Berlin – FSG is proud to announce its next partnership with the Dutch fashion brand POM Amsterdam. FSG and POM Amsterdam have big plans to grow POM’s online business in Germany.
POM Amsterdam was founded by Liesbeth Lotgering and Violet Lotgering, two sisters from the Netherlands who started designing colorful scarves in 2011. Since then, they have added fashionable, colorful dresses, blouses, skirts and suits to their collection, always with contrasting colors and powerful prints.
‘Germany is very similar to the Netherlands in terms of culture and values. We are looking forward to introducing our colorful clothes to German consumers’, says POM’s Managing Director Matthijs Bijl. ‘We are very curious to see which items of our colorful collection will suit German women and are hoping to perhaps add items to the collection that are made specifically with German women in mind.
´I think we can all agree that Germany is always in need of more colorful and eye-catching fashion (;-)), so welcome a board POM Amsterdam! I am really looking forward to our partnership and successfully growing this original brand in the German market,´ says Radboud Langenhorst, FSG’s CEO.
Let’s talk some harcore nerdy stuff for the readers that like new types of information by reading more than 3 minutes instead of looking at funny GIFs 🙂
Together with our super cool data analytics partner Haensel AMS we took the last two years to set up our own data and dashboard system for our clients. For this, we use a dashboard tool that includes all online data sources and is based on a tailored attribution model, that Haensel AMS has developed.
Let’s begin with writing down what Google says actually is an attribution model:
An attribution model is the rule, or set of rules, that determines how credit for online sales and conversions is assigned to touchpoints in conversion paths. For example, the Last Interaction model in Google Analytics assigns 100% credit to the final touchpoints (last-click) that immediately precede sales or conversions.
And to add to this, these sets of rules are predefined and standardized to ensure that it’s one-size-fits-all. Let’s be honest; for most brands this appears to work pretty well, right?
However we agree to disagree here. Why?
Well, because of:
Most european brands we work with are very well known in their home country, but not (yet) in the German market. The German market is fiercely competitive. Brands tend to spend a lot more media budget than in most other EU countries. This means you can easily burn most of your precious budget without having had any impact on your sales;
Nowadays most Ecommerce managers have to make spaghetti out of too many channels, data sources and even different attribution models which can become somewhat complicated to manage and react in a fast way;
And this is especially the case because Google and Facebook, being the biggest players, use different attribution models to make it extra difficult to compare data or results;
Last but not least we had the hypothesis that there is no standardized way of allocating a sale or conversion for the simple reason that when you buy, for example, a bag of dog food (and we happen to sell dog food) the customer journey is different versus when you want to buy a €500,- mattress (and we happen to sell mattresses).
So what did we do?
For each of the brands we are working for, we started with collecting lots and lots of (GDPR-proof!) website event data. Here are the most important variables we track, weigh and value:
the time between customer touchpoints, e.g. a visitor clicking on a Google Search ad which leads to a webshop visit. Two days later the same person is visiting the same webshop through an email campaign.
the type and amount of actions on the specific webshop during a visit. Here you can think of the amount of pages viewed, whether the potential customer subscribed to a newsletter, whether he/she clicked on a product, and went to the check-out page, etc.
On top we further enriched the website traffic data with information from platforms such as Google Analytics, Google Ads, Facebook, ERP´s, etc. These third party data sources are integrated with API connections and automatics daily/hourly downloads.
We don’t want to give away the secret Coca Cola recipe to our model, however what we can say is this results in finally seeing fact-based which channels really matter in the three interaction phases (Initializer, Holder, Closer) for your brand and at what point in the customer journey they do (We keep in mind that most brands have different seasonalities, product launches, shopping events, etc).
On top of that we managed to pinpoint visitors that use both their mobile and other devices in the same customer journey, which means we have pretty accurate data that we can really rely on.
Why is all this pretty amazing?
We e.g. see in our portfolio that for an average customer it takes up to 28 days to buy a product. In this time frame, they visit the website up to 10 times and show different kinds of behavior every visit. And you can do A LOT with this info!
