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”For brands, it’s all about storytelling”

As e-commerce is moving out from the online store, and into social platforms, fashion brands face new challenges. ”For fashion companies, it’s all about online storytelling and showing your brand in the best possible and appealing way”, says Steven Fockema Andreae and Siawash Shibani from commercetools.

Words: Konrad Olsson Photography: Liam Ricketts

What are some of the major changes in the e-commerce landscape in the last few years?

Steven — Companies are not just selling via desktop and mobile phones anymore, but are adding new channels such as social platforms, voice assistants and are combining and switching between all of them. This asks for a different commerce set-up. You as a brand want to serve all channels via one source of truth. This way all the data is consistent. Besides that, more and more companies are adding Microservices to their commerce platform — features which are custom just for their specific business. They can keep innovating this way and release new versions on a daily basis if needed.

Describe commercetools and its service.

Siawash — commercetools is a new breed of enterprise eCommerce platform. We are ”headless”, which means we don’t deliver any front-end experience, but as a result, partnering with CMS vendors like Contentful, Bloomreach and Contentstack. Our platform is born in the cloud. We release new versions of the platform several times per week and you can consume our API’s à la carte: what you don’t need, you won’t use. This is a whole different approach, compared to other platforms which try to do everything and whereby all features depend on each other. Last but not least, we are program language agnostic. We don’t dictate what program you must use: Java, PHP or .Net. You can use any programming language you want, so every developer out there could work with our solution.

How will the consumer experience change in the next few years?

Steven — One of the reasons why we decided on a headless approach, is that it gives companies complete freedom on the front-end. For fashion companies, it’s all about online storytelling and showing your brand in the best possible and appealing way. A lot of the commerce platforms from earlier years dictate how you position your brand on the front-end via old school templating systems. You won’t differentiate yourself this way against the competition. To be able to manage all your front-ends via different channels will help massively with staying consistent and in control of your message.

How does the consumer experience a ­platform powered by commercetools?

Siawash — As commercetools is a headless solution, the consumer can engage with any company and product from multiple channels seamlessly. The modular and flexible architecture allows retailers not only to react quickly to market changes — often within days or even hours, it also enables them to sequentially move parts of an existing stack over time. This way they can continue to deliver to customers and add new touchpoints without the end customer noticing anything. Further, there is not the slightest loss of performance during peak seasons like Black Friday, Cyber Week, and Christmas.

What are your thoughts on physical versus online retail?

Siawash — Today’s customers are accustomed to digitally expanding their world. It’s common practice to compare prices online, watch videos, check online reviews and even social media before purchasing at a brick-and-mortar store. So retailers must create a seamless transition between offline and online, building rich experiences across every touchpoint. Physical stores will survive as they innovate at a technical level by bringing the virtual world into the physical world and by levering AR/VR solutions and Magic Mirror.

What do you think about the situation for fashion and e-commerce in Scandinavia?

Steven — The rise of Amazon will not skip Scandinavia. Companies must prepare themselves by setting up a platform that keeps them innovative and thus stay competitive.

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