Online shop of the future: Fast and cheap, but the service remains on the line?
Our shopping behavior in particular is being significantly changed by the Internet: We want it to be quick and cheap. What often falls by the wayside is personal advice - and an overview. Because savings are mainly made on customer service, which is being outsourced to customers more and more: While we used to go to travel agencies to buy our flight tickets, today we click through long online forms. That saves money, but unfortunately it takes an incredible amount of time.
As a rule, people do not just want to consume more in terms of quantity, but to consume more finely. This creates a new market for connoisseur consumption of quality of life. The fact that most people are increasingly overloaded with work, but also with organizational tasks, they want to burden less and less with unnecessary things.
Relief consumption with a view to the essentials
In a way, the overload leads to relief consumption, in which only the essentials are deliberately sought and consumed. Customers want uncomplicated, transparent service packages with a clear price - also because they have less and less time and desire to compare quality features and prices.
Recently, people do not just want to consume more in terms of quantity, but more qualitatively. Customers also want uncomplicated, transparent service packages with a clear price - also because they have less and less time and desire to compare quality features and prices.
One thing, however, is that this easy-to-understand customer request is contradictory: the increasingly complex and unclear range of products and services on the market. Because many customers do not look at all at all: Why is a similar product at supplier X twice as expensive as at Y? What are the differences in quality? And above all: Is the higher price worthwhile?
With expertise through the supply jungle
For simple consumers with no previous knowledge, this offer is often not to be overlooked. There must be specialists! Time for the shopping assistant from flesh and blood. This is precisely where the normal consumer loses sight of the overview or just has no time to look for the absolute best offer in the thicket of the possibilities.
In any case, it should save its customers more money than they cost themselves through expertise, experience and contacts, or significantly reduce the time they spend on the customer, otherwise the customer will not see any benefit in the service. To achieve this goal, the shopping assistant must first find out what exactly customer wants; He then has to do a thorough research on where exactly this product exists and at what price.
What a shopping assistant really does: Personal contact instead of click desert
But that's not all, because that's actually just the preparatory work: The actual work only begins now: Because even if it's the same Article , there can often be significant deviations depending on the provider. For example, computers: a laptop of an otherwise almost identical model is a lot cheaper for one provider than for the other. At first glance, both models are absolutely identical. It is only when you take a closer look that it becomes clear that the more expensive provider has processed a larger hard drive and a higher-quality graphics store. So there is a reason for the higher price. That is more performance than any price search engine on the Internet can achieve; because these usually only compare price and product name; The customer then often has to find out the details himself in laborious research.
A good shopping assistant, on the other hand, is able to find out all this information. He lists the various product features neatly in an easy-to-understand overview, which he presents to the customer for a decision. Of course, the assistant also makes a purchase recommendation, but the decision for or against a product ultimately lies with the customer. The shopping assistant, however, must be careful to act absolutely independently. This means that, for example, he may not receive commission from providers whose products he recommends or recommends, otherwise his reputation is seriously endangered. And that's ultimately bad for business.
Personal shopper on a bargain hunt
Finally, the performance of the shopping assistant can go so far as to provide the goods the customer has chosen for; For example, if they are rare items that you need to travel longer distances to purchase. Or a shopping assistant handles the entire shipment, if the customer does not have time to take care of it.
The task of the shopping assistants is somewhat different if the customer gives them the task of hunting for bargains: This is about comparing the most diverse offers in different shops and, if necessary, striking them straight away. In any case, a good shopping assistant should save his customers more money through specialist knowledge, experience and contacts than he himself costs or significantly reduce the time spent on the customer - otherwise the customer will not see any benefit in this service.
Requirements, formalities, education and training
So far, there are no training or education and the profession is not legally protected - in principle, so everyone can call it that. In practice, expertise, organizational skills, good contacts, and the ability to price properly are needed to succeed as a shopping assistant.
As a shopping assistant you are working freelance. This means you only need a tax number at the tax office. A business registration is not required.
New opportunities for startup founders
Although the job title is not protected, the competition is increasing, but the profession is still relatively new and unknown. The assistant has to highlight the benefits of his service to convince customers that his service is a real added value.
There are now three enterprising startups in this area, which also show that online shopping of the future has a lot to do with personal contact and little with anonymous click-through. The remedy is a personal assistant who does just this search - and it does not even have to be expensive if you do it right. This proves the Berlin StartUp Outfittery, which was founded in April and the shopping tired (or lazy?) Addressed men.
Mix of technology and personal advice: the idea is not new ...
The genius of the concept is the integration of personal advice and modern technology. The ladies of Outfittery do not go through every boutique personally with the gentlemen, but use the internet to collect their customers' data and to gauge their preferences.
Then they call the customer to clarify what exactly they are looking for - and only then will the order be placed. Customers pay no more than the retail price, which the company finances from the difference between the retail and wholesale prices. The idea of Outfittery is not new: Modomoto and Modemeister have already successfully demonstrated the idea and have taken over the idea from the USA.
Not always the first mover is the most successful
However, Outfittery of all three startups is obviously the one that masters PR, online marketing and social media best. The start-up was also reported in the major business newspapers such as FAZ, Wirtschaftswoche or Manager-Magazin. With a trendy design, slightly lower prices than the competition and, above all, a very successful, humorous blog and facebook-Strategy, Outfittery could so far over 3000 FacebookConvince fans.
In doing so, the company puts its team in the spotlight in marketing, sometimes places funny photos online and thus creates a personal bond between customers and companies. That creates trust. After all, it always comes down to the people, and especially in a small business, the success is so usually with the personality and the know-how of founders and employees.
The customer wants to know who is behind it
The Outfittery founders Julia Bösch and Anna Alex, for example, come from the online shopping and fashion industry, have previously worked at Zalando, among others - and emerge on their website only after their style consultants, because those are the ones with whom the customer has first contact.
However, modem entrepreneurs tend to pursue a more classical strategy, focussed heavily on the founders who have a more theoretical and scientific approach to fashion: Kareen Günther, for example, is working with her knowledge in statistics and data mining, and Tanja Bogumil also learns the academic background , Personnel the company remains little comprehensible. About the people behind Modomoto only learns in the blog who behind it.
Who has the nose in the end
It remains to be seen in the end which of the three start ups is going to be successful or whether the market is even large enough for all three. However, I believe that the outfittery website is a new type of online shopping:
Get out of the anonymous click desert into personal contact with the service provider. And that Outfittery has best understood the possibilities that the Internet offers. I am really curious how things will continue! Until then, I'm waiting for someone to have such an idea for practical, yet good-looking women's fashion ;-)
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