This is what our Head of Ops and BI Juan says, we can do with this kind of information:
We can decide to invest the lionshare of our precious media budget sometimes up to three weeks before a big moment coming up for the brand, for example the launch of a new collection or a big sales campaign. We can allocate a big share of media budget in channels that are normally undermined by default attribution. Yes that feels like risky business, however the numbers tell the tale. The much needed proof for “AIDA” or “Touch-Tell-Sell” approaches than can easily feel like burning money at the wrong moment
We can reliably predict behavior and build so-called bottom up forecasts (starting at channel level) which means we can place safer bets with mostly higher media budgets over time
We have insights on difficult-to-measure channels like influencer marketing, brand collaborations or even PR.
We can collect all this input of different data sources (our own website tracking, GA, Facebook, Influencers, Affiliates, Content partners, etc.) and visualize them in one dashboard tool (right now we are using PowerBI and Tableau for different clients). This means that every stakeholder -from the CEO up until a specific marketing specialist can use the same dashboard, look at the same data and compare apples with apples.
What´s next? According to our Managing Director Radboud Langenhorst it’s all about constantly improving the data quality and understanding how to best work with this data for our clients. Also with this tool we are onboarding a lot of different stakeholders into e-commerce and letting them see the true chances and opportunities through all the costs and risks.
Curious how this works? Please feel free to contact us here. If you want to know more about us, click herefor our website, or click here for Haensel AMS’s website.
Germany is lifting its Corona prevention restrictions. What do German companies (startups and dinosaurs) look like 100 days into the crisis? Germany’s first corporate winners and losers on how they reacted to this crisis, according to FSG’s content marketing expert Maartje.
Marley Spoon/Hello Fresh, Berlin
Restaurants were closed, people were at home, Berlin based Hello Fresh took advantage of the Corona crisis. Their revenue increased by 66 per cent in the first quarter of 2020, one million more people ordered their food boxes. Berlin competitor Marley Spoon also saw its numbers rise. Revenue increased there by 46 per cent.
Plexiglass helps protect people from the very infectious Corona virus. Berliners will find plexiglass in every Späti, supermarket, hair salon or drug store here, protecting workers from customers and the other way around. The German company Plexiglas (written with one ‘s’) was founded in 1903 by a German scientist and was bought by American private equity group Advent International in 2019 for 2,5 billion euros. Since the start of the Corona crisis, production has increased ‘five to ten times’ for the company (total company revenues to the tune of €2 billion ($2.16 billion) in 2018).
Frankfurt based Teamviewer, which allows companies to let their employees work remotely by sharing screens and having online meetings, is going through the roof. ‘Ein der Profiteuren der Coronakrise’, wrote Handelsblad about the company that was founded in 2005. Their revenue in the first quarter of 2020: 102,7 million euros (+19 per cent YoY).
The online fashion platform from Berlin is growing even though fashion in general was hit hard during the first 100 days of the Corona crisis. After announcing this month that the company is still doing well, Zalando said that they are still planning to grow around 10 to 20 percent this year.
The Startups in Berlin
4 out of 10 startups currently don’t have enough money in the bank to survive for another three months, according to data from the organization Startup Genome. Since the start of the Corona crisis, investments in startups worldwide have decreased with 20 per cent. Is funding going to dry up for the Berlin startup scene? In Germany, it’s unclear yet whether and how many startups will file for bankruptcy, since the state has allowed startups to wait with filing for bankruptcy until September 30th 2020. One of Berlin’s Unicorns, Getyourguide, was hit hard, according to data from Priori. Downloads of the Getyourguide app have dropped drastically from around 7.000 daily downloads in February and March, to less than 100 in April and May of this year.
With a float of 760 airplanes and only 80 of them up and running at this point, German airline Lufthansa is clearly hurt. The Frankfurt based ‘Luftgesellschaft’ saw its amount of passengers decline by 99 per cent since the start of the crises. A total of 3.000 flights is cancelled – daily. However, the airline published its 2019 numbers proudly halfway May 2020, saying 2019 was a year like never before. They added that ‘they are looking forward to June, when many travelers will hit the road again’, which made them announce to add 80 more planes to the float. Lufthansa employees currently in Kurzarbeit: 80.000 from 130.000. Lufthansa’s CEO asked the German governement for financial support, however, is not interested in giving away part of its shares in return. ‘We need Germany, but Germany needs Lufthansa, too’, he said.
