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E-Commerce for Multi-Channel Retailers

FOSTEC berät bei Multichannel Omnichannel und Cross-Channel Strategien

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No-line commerce systems are modern commercial distribution structures at their highest evolutionary level. The term “no-line commerce” describes how the retail landscape has changed from the perspective of the buying public, who no longer differentiate between the various sales channels but access retailers in a number of different ways. Instead of opting for either online or offline channels, consumers jump back and forth between the two and are thus connected to suppliers in lots of different ways. For suppliers, the challenge lies in maximising the interlinkage of these sales channels in real time.  The processes and systems required to do this call for high levels of investment and a high degree of e-commerce maturity. In fact, German business expert Dr. Gerrit Heinemann sees the existence of a mobile commerce channel as a prerequisite for no-line commerce. While a multi-channel retailer can dispense completely with the idea of such a channel – as well as with the provision of mobile services – no-line retailers must provide a mobile commerce channel with as wide a range of functions as possible.

Transparency can be maximised by enabling stationary customers to compare prices and retrieve product reviews via the scanning of an EAN code. The German-language eBay study Handel der Zukunft (“Commerce of the Future”) revealed that by the year 2012, 60% of users were already using a barcode scanner. Asked about their expectations for the future, 78% of those questioned thought that customers would at some point be able to scan products and images in everyday surroundings and obtain information about their prices and where to buy them. The use of mobile internet in a stationary retail setting means it is no longer simple to determine clearly whether a sale took place online or offline: More and more customers are ordering online while present in-store, with some even opting to have the goods delivered to the shop (this already occurs frequently in the UK). It is expected that stationary retail environments will increasingly take the form of showrooms, affording customers the conventional “touch and feel” experience without offering the goods for immediate take-home purchase. The purchase itself takes place by means of a QR code, which enables the goods to be delivered to the customer’s house at their own convenience.

FOSTEC offers advice on wide-ranging aspects of no-line commerce, including:

  • Strategic development of a no-line concept
    • Web-to-store approach
    • Store-to-web approach
    • Web-in-store approach
    • QR scan retail approach
    • Augmented reality retail approach
  • Design of the necessary infrastructure and processes
  • Identification of the merits of each channel, and customer-oriented optimisation of all channels
  • Customer journey optimisation for ease of purchase and customer satisfaction
  • Everywhere commerce (e.g. through shopping walls)
  • Effective, efficient no-line process and interface optimisation
  • Development of data mining and business intelligence strategies for cross-channel analysis
  • No-line marketing and budget optimisation
  • Cross-channel coordination of campaign planning
  • Adaptation of cross-channel organisational structures and processes
  • Training of employees and recruitment support
  • and much more

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Want to learn more? FOSTEC recommends the book „No-Line-Handel“ by Prof. Dr. Gerrit Heinemann.

See literature recommendations