Saturday, January 14, 2017 E-commerce, between individualism and multi-channels

Estimated reading time: 2 minutes

The 87th edition of Expo Riva Schuh opens with a focus on e-commerce. This morning took place the debate: "E-commerce and the fashion and footwear market: what have we learned over the last decade?” The meeting, moderated by Andrea Cabrini, Director of Class CNBC, has seen the participation of Albert Antonini Mangia, Marketing Manager for Alibaba Italia, who, together with Giovanni Laezza, Managing Director of Riva del Garda Fierecongressi, outlined an initial picture of the online sales experience in the footwear sector, both Italian and international, analysing the developments and opportunities for companies in this sector. 

The recent confirmation of e-commerce platforms has, above all, changed the relationship between the various distribution channels. In the first instance, on-line was considered to be an alternative channel to traditional distribution, whereas today it seems that this idea has been superseded. For this reason, it is configured more as a transversal support channel. 

E-commerce is a channel that completes other channels, carrying out a specific function – that of sales and service. It is true that the on-line shopping experience is much different from off-line, but the crucial point is to understand that the two experiences are not opposing, but complementary: each channel carries out a different function that integrates with those of the other channels.  

We still have the idea even today that an off-line shop must satisfy the consumer’s every demand: create a physical experience, offer the chance to try the product out and enable the client to make an immediate purchase. In the future, these three aspects may not necessarily be linked. Coherence and the management of the overlapping of the different channels will remain priority. It will be necessary to complete the shopping experience made by the consumer through one channel with that of another. 

Multi-channelling, or rather the management of a multiple sales format, has therefore become a key aspect for any fashion company. It is borne of a consumer need to be served in different ways, at different times, in different places, but with a coherent shopping experience, not only in terms of price, but also in the intangible values offered. 

Amongst these transformations, there are four trends that bridge the present and future worlds of e-commerce: simplicity, meaning the immediacy and speed of the purchasing process; a trend towards omni-retail, a continual flow, whereby the store never closes thanks to the web and mobile devices; individualism, with technology ready to satisfy the narcissistic ego of the consumer and sharing, that adds an element of empathy and solidarity to individual fruition.  

An evolving world, but one that poses many challenges along with infinite possibilities for companies looking for new ways in which to develop their business. The opening talk at Expo Riva Schuh has traced the outcome of past experiences in order to look forward to the future with determination.