The car industry, all over Germany
Car sales in Germany have fallen to a historic low. German carmakers have demanded a purchase incentive from Chancellor Merkel, like the one in the crisis of 2008. Back then, Germans purchasing a car, could redeem a 2.500 euro voucher when handing in a used car in order to purchase a new one. VW, BMW, Audi and Mercedes are going through tough times. In April of this year, VW sold 45 per cent less cars compared to 2019 worldwide.
All in all, it’s too early to draw drastic conclusions after the first 100 days. However, the fact that the world will change, is something many agree on. (Read this interesting piece in the Guardian about the potential new world order to find out why, according to the author, the EU will be the biggest Corona-loser of all).
Are you interested in reading more on how we at FSG are dealing with the Corona Crisis for the different international brands we represent?
Read more about what our brand team has done in times of Corona. Or click here if you want to read more about what kind of customer movements we have seen online since the start of the crisis.
Berlin – With almost two months of ‘the new normal’ behind us, FSG shares with you what has changed in ways of communicating with online German consumers since the Coronavirus crisis.
Many brands in Germany have a lot of different challenges on their plate, now that social distancing is becoming the ‘new normal’. Shops in Germany have opened up again since last week, however, people are spending more and more time buying their stuff online. With less support from retail, good product USP’s are not enough to stand out anymore.
For brands, there is an opportunity here to invest in organic traffic and interaction with (new) customers. In Germany, this means localized branding is the way to go. A brand selling online in Germany, needs to communicate ‘the German way’. In German. Here’s what we did and learned.
Inform and entertain your customers According to FSG’s Head of Brand, Denny Hartmann, German consumers want to be informed but also entertained. ‘In these trying times, we want to offer followers a good mix of infotainment and facts. With the only goal being increasing customer engagement, we worked on the following ‘on-top’ measures for one of our clients called Paula´s Choice that sells skincare products:
We created ‘infotainment´ packages on how to take care of your skin for our community members (loyal customers). These prefab contents were easy to share with their own followers;
We interviewed several loyal customers so that they can tell their personal story and skincare routine via our – and their own – social media;
We intensified our current program for all influencers that we work with, with the aim to reward and educate them. For this we worked on so-called knowledge boosts for specific products, a reward program for successful posts and fixed content packages that are easy to integrate in their postings;
We are preparing an online Q&A event with founder Paula Begoun for German press, influencers and customers.
Prepare for more in-depth questions We see that German consumers spend more time online in general. We also see that they have more in-depth questions, and follow up questions. More than normal, according to both Denny and Afrula Repas, who is one of FSG’s Senior Customer Service Representatives. The amount of comments on Instagram increased.
In these trying times, German consumers want to be heard. Not only during working hours. Also on weekends and at night. ‘We see that people are more active late at night compared to before-corona. I think since many Germans are working from home, at it seems that they sleep in later and therefore go to bed later’, says Afrula.
‘Also threads with customers who contact our customer service department are longer and more in-depth’, says Afrula. We also see this on social media, where the amount of comments compared to before-Corona increased for some of the brands by 20 per cent. ‘All of this made us decide to expand the Customer Service team especially during the Covid-19 crisis, since the last thing you want now is unanswered calls and questions’, says Managing Director Radboud Langenhorst.
Good Customer Service becomes crucial Because of the above, we have decided to have the live chat function working non-stop now, because we see this is a crucial channel in generating sales. In most of the cases a good and obviously real-time chat can be the last push to make a customers find their product and buy it. People have, and therefore take, more time to consciously buy a product so we made sure to be there to consult and to answer questions about shipping times and return policies. Now more than ever good customer service becomes a crucial Online USP. ‘We are even going to test video chat soon’, says Afrula.
Keep the frequency, make it (more) relevant. Here’s an important thing to keep in mind. Suddenly increasing the amount of newsletters because people are spending more time at home, or the amount of posts on Facebook, is going to turn off German customers. ‘They are used to a certain routine. So there’s no need to bother them with more, just because the world has changed’, says Denny. ‘However, try to make your content more relevant.’
