The popularity of e-commerce and the number of Internet users in Turkey register a double-digit growth yearly. The pioneers of online shopping are convinced that the future lies in consistent omni-channel experiences and mobile solutions.
by Markku Rimpiläinen
One of the true early birds in Turkish e-commerce is Halil Erdoğmuş, CEO of ebebek.
Established in 2001, ebebek is Turkey’s first online shopping platform of mother-baby products.
“In those days, it was hard to grow. The volume of Internet users was very low,” Erdoğmuş says.
In response, ebebek decided to develop a new business model Erdoğmuş named “Click to Brick.” The first brick and mortar store was opened in 2003.
“We learned valuable things. First, customers started to trust us because they could change or return products they did not like. Secondly, our suppliers trusted us more, because we’re not just another Internet company they couldn´t find the day after.”
Today, ebebek has 86 shops in Turkey.
“People know they find our shop nearby. It’s an excellent advantage for us.”
What do you say to those people who argue that Internet and brick-and-mortar stores are competing against each other?
“We don’t believe there’s competition. They are twin brothers. The Internet gives power to shops, and stores empower Internet, Erdoğmuş concludes.”
Like Erdoğmuş, Elif Şatıroglu, Vice President, Strategy, Business Development and Operations at Boyner Holding, believes that mastering of omni-channel marketing and shopping is the key to success.
“We are highlighting the convenience of online shopping, and we’re trying to incorporate every kind of omni-channel services to the picture,” Şatıroglu says.
Boyner Holding is running an online department store called mohiko.com. It has two different concepts.
“We have two doors, so to speak. One is for shopping of discounted products; the other sells seasonal products.”
Şatıroglu predicts that m-commerce soon replaces traditional e-commerce.
“The future is on mobile devices. They will conquer the shopping scene in five years.”
Müge Seymen, Director of Omnichannel & E-Commerce at Vakko says that the biggest challenge in coming years is to create a unified customer experience in the omni-channel world.
“You need to manage combinations of channels and be able to build consistent customer experiences. You also have many interfaces you need to maintain. The integration of different platforms is challenging.”
At the moment, the Internet is spreading rapidly in Turkey.
“The retail industry is just taking first steps with online shopping and new technologies. There is still a long way to go, but as the Internet penetration is growing fast, the business needs to follow.”
Seymen points out that if physical stores want to succeed, they must be places for experiences.
“They need to figure out how to make shopping so fun that people are ready to come to the stores, he says.”
The interviews were conducted at the Pan European StrategyForum Retail event in Barcelona, 21st and 22nd of April.
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