INTERVIEW DR. ARMAND FARSI – ARVATO SCM SOLUTIONS | MAIN SPONSOR
Arvato is not only the main sponsor of the ECD 2018, but is also represented on site by one of the most colorful figures in the e-commerce business. Armand Farsi, podcast host, digital strategist and formidable moderator, tells us more about his role at ECD, his role as Director of the eCommerce Competence Center at Arvato and what, in his opinion, are THE topics of digital transformation.
ECD: Armand, the e-commerce world knows you first and foremost as the host of your podcast “Commerce Corner”. In “real life” you are Director of the eCommerce Competence Center (eCC) at Arvato SCM – what are your tasks there?
Armand Farsi: We are the Digital Commerce Consulting Team at Arvato SCM Solutions. We help our customers – primarily big brands and retailers from fashion, beauty and FMCG – from the strategic development of digital business models to the growth and optimization of existing platforms; recently more and more in omnichannel scenarios and also in the environment of increasingly important marketplaces.
Arvato as a whole is a pretty large entity, to put it bluntly. Can you bring Arvato a little closer to us in your words?
In fact, as a B2B service provider that operates behind the scenes, Arvato is active in many fields and cannot be reduced to one product. Arvato is divided into four divisions: SCM, CRM, Financial Services and Systems. I work for Arvato SCM and there for the “Consumer Products” division. We have been developing and operating full-service e-commerce, omnichannel and supply chain management solutions for well-known brands in fashion, beauty and FMCG for over 15 years. This includes the implementation and operation of the online shops on Spryker, Salesforce Commerce Cloud, hybris and Oxid, the development of mobile solutions and the digitization of the POS, loyalty programs, B2B and B2C logistics and shipping including returns management as well as payment and accounting, customer service and E-commerce advice. And not just in Germany but internationally; We have 70 locations worldwide for the supply chain area, for example.
The digital transformation is the buzzword of the hour. The industry is on the move – in every corner. Who do you see as the most important driver of development and what, in your opinion, are the most important topics in this large field?
The most important driver is and remains the customer and their need for simplicity and real USPs in times of hyper-selection and comparability. Technology makes many applications possible that were previously unthinkable – especially in the mobile environment. The usual suspects set the standards again and again, think of Uber, Amazon, Zalando and Co. but now to look at their services and to copy them is not a particularly promising sustainable strategy in my opinion. In order to remain competitive in disruptive times, one should rather look at the fundamental aspects such as mindset (customer centricity + culture of courage), methods and organizational structure of such players. And compare with your own: How much do you focus on customer benefits? How brave, technologically capable and fast resp. lean is one prepared for the realization of product experiments? How many bets and thus also mistakes do you dare to make? In my opinion, these are the real pillars of digitization.
Arvato is the main sponsor of the ECD on May 3rd this year. But not only that: you personally will also take an active part in the program … can you tell us a little more about that?
At your invitation, I am happy to moderate a panel of experts. In addition, there will also be a lecture on a study that we carried out together with Ernst & Young Parthenon and which will be published shortly. In it, we used real retailer data sets to investigate which commercial effect can be achieved from omnichannel services. And come to very exciting results!