This is the time to see if adjusting your content can get your customers to order a second time. Introduce other products to them, items that could be of interest to them. We did this for Kaufnekuh, the website where customers can buy a share of meat. We started spreading the word about packages that also contained chicken and pork from local farms and started with more content on topics like recipes, the life of a local farmer and their livestock and cooperations with other relevant brands. This led to an increase in orders on Kaufeinhuhn und Kaufeinschwein, but also a significant increase of the open- and clickthrough rates.
Be patient Due to Covid-19 many of our clients had both an increase in demand and challenges with cross-border shipping. This led to an increased amount of questions about packages being delivered with a delay. As a customer service representative, now even more than before, it’s the time to be patient’, says Afrula. FSG has generated automated newsletters to customers to spread the word about small delays in orders and returns.
All in all, according to FSG, this is not the time for brands to cut up the marketing budget or the efforts on brand activities and customer engagement. Denny states: ‘There’s lots of opportunities to increase your traffic and awareness on social organic platforms.
Now that German consumers are spending more time writing comments and also replying to your comments, brands can profit from that and can more easily create a connection between the customer and the brand. Let’s take advantage of that.’
The online cards are being reshuffled. With less and less support from retail, good product usp’s will not be enough to stand out.
Do you want to talk to us about localized German branding, or do you have questions about this subject? Drop us a line here, or contact us via firstname.lastname@example.org.
Berlin – FSG’s office is empty today, since all of us are working from home in respons to the new Coronavirus. What else is happening in Berlin?
Here’s your FSG Update from Berlin, where the streets are getting more empty by the minute, while temperatures are rising. Starting Wednesday, all Berlin stores except grocery stores, will have to close their doors.
FSG is not alone in going in to ‘home-office mode’. Berlin’s mobile bank N26 has completely closed its physical doors. According to the German news website on the start-up scene, Gründerszene, N26 is a fintech where working from home is not something the management normally encourages. More than 1.000 N26 employees are working from home.
Meanwhile, the European Commission has said it has 164 million euros available for start-ups that could come up with technologies and innovations that will help prevent the new Coronavirus from spreading. Deadline for sending in a plan for the ‘Corona accelerator’ is March 18th end-of-day.
Some German start-ups are benefiting from the new Coronavirus. 18-year old Nils Reichardt sees that downloads of his home schooling app Sharezone are getting through the roof. His app can be used by students to send in homework to teachers also working from home. Also downloads on the website Lehrermarktplatz.de have sky rocketet in Germany, with a record of over 100.000 downloads over the last weekend.
Many people here in Germany have been stocking up on toilet paper. Also the start up Happypo is benefiting. Happypo, started its business in mobile bidets in 2018 and now has a message on their website that meanwhile they have limited stock, indicating that their sales increased thanks to the virus.
Another questions being asked in Germany now that the Coronavirus is spreading, is if cash money, a payment method many Germans prefer over paying by card, can carry the virus. Read more on that here.
In German politics, Friedrich Merz, one of the possible future Chansellors from the German political party CDU, has been tested positive with the new Coronavirus, according to Spiegel.
That’s it for today. We hope you all stay safe and healthy. Take care of yourself and of each other, FSG.
Berlin – FSG’s response to the new Coronavirus means most of us are working from home at this point. Listen to our Managing Director, Radboud Langenhorst, as a special reporter from Start-up Hub Berlin in this Podcast.
In today’s published podcast Coronacast from Grenzeloos Ondernemen (in Dutch), FSG’s Managing Director Radboud Langenhorst talks about in what ways the new Coronavirus is affecting FSG’s business, the Berlin start-up scene and the German economy as a whole. Listen to Radboud’s interview with Dutch journalist Folkert Tempelman.
This coming Friday is one of the big moments for holiday shoppers. According to data shared with FSG by Facebook, 33 per cent of holiday gifts in Germany are purchased in November. During November, on the day after the American Thanksgiving (traditionally the fourth Thursday in November) Black Friday is one of the biggest sales moments of the year. However, Facebook numbers show that until shortly before ‘Heiligenabend’, the German consumers keep buying presents – 43 per cent of German holiday shoppers online, purchase their goods in December.
