13 minutes to read

Guided Shopping – interview with the Wortmann Group

Guided Shopping – interview with the Wortmann Group

To the German article

Last year, Shopware set a milestone and developed the state-of-the-art Guided Shopping feature. The Wortmann Group is known worldwide for its versatile shoe brands and is the first Shopware customer to add the new function to its B2B online business. In this interview with Marcel Korzen, Manager Digital Sales & Projects at the Wortmann Group, you’ll find out the exact reasons for the use of the feature at Wortmann.

10 Questions for the Wortmann Group: About the use of the Guided Shopping feature

Please describe yourself and your company. Who is behind Wortmann and what does your business look like?   

The Wortmann Group from Detmold, known primarily for its Tamaris brand, is one of the largest shoe production and distribution companies in Europe and is considered the market leader for fashionable women's shoes. The collections are sold in over 70 countries and more than 15,000 shoe stores worldwide. In addition to Tamaris, the group of companies includes the brands Marco Tozzi, Caprice, Jana and s.Oliver shoes. The core of our business is the development, production and distribution of shoes to retailers and mail order companies. 

Wortmann_Logos_shopware

Last year, the store relaunch from Shopware 5 to Shopware 6 was on your agenda. What new requirements have emerged here? 

We’ve been successfully using Shopware 5 as a B2B shop system for all our brands since 2017 when we replaced an individual solution. For us, the release of Shopware 6 raised the question of how long we wanted to continue developing new functions based on the Shopware 5 tech stack, knowing full well that we would then have to implement them again based on Shopware 6. Pausing further development for a period of several months wasn’t an option for us. Therefore, we decided to start the store relaunch projects at the end of 2021. The requirements for the new system were, in particular, significant performance optimizations, where Shopware 5 had reached its limits, especially due to the large number of business logics that we’ve to take into account in real time when building sites for individual customers. Likewise, it was the wish of the operational store managers that the efficiency in the creation of store pages should be significantly increased compared to Shopware 5. We’re able to fully achieve both goals in the project and are very pleased to have taken this path at an early stage and to now be able to develop further on a modern tech stack with our development partners.

You are the first Shopware customer to use Guided Shopping. Please explain what the new Shopware 6 Guided Shopping feature actually is.  

Guided Shopping is a module in Shopware that can be used to create Shopping Experiences in the form of presentations. Simply put, this is like a customized PowerPoint presentation, where the individual slides are scrollable web pages. These presentations are created by the respective store managers as well as the sales staff in the field and office. We grant our customers web link access to this presentation prepared individually for them. This takes place either in self-mode, i.e. a mode in which the customer clicks through the presentation independently, or in guided mode, where the salesperson guides the customer through the curated offer by directly integrating a video conferencing tool. And all this is in a very high-quality presentation based on the Shopware B2B store – of course with direct purchase option. 

Which application scenarios can be implemented with Guided Shopping? 

There are many different application scenarios that can be implemented with Guided Shopping. One is the replacement of the classic brochure mailout by email in the form of a self-presentation. The presentation is more interactive and the ordering process is also much easier for the customer this way, as they can order directly from a presentation. Through the integration of video conferencing tools and the smart interaction possibilities, Guided Shopping offers customers and salespeople above all the possibility of conducting digital sales appointments – this makes it a service and sales tool for modern sales. For us, this is an optimal addition to the existing sales toolset. 

How do you use Guided Shopping at Wortmann?  

The focus is on increasing our customer service, as with Guided Shopping we can offer our customers further personal consultation appointments at any time and very conveniently. The fashion business is characterized by the continuous development of new collections and innovative products. Guided Shopping gives us a much shorter time-to-market in the sales process and simplifies many processes. We also use it for quoting, which is going very well because of the direct integration into the B2B store. For us, the focus is on customer needs and the added value that we can offer our customers via this new channel.

Wortmann-Shopware-Guided_Shopping

When you create a B2B self-guided presentation, what is particularly important for you in this context?

It has to be simple and fast, as well as visually impressive to the customer at the end. With its flexible Shopping Experiences, Shopware offers an environment in which it is fun to curate products individually for customers. Guidance is also a central aspect for us in the self-guided case. We don't just want to send customers to a seemingly endless page with products carelessly strung together. We want to offer orientation and guide the customer through our offer in a visually appealing way, even in self-service. 

When do you think Guided Shopping adds the most value?

In our view, the greatest added value is clearly the combination of online store and personal customer appointment. This opens up many new possibilities for our customers in the purchasing process, but also for us in sales. Seamless integration into the B2B store is one of the most important arguments. Business logics are centrally located in one place and are effective in both store fronts: store and Guided Shopping. This allows us to react flexibly and quickly to changes. It’s also a great added value that we can load the content pages from Guided Shopping 1:1 into the store at a later point in time and thus save our store managers a lot of time in the day-to-day implementation. 

How did your sales force react when Guided Shopping was first presented to them as a future support? 

In B2B business in particular, many forms of trade and processes have grown over the years and have become established and also optimized to a high degree. Introducing new solutions here is always a change process. During the first phases of the pandemic, a number of strategies were tried out in the area of digital distribution out of necessity. The opening-up of digital tools among customers and in sales is having an impact, even though we thrive on haptic and personal experiences. This is especially true in the B2B business, where an order placement for a season often involves half a year's sales for the customers and the purchase agreements are binding. This is precisely why Guided Shopping is so exciting, as it combines both worlds in a meaningful way: the advantages of digital ordering with the personality and advisory skills of the customer advisor. Following the introduction of the product and training sessions, we’ve already been able to inspire many people on both sides with the new additional possibilities and are looking forward to continuing on this path.

Was there any prior market evaluation of other tools for this use case? What made these solutions different from the current one and why did you ultimately choose Shopware as your strategic partner? 

As part of the strategic decision on whether and when to move to Shopware 6, we conducted an extensive market evaluation. This was not just about store systems or live sales tools, but about digital support along our entire sales process. There are a variety of tools that can be used along the B2B customer journey. In the end, the decisive factor is the specific purpose of the solution and how it fits into the company's (infra)structure. For us, it was a decision between a "best of breed" strategy and a holistic solution. We’re persuaded to pursue the holistic path, as Shopware already offers a lot in its portfolio that we’re looking for and the open, innovative, hands-on mindset of the Schöppingen-based company also fits in very well with ours.

What can you recommend to other merchants facing similar challenges? 

There’s so much happening around us at the moment that has a direct impact on our business. Besides the challenges, however, there are also many (small) opportunities that we can seize. We’re reluctant to be a first mover, but in this digitalization project, the courage and trust in strong partners paid off. And it's not just a question of compulsively wanting to leave a successful path. For us, it’s about cleverly linking the new digital possibilities with the successful existing processes and creating new potential for our customers and ourselves. To anyone who has the opportunity, we would recommend allowing this to happen and taking up the challenge with partners. 

Thank you very much for your frank answers, Marcel. We look forward to continuing future success together with the Wortmann Group. 

Would you like to learn more about Guided Shopping and its use at the Wortmann Group? Then watch the record of the joint presentation by Wortmann and Shopware at the Shopware Community Day 2022!

Watch now

Interested in the Shopware 6 Guided Shopping Feature? Here you can find more information about it:

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