Reserving the latest sneakers online before picking them up at the center? Purchasing a video game console online and having it delivered from the shopping center to your home on the very same day? Based on the cooperation of OTTO and ECE, both of these scenarios will soon be possible. To connect online and offline retail, the partners have founded a joint venture, Stocksquare, based in Hamburg. The company is integrating the store networks of brick-and-mortar retailers with the otto.de platform-creating a unique partnership between e-commerce and traditional retailers unlike any ever before seen in Germany.
At launch, the new connected commerce services will be available to retailers who operate a store in at least one of the 90 ECE shopping centers in Germany. Both consumers and retailers will benefit from ECE’s extensive nationwide network of shopping centers, with almost 60 percent of the country’s residents living less than 30 minutes away from an ECE center-a true USP. Technically, the connected commerce concept ties in with ECE’s existing “Digital Mall” technology, which allows customers to check the availability of products on the centers’ websites.
During the first stage of the project, customers will be able to see on otto.de whether an item is available at a nearby store, such as one located in an ECE shopping center. As of today, otto.de is showing local product availability for around 29,000 articles from eight selected retail partners. Additional items, stores, and partners will gradually be added over time. The service will not only be limited to stores in ECE shopping centers, but will also include products at other stores as well. In addition, the connected commerce concept has been designed to connect with other online platforms in the future as well.
“The shopping experience of the future will take place both online and offline. In this joint project, we are combining our knowledge from both worlds and enhancing brick-and-mortar retail by expanding its reach online. This is truly a remarkable pioneering project. In the process, we can draw on our long-standing partnerships with major retailers and our dense network of shopping centers as well as the omnichannel approach of our Digital Mall project.” – Alexander Otto, CEO of ECE
“With this ambitious connected commerce project, we are building a bridge between online and offline shopping for our customers. Together with ECE, we have the opportunity to partner with brick-and-mortar retailers and brands throughout Germany and integrate products from the single largest network of shopping centers in the country into th otto.de platform. In this context, the two companies already share common values through their shareholders in order to provide a genuine alternative for partners and customers.” – Alexander Birken, CEO of OTTO Group