The Future of Online Trade: Styla Meets Engelhorn [INTERVIEW]

In today’s world, retail, e-commerce, digitization and content marketing can’t be treated as interchangeable categories anymore. Those who want to be successful at selling goods online must understand the underlying principles of each of these four categories in order to be able to integrate them into a solid e-commerce strategy. Those who think in silos, will not succeed.

The symbiosis of different retail domains, which happened due to changes in the society, is now at full tilt. Customers have a higher level of demand, which requires lots of “open-mindedness” from retailers, as well as an intelligent e-commerce strategy, if they want to meet that demand.

Without content marketing, e-commerce will struggle to stay relevant for customers.

Without understanding the needs of the customers, content marketing in e-commerce cannot be of much use.

If brick-and-mortar stores ignore the phenomenon of digitization, they run the risk of falling lost to the sands of time.

Everything must be brought together.

Does this sound a little too much? Fortunately, we all can always learn from others – namely, from those who are already aware of the advantages of this symbiosis and have incorporated it in their processes.

Whom can you ask for an example?! engelhorn, a German retailer brand specialising in sports and clothing, has some fascinating stories to tell about the future of e-commerce, and retail in general. Remarkably, long before content marketing, digitization, and the shift of power between consumer and retailer, one of engelhorn’s founders has said that “the retail industry is based on three pillars: an attractive price/quality ratio, an excellent service, and extraordinary advertising”. That was in 1905. So for over a century now, engelhorn has been having a very visionary perspective on the phenomenon of retail. So it’s pretty clear we want to hear their story, right?

In the interview with Styla, Julia Münkle from engelhorn talks about the challenges, opportunities and possibilities of these inspiring connections.

So let’s get inspired with engelhorn’s approach to content marketing and convinced by the importance of uniting content and e-commerce and the meaningful numbers that Julia exclusively shares with us. Curious to see what they are? Then keep your eyes and ears open and join us in the journey to the future of retail!

INTERVIEW TRANSCRIPT:

Anja: Hi Julia

Julia: Hi Anja

Anja: So nice to meet you! I was really looking forward to it. We are at Fashiontech today, which feels as if it was meant for you. You are a visionary company, which roots lie in offline retail, and yet you’ve always been perceptive to the happenings of the online world. That’s why we’re so excited to see you today!

Julia: Thanks a lot for the invitation.

Anja: Of course! Could you tell us a bit about engelhorn? What does the brand do? What’s its mission?

Julia: engelhorn has been around for a very long time — for over 125 years, in fact, which is long before the Internet era — which means that our brand puts high value on traditions. We come from Mannheim, and in 1890 we founded Engelhorn and Sturm — Fine Clothes for Boys and Men. Over the years, the business has grown to become a true retail expert in our region. We now have eight stores in Mannheim, which are divided into sports and fashion. We are experts in all things sports that you can imagine, as well as, of course, the entire fashion sector where we offer everything that your heart can desire. Since 2006, we’ve also gone online.

Anja: Do you also have a content marketing strategy?

Julia: Yes and no. We are constantly working on this and are giving it shape as it goes. This also depends on the channel. We started 5 years ago with placing content externally, like on Facebook, Pinterest, blogs, and other outside channels. Now we’ve begun to put content directly on our online shop. We do this by using your Styla solution. We publish all content we create (which is quite a lot as we’re blogging all the time) on engelhorn.de and thus merge shop and content.

Anja: Perfect! That’s exactly how it should be. Today’s trend in online marketing requires erasing the gap between a store and a blog. Which leads us to our main subject. So you decided to work with Styla. What was the main reason for that decision?

Julia: At first, we started our blogs with WordPress. I love WordPress, it’s a great tool, and you can make beautiful things with it. But it also confronted us with various challenges. Such as: how to deal with topics that are very product-centred? Or: how to deal with topics that need to be presented in a very visual way? Take fashion, for example. You don’t need to write or read a lot about a purse. You just see it and you know if you want it or not. With WordPress, that was very difficult to achieve. Due to the way we built it up, it was very much focused on text. But sometimes we needed to integrate something visual, like a slider with images of certain sizes. We also get image materials from manufacturers, and you can’t always edit them the way you need, because it could be against any of their CI guidelines. So we started searching for something that wouldn’t restrict us so much and that would enable us to use more variations of content. Something that wouldn’t be all text, text, text, but instead would focus more on the power of visuals.

Anja: After the integration, have you noticed any changes in your performance metrics, i.e. your KPIs?

Julia: Yes! We look at traffic, of course, as well as the time spent on page and click-through rate when it comes to products as we also have content which is not about products at all. But when it comes to product-centric content, we look at where people clicked and, of course, at the turnover. So yes, the revenue has grown tremendously. The turnover is about four times higher now.

Anja: Incredible! That makes us feel very proud!

Julia: It is indeed a very nice result! Mostly because this happens so effortlessly.

Anja: Can you reveal one content marketing secrets to share with other retailers?

Julia: You need to listen to your customers, to communicate with them. And by doing that, you’ll be able to give them something back. Something authentic and exciting.

Anja: At Styla, we focus at the seamless merge of content and products. Do you think that more retailers should focus on that, too, in order to close the gap between content and e-commerce?

Julia: Definitely! It’s only natural that content and commerce should be connected.

Anja: Well, that’s it! It was good talking to you, I had lots of fun.

Julia: Me too!

Anja: I hope YOU liked it too! If you have any questions, let us know in the comments below! We’ll definitely come back to you! It was Julia from engelhorn and Anja from Styla. Have a great day, everybody!

Written By

Anja Fordon is Content Marketing Manager at Styla. She creates content marketing campaigns, writes articles about digital storytelling, social media and e-commerce, sharing her expertise on both German and English blogs at Styla. When she’s not doing that, she enjoys throwing paint on canvas and reading loads of books. Feel free to get in touch with her on Twitter or LinkedIn!