Demandware is the cloud commerce solutions behind some of the fashion industry’s biggest online shops from Adidas to Grupo Cortefiel. The reason why many clients are so happy with them might not only be the software giant’s clever business model (Demandware is participating in the ecommerce success of its clients, leading to a continuous joint strive for improvements rather than just a customer-seller relation) but also their talent to network. This peaks in the annual XChange Conference, where (potential) clients, partners and employees are invited to exchange information, ideas and experiences from the e-commerce field.

At last month’s Xchange Europe edition in Berlin, Demandware’s recent acquisition by Inc. was the talk at the Intercontinental Hotel (where the conference took place). Salesforce already offers direct marketing and customer support software for online stores and with the $2.8 billion transaction of buying Demandware (expected to close in the current quarter), it obviously aims at becoming somewhat of a one-stop shop for companies that want to sell things online.
Besides that, some valuable insight into what currently moves fashion online retail could be gained– also for the less tech-savvy amongst us.

1. Everyone is excited about Apple Pay

Apple’s upcoming single-touch paying option will drastically simplify the checkout process. Apple Pay on the web will go live in fall – though firstly only for consumers in the USA, England, Canada, Australia, China and Singapore (Switzerland and France will be up next on the agenda). Demandware has announced to support Apple Pay, therefore allowing its clients to offer the new paying option to their customers in Safari on iPhone, iPad and Mac.

Elana Anderson, senior vice president of marketing at Demandware
Photo: Demandware
Elana Anderson, senior vice president of marketing at Demandware
“Our role at Demandware is to extend commerce to wherever the shopper is,” said Elana Anderson, senior vice president of marketing at Demandware.  “In the last year, mobile has become the consumer’s number one choice for shopping, however, the checkout process hasn’t caught up with this shift.  Now, by enabling Apple Pay on their Demandware storefronts, merchants will be able to offer a frictionless checkout experience […].”

2. Cross-channel is a word of the past

It’s not possible to focus on the consumer when we focus on the channel!

Felix Kreyer, managing director online at Marc O’Polo
Whoever really wants to create a seamless and wholistic brand experience for the consumer should stop thinking in channels. “The mindset shift for us is to stop looking at pure single transactions as a key performance indicator, but really look at a customer’s lifetime value. We shouldn’t ask: ‘How much revenue did I make in that channel that day?’, but rather: ‘How much revenue did we make with that one customer?’”, says Felix Kreyer, managing director online at Marc O’Polo. And that also goes for your company structures: “Hopefully in five years we will not even talk about the e-commerce team anymore, maybe not even the technology team. We will have to find different ways to organize, because in the end we have to focus on the consumer. And it’s not possible to focus on the consumer when we focus on the channel!

3. Being Customer Centric is essential & there’s very original ways to do so

Nicholas Wheeler, the brilliant founder and chairman of Charles Tyrwhitt Shirts attaches his personal email-address on every single shirt he sells so that customers can get in touch with him directly (and, according to his own words, he does read and reply to those emails).

Nick Wheeler, founder and chairman of Charles Tyrwhitt Shirts, during his witty brand presentation
Photo: Demandware
Nick Wheeler, founder and chairman of Charles Tyrwhitt Shirts, during his witty brand presentation

At Crocs, an employee of the CRM team has a picture of a woman with children living in Ohio hanging right on her desk – to always keep in mind who the brand’s main target customer is.

Anne-Marie Blair, chief digital officer at Groupo Cortefiel had all of her 50 people team learn and get access to Google Analytics, because: “Isn’t that the crucial element of really being a digital company, making decisions based on data instead of on hierarchies?"

4. There is a lot of unused potential in ecommerce order fulfillment

Such as:

  • “Abandoned Shopping Cart” reminders
  • personalized newsletters (based on a user’s browsing or shopping history)
  • call-back services (if a serviceperson calls the customer back, he/she can already open up their shopping history plus the call can be better scheduled!)
  • in-store returns
  • pick-up services of unwanted parcels
  • member clubs such as H&M Club, Marc O’Polo for members etc.

5. The roles of store assistants are changing

Offering store pick-up or return services does not only hold logistic challenges, but also requires new capabilities from the store assistants, as does the employment of in-store digital devices. A lot of effort should be put into staff training and store managers should always be involved in the creation process of such digital tools and services. Several companies reported to work with incentive systems when integrating new technologies at the point of sale.