But joking aside. The affinity to automobiles comes primarily from their myth. Some are technical masterpieces and design classics that are recognized across generations by their silhouette. Cars are emotional. If we manage to develop digital solutions that trigger similarly intense emotions and whose usability is still timelessly impressive in decades, then we are on the right track.
What are your plans for the successful conference format – are there any offshoots, roadshows or other events?
Since 2014 we have been successfully organizing our Handelskraft digital breakfasts in Germany, Austria and Switzerland, which we also use thematically as a field of experimentation. For example, our digital breakfast BAU.digital was created as a PIM and product data breakfast for the building materials industry. As far as the conference is concerned, due to the great demand this year we are offering all content with simultaneous translation in English.
I don’t want to reveal any further plans at this point. However, I am pleased about the excellent response to our unique mix of digital business expertise and networks of our Handelskraft formats. I cordially invite dealers, manufacturers and publishers to the Handelskraft Conference 2018 on February 20 in the BMW Welt in Munich!
Info Christian Otto Grötsch:
Christian Otto Grötsch is the founder and managing director of the full-service digital agency dotSource. He started his career at the multinational online auction house auXion and in 2000 switched to core product development and presales consulting at Intershop Communications AG.
Since 2006, as managing director of the dotSource agency, he has been advising medium-sized companies and international corporations on strategies and technologies in e-commerce and the digitization of marketing, sales and services at top management level.
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