According to the data shared by Facebook, the social network divides all holiday related purchases and campaigns in to three phases. These three phases are all related to Black Friday. The weeks before Black Friday are Facebooks ‘Pre-phase’. Brands can pro-actively use this phase to create touchpoints with potential consumers. We see that customers sometimes – specially those of lifestyle or fashion products – need up to five touchpoints with a brand before they seriously consider buying a product. This means you have to think ahead when you want to use the Holiday period to drive new customers.
The days around it, are called ‘Peak-phase’. Any purchases done in the weeks and days after Black Friday and Cyber Monday are part of the so called ‘Panic-phase’. ‘People hit pain points while shopping on mobile devices’,writes Facebook. In this phase, it is crucial that you have an automated process in place and that you check the stock levels connected to your campaigns frequently. Don’t dissatify your customers with an out-of-stock message.
German shopping events
The German e-commerce market differs from the traditional retail setup (two new yearly collections, two sales moments after that). Almost 40 percent of German consumers are planning on spending in between 101 and 300 euros this Black Friday, according to Statista. In Germany, there are many other online shopping events that have huge following, like Glamour Shopping Week and Brigitte Shopping Days.
We at FSG don’t recommend our brands to join all these shopping events. ‘That might hurt your image’, says Yvonne Zermin, who is head of the country management team. ‘When you choose to join big discount events, choose wisely. Make sure the event fits your specialty. Also keep in mind that having your own discount promotions on top of joining a large shopping event, might not benefit your image.’
What about the environment?
Right before Black Friday in Germany last year, the German newspaper Zeit wrote an op-ed on how buying clothes on Black Friday is something consumers should avoid. ‘Waiting until Black Friday when looking to buy a washing machine or computer is one thing. However, consumers should hold back their ‘Schnäppchenreflexe’ as much as they can when clothes are involved’, wrote Carmen Böker. According to a Greenpeace study, German adults own an average of 95 pieces of clothing, and there are over a billion of pieces of clothing laying around that nobody ever wears.
Also in the US, where Black Friday was invented in the 60’s, companies seem more aware of the impact of Black Friday on the environment. Some companies are even closing their doors on Black Friday. Outdoor brand REI Co-op is one of them. ‘We’re killing our planet’, says a video on their website, using the hashtag #optoutside.
Here’s what we think:
Some people say that on Black Friday, brands will only see a shift in turnover. We disagree. Joining Black Friday will bring incremental sales, also when we look at a longer, 3-month-period. However, the days where your brand drives lots of new customers, are over. Why? Because every brand, big or small, is joining Black Friday in Germany. Customers these days, in other words, are completely spammed – to the max.
On top of this, Amazon will most likely represent more than half of all the sales presented to customers this year, If you’re not present on Amazon, you are missing out on something big. However, you will have some new clients and there are existing customers that really expect to be rewarded during those days.
Having said that, and living in times where we frequently hear that ‘it’s a race to the bottom anyway’, we do recommend not to go too deep on your discounts. If you do, make sure to connect it to a minimal order value, or add a nice gift-with-purchase instead.
Last but not least – and especially if you sell relevant products for the Holiday season – you have to take this shift in sales as a given in your budget. Because of Black Friday, customers start their holiday shopping earlier. Therefore, brands should try to free up enough media budget to make sure your brand is present. Try to stand out. If you don’t, your brand is risking a double dip (lower sales in the weeks before Christmas, too).
BERLIN – This was the week where entrepreneur Elon Musk came to Berlin and said that Tesla would build its first Europe based mega factory in the suburbs of Berlin. A ‘Gigafabrik’, as the Germans say. Here’s 5 things you need to know about the big Tesla announcement.
Musk was in Berlin to join the big yearly automotive award show hosted by newspaper Bild, where he was awarded the Goldenen Lenkrad (that’s a golden steering wheel!) when he announced his plans for his factory in Germany. Many other European countries – including the Netherlands – had been hoping too, to be picked by Tesla to build their factory there. The UK was out of question, according to Musk, ‘thanks to the Brexit’.
The new factory will build Tesla’s model Y, batteries and power trains. According to this article in Tagesspiegel, the factory itself will be build in the south east corner of Berlin, where BMW once was planning on building a plant, but never did.
