Case Study Digitization: Setting up an eShop opens up new customer groups and secures long-term growth

The traditional distribution channels are facing great challenges due to digitization. The previously followed market cultivation often does not provide satisfactory processing of all customer groups. ECommerce as an offer from a manufacturer is increasingly becoming one of the most important requirements of end customers.

However, for many providers in traditional sales structures, the implementation of an eShop is not an easy decision, as a large proportion of existing sales partners are usually skeptical about this step and resistance is often encountered. 

Also, one of our customers, a leading supplier of brand-names accessories to one of the largest car manufacturers, faced this situation. He commissioned us first with a feasibility study to eliminate possible doubts, and then with the development and construction of an Internet Direct Sales Channel.

At the beginning of the project, we defined the goals and target groups that should be achieved by eCommerce together with our clients. The performances of competitors and sales partners were analyzed as well as the online information and shopping behavior in these sectors examined by secondary statistical analyses. On this basis, we developed initial options for the design of Internet distribution (for example products, pricing, functions, measures for generating traffic).

Subsequently, a feasibility study was carried out to quantify opportunities and risks of the new distribution channel (including business case). We evaluated market reactions and worked out a rough concept for dealing with negative reactions for our customers.

Following the implementation decision, the concept of an eShop was worked out in detail together with our client. The decision to set up a direct internet sales organization was hampered by resistance from existing distribution partners. Therefore, it was of particular importance to involve the existing distribution partners in the design process.

In order to facilitate a smooth implementation of direct sales, we also supported our clients in the implementation through consistent project management and the assumption of concrete implementation tasks as well as interim management.

The eShop was successfully launched and achieved growth in a short time. In addition, new customer groups were developed and successfully used. Thanks to the early involvement of the distribution partners, the resistance could be tackled early.

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