GANDT Fireside Chat #001 | Digitalization during Corona: Impact and Opportunities


True to our motto “Working Out Loud”, we at GANDT Ventures exchange our thoughts and ideas on current news topics. The topics from around the world ranges from online marketing, digital retail to e-commerce. This helps us uncover opportunities that can be used for companies and our clients as part of our daily business.

But most of all, it is a lot of fun and a great way to share knowledge. Our podcast chats are available to anyone who is interested what Google, Facebook, Amazon and co. are up to.


ManoMano, the DIY online furniture retailer – Corona Opportunities for businesses

ManoMano is a French DIY online furniture retailer and has been in existence since 2013. At the beginning of 2020, the company raised 125 million euros in an investment round. Now they want to take advantage of the opportunities during the Corona crisis and establish themselves in Germany as well.
ManoMano are set to take on the German competition from German market leaders OBI, Hornbach and Co., heads on. In this current Coronavirus phase, a tall task to take on.

The French company ManoMano, is relatively unknown in Germany. Their social media channels have not been developed at all, with only 1.400 instagram followers, to name but one example. (April 2020)
They offer its own products. The furniture business is thus one big step ahead of the German furniture and construction industry in its online presence.

Facts: ManoMano tailored to 3.5 million customers in 2020 and has 2,500 dealers and manufacturers across Europe whose products they sell on their platform. In 2019, ManoMano achieved an annual turnover of 620 million euros.

Due to the forced closures in the DIY-space that we are experiencing in the crisis, there is great potential. The online platforms should be improved, in order to maintain contact with the customer.
In the coming months, it will have to be seen whether or not ManoMano can capitalize the opportunities the Corona situation offer. At this point in time it is hard to say, whether the customer sentiment for (online) DIY products will increase or decrease in the months to come. The 125 Million Euro investment should go a long way, though.


Affiliate Program of Bob’s Watches

The current situation also shows up as an opportunity in other areas, such as the online marketplace for the resale and trading of luxury watches.
One of the largest online watch marketplaces in the United States, Bob’s Watches, recently announced the launch of its own affiliate program “Partners in Time”.

The main focus of the program is to allow smaller retailers (worldwide) to tap into the product portfolio of Bob’s Watches. The affiliate program launched with Peperjam is an easy way for stationery retailers to start with a broad product portfolio in their online shops.

In addition to the opportunity to offer products, and thus reach new customer segments during the Covid 19 crisis. Local retailers can also benefit from the affiliate program by using Bob’s Watches fulfillment services. The luxury watch marketplace facilitates the packaging and shipping process. hence, the complex luxury watch logistics are not an issue when launching an online store through Bob’s Watches affiliate program.

Especially for companies that are not set up for the shipping of their goods, new possibilities arise as their own goods are shipped directly through Bobs Watches.

This paves the way for smaller retailer to launch their own online watch store, with relative ease.
The timing of the launch of Bobs Watches Affiliate Program is certainly somewhat unusual. Right now local and smaller retailers can seize the opportunity to offer their products online and present with little effort.


Covid 19 as a driver of action for digitalisation

The step towards digitization is a great overcoming and a lot of effort for countless companies. Nevertheless, the crisis is now automatically forcing them to move and act.

At the end of last year, according to the Bitkom study “Digital Office in Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises 2019”, “only 19% of the small and medium-sized enterprises were set up for a comprehensive digitization of office work on the software side”.
A large number of medium-sized companies are still working with processes that require paper and photocopiers and whose documents are only partially or not digitized.

Covid-19 and the associated limitations now create the compulsion to digitize in order to be able to continue serving existing customers. Our own portfolio needs to be expanded to deal with the looming existential crisis.

>> If companies don’t get creative and act now, they haven’t understood the opportunity they’ve got. <<

There have also been huge changes in our industry in recent weeks and we see a shift in priorities, which mostly affects the areas of marketing, communication and new customer acquisition.

The fear of investing in digital marketing is understandable, but it makes it much more difficult to resume communication with customers after the crisis.
Innovative players who communicate loudly and present themselves right now will be the ones who benefit from this opportunity. In this time of need, it is important to communicate more and online communication through digital advertising, social media and online CRM are the best bets, right now.


Implement simple digital solutions for SMBs

It does not always require the most advanced software and tool setup to get started. Accepting customer orders via WhatsApp Business or using a simple and user-friendly help offer such as the booking tool Acuity Scheduling breaks the barrier to digitalization.

There are many solutions on the market, which are quick and easy to implement, opening up the possibilities for digitization one step further in an easy way.
The added value that can be achieved in the long term by digitizing the company is often underestimated.


Case Study | Food Delivery, Gastronomy and Supermarket Delivery Services

Since Corona, completely new rules have been in place for gastronomy: restaurants and cafés have to close, only deliveries and pick-up services are still allowed and opportunities for them.

Thus, restaurants and cafés with a presence on social media (Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, etc.) can secure the supply of their existing customers and do so with very little effort.

The German delivery services of supermarkets such as Rewe, Edeka Bringmeister, Picnic and Amazon Fresh are in high demand.

However the peak appears to have gone back, already. According to Google Trends, for example, the search volume for Rewe’s delivery service has fallen back to its pre-Corona peak since the peak on March 20. If online supermarkets would like to keep the customers they have acquired throughout the Coronavirus situation the will need to over-deliver on their value proposition. It is key to deliver a top-notch service and to be a reliable partner.
A lock-in effect can thus be avoided and the customer is preserved.


Amazon slows supply

But Amazon is very different – the exception to the rule. In an attempt to let customers buy less instead of more, the US online marketplace giant has removed the offer page and product recommendations from its homepage.

In addition, Amazon has removed the frequently purchased list for each product and no longer accepts new discount vouchers from brands. The company has implemented these changes in the last 30 days and is now trying to focus its business and thus consumer spending on the essentials, and thus on the highly sought-after goods.

Overall, however, spending on Amazon has increased, even as the company has proactively tried to slow sales growth.
This is a slightly different example of a company in crisis that is not affected by the problem of customer loss.


Agenda | GANDT Fireside Chat Video #001

Simply book a free appointment to continue the conversation, and ask us questions about your business.