Mister Spex in the change from Online-Shop to Multichannel-Strategy
BY TOBIAS GIESE
Mister Spex is the biggest online optician in Germany, and ranks amongst Europe’s biggest online opticians, with a presence in eleven countries and more than 60,000 visitors to its website per day on average. To more than two million customers, the Berlin-based company offers the most comprehensive range of immediately available branded glasses, sunglasses and contact lenses Europe-wide at a very fair cost-benefit ratio.
To set the course for further growth, the company had to replace its own developed shop solution with a scalable technology, which supports a quick, uncomplicated and cost-effective expansion in the context of the growth strategy. Faced with the growing complexity of the business, Mister Spex decided to change to the Intershop Commerce Suite. Building on this platform, additional functions, distribution channels and new country shops can be easily added without disrupting the service. This not only became relevant when Mister Spex rolled out new country pages, but also when Mr Spex opened new retail business.
Not surprisingly, in the beginning of online sales, retailers offered simple products, such as books, CDs or clothing. Long since high value individual products have long since conquered the virtual shopping basket. Who would have thought a few years ago that glasses would be purchasable online? But thanks to virtual trial fitting and specialised search filters such as frame width or face shape, Mister Spex was able to open a new market segment. Customers are guided on the basis of their individual needs and preferences through the vast range, so that they are able to find and choose the appropriate product. Via computer, tablet or smartphone, preferred glasses can be directly tried on virtually, thanks to 3D or photo trial fitting and aided by a webcam or an uploaded photo, the chosen spectacles be can further improved by choosing the preferred lenses and extras, such as shades or coatings. Wish lists allow customers to save previously viewed products or list them as favourites, for example for the easy and uncomplicated reordering of contact lens care products.
A view behind the scenes: When Mister Spex moved from its own development to the new platform, they carried over the data of 240,000 products, two million customers and 2.3 million orders, too.
To manage this ever-growing amount of data, nowadays the use of product information systems is recommended, which allows the central administration and updating of product data as well as their transfer to distribution channels to both online shops or local retail facilities. Comprehensive filter options allow customers to search for a specific product and allow for appropriate pictures, descriptions and prices to be presented. The possibilities of the Commerce Suite for integrating data from third provider systems is supported by Mister Spex in real time communication in a merchandise management system, which ensures that comprehensive product data is always updated. Moreover, the platform enables a seamless access to extended systems of order administration. This provides information on the availability of products, delivery times, transaction of the order as well as possible returns and payments.
The content is adjusted depending on where customers access the online shop. The desktop version of the online shop has also been optimised for tablets, and the mobile version uses responsive web design for the optimum presentation and comfortable shopping on all mobile devices. In addition, the mobile website offers simplified pay and search functions which accommodate the navigation behaviour of the user. Nothing is more frustrating for new customers than being confronted with a complicated payment situation after having made a choice and having decided to buy.
Achieving high customer satisfaction requires being aware of specific expectations. Mister Spex has therefore adjusted the order process for the online shopping based on an interactive analysis. This includes the possibility to recommend similar products which the customer can comfortably try at home.
The seamless shopping experience has been advanced further. Shopping assistants in the stores have Point-of-Sale notebooks at their disposal, which are connected with the Intershop Commerce Suite. The application is based on the online shop, but is also equipped with additional functions. Customers can therefore present their online research to the shop assistant and talk in person about the chosen spectacles. If needed, personal data such as dioptres can be included. Invoices can also be paid via an integrated checkout using credit cards. This retail-supporting application helps the sales personnel to efficiently advise customers, at the same time creating customers satisfaction.
Right away in the first months, the retail shop recorded thousand of visitors, not least because customers could combine their local product search with online shopping. You can make a first selection in the local store, but complete your order from home or via smartphone, maybe after taking a friend’s advice. Orders are delivered either to the home or can be picked up from the local retail shops.
The new website has noticeably sped up the growth of Mister Spex. The company can offer its customers 9,000 different glasses models, which completely focus on a personal and user-friendly shopping experience. The company further increases its conversion rate by deploying a comprehensive Live –A/B Test and by offering highly individualised landing pages, for example. Customer’s preferences are therefore understood better and better, which helps further refine the customer-specific provision.
By changing to the Intershop Commerce Suite, Mister Spex took an important decision for future growth and successful realisation of innovative business strategies, such as the opening of its own stores in Berlin. This way, the optician avoids having to change to other platforms in a few years. The Berlin success was the cornerstone for further expansion. Shops in Bochum, Bremen, Dortmund and Oberhausen extend the local provision. To date, Mr Spex successfully runs online shops on an Intershop basis in France, Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Spain, The Netherlands, Belgium, UK and in Scandinavian countries.
The Intershop Communications AG developed the first e-commerce standard software 25 years ago, which kicked off a fundamental change in retail. Ever since, Intershop has supported medium and large sized companies in their changes of the retail strategies and business processes. Amongst them are HP, BMW, Würth and Deutsche Telekom.
Intershop Communications AG
Mister Spex GmbH
This article was published in The Produktkulturmagazin, issue Q4 2017. Picture credit © Cecile_Arcurs/Getty Images