Berlin has been trying to keep up with cities like London and San Francisco as a tech-hub for years now. This will give the city a big boost. ‘I love Berlin’, said Musk to newspaper Bild. ‘Our factory should be ready before the Berlin airport opens’, he joked.
The traditional automotive industry in Germany has been struggling with building battery powered cars. ‘Tesla producing electric cars in Germany could wave a checkered flag at the local competition, such as Volkswagen, BMW, and Daimler, speeding up innovation in the sector there, says professor Ferdinand Dudenhöffer of the Center for Automotive Research at the University of Duisburg-Essen in this article by The Local.
BERLIN – London is still the number one startup hub in Europe. But for how much longer? Berlin ’s tech-savvy culture, its room for innovation and adventurous entrepreneurs make the city a stronghold for the number one position.
According to European Venture Capital Firm Atomico, in 2018, Germany has caught up the UK as the number one destination for European tech talent migrants, closing what once was a significant gap. With the Brexit approaching, whether a Deal or No Deal one, venture capitalists are more and more interested in so called Silicon Allee. The Deutscher Startup Monitor estimates that a new startup is founded in Berlin every 20 minutes.
Yes, you read that right. The amount of capital raised by German startups broke a record last year, with 3,4 billion euros pouring into the veins of Germany’s startup sector. Most of the funding, according to Pitchbook, went straight to Berlin’s startups. 40 percent was received by companies in the capital. In comparison: 5,9 percent went to Hamburg, 18,3 percent to Munich.
Berlin’s Kreuzberg, Mitte and Pankow are the areas where most startups are located
Berlin has, compared to the rest of Germany, the most female founders
Half of the startups are developing software as a service
The average Berlin startup founder is 32,5 years old and holds an academic degree
Compared to the rest of Germany, Berlin founders are more adventures and tend to work on a number of startups in a row
Source: Deutscher Startup Monitor
And 2019 is going to show an even more bizarre result for Berlin: Berlin is home to tech businesses like N26, the challenger bank that this year alone (so far!) raised 470 million euros and is worth 3,5 billion euros. Allianz X, Tencent and Valar Ventures (co-founded by American-German venture capitalist Peter Thiel) invested in N26. The Berlin based Auto1, an online car marketplace, this year secured a record 460 million euro from Vision Fund (SoftBank).
Local VC’s from the city, like Rocket Internet (Delivery Hero, Hello Fresh) are, in other words, eager to splash the cash in their own ‘hood. In 2016, local VC’s invested a total of 585 million euros in Berlin’s tech-scene. In 2018, that number rose to 1,2 billion euros.
The biggest challenge for Berlin, according to Atomico’s Tom Wehmeier, is the so called dried up pool of executive talent. He says there are two things on Germany’s to do list in this matter: getting Europeans overseas to come back to the EU, and recycling talent from companies that have achieved big milestones and mobilizing them to help build new companies in Germany. Numbers of the European Labor Authority show that Europe’s tech workforce is still growing 4 per cent per year.
By far the most startups in Germany reside in Berlin. Source: Deutscher Startup Monitor
Europe-wide, Berlin is on the rise to show even more growth. London, with 5,4 billion euros in investments in 2018, is the only city ahead of Berlin when it comes to venture capital funding, according to PitchBook data. Berlin is way ahead of Amsterdam (274,3 million euros in 2018) and Zurich (263,7 million in 2018).
Berlin clearly emerges as the domestic and European winner so far to grab an important opportunity that could change the direction and future of Germany for the long run. According to one of the most powerful businesswomen in Germany, Ann-Kristin Achleitner from TU München, the current investments in Germany show that the country has a ‘big chance’ to prove itself, however this is only the beginning. Germany would have to invest even more in startups, she says. She recently told the Dutch financial daily: ‘We need more young companies in Germany, to make sure Germany in the near future can keep up with tech giants like Facebook and Google.’
All in all, here are our main three conclusions:
More investors, angels and VC’s will board the next train to Berlin to see what kind of interesting startups are waiting for their investements.
Berlin tech scenes biggest challenge is finding the right executives.
Germany, with its traditional decade old companies and loyal workforce, should take more advantage of this big opportunity right on their doorstep.
Do you want to know more about what FSG does, and what we can do for your company? Read more about us here, or contact us here.