“Thoughts are free” – in order to properly live up to this simple and effective motto, within the past year we organized our own in-house Think Tanks.
How do Think Tanks work? We regularly invite partners and customers to the Shopware headquarters in order to discuss the most trendsetting topics that impact eCommerce. In the first step, the idea is to connect with external, creative people who are working on innovative concepts; the second, to create prototypes that will be used to influence the future of eCommerce. There are no limits placed on thinking – within this context, everyone is free to voice ideas (and even rethink trodden paths) in order to bring new ideas to the test.
The most recent Think Tank took place just two days ago at the brand-new Shopware headquarters. The focus of this event was placed on B2B and eCommerce; a topic incredibly close to Shopware.
“Slowly but surely, the traditional structures between retailers and wholesalers are beginning to dissolve. B2B trade can no longer move forward without eCommerce. Therefore, the Think Tank is being used as a platform to further explore the possibilities of the B2B sector in Shopware, as well as design new strategies that drive the B2B sector in eCommerce,” Dietmar Hölscher, Senior Manager of Business Development at Shopware and initiator of the Think Tanks, said of the project.
Participants from various fields
We made a deliberate point to include participants from various walks of the B2B sector. Among the guests were agency representatives and customers from different industries and businesses. In specific, we were pleased to welcome: Joubin Rahimi (Bluetrade), Michael Kaupat (Portaltech), Tobias Schlepphorst, Susan Matuszewski (beide GWS), Judith Menke (hmmh), Matthias Müller (Commerce Plus), Sascha Vorderstemann (eliomedia), Dieter Rothacker (Netformic), Manuel Strotmann (best.it), Oliver Huckels (Soennecken), Michael Jung (Soldan), Christian Engelberth, Christoph Ueberschaer (beide twt) and Max Messing (commerce4).
To start the conversation, André Schultewolter, Manager of Business Development at Shopware, demonstrated a new concept that networks online merchants based on possibilities offered by Shopware’s Enterprise Solution. The insightful presentation focused primarily on the creation of marketplaces and merchant integration.
Next Daniel Nögel, Team Leader of Enterprise Development at Shopware, presented the possibilities of the “Enterprise Dashboard”, which will play a particularly vital role concerning the management of clients, rights and roles within complex enterprise environments.
After the presentations, Dietmar Hölscher led a discussion panel with the Think Tank participants. The conversation quickly illuminated that Shopware Enterprise already fulfills numerous requirements for B2B trade. Remarking on Shopware as a stable basis for B2B, Sascha Vorderstemann from eliomedia said: “We have already implemented three or four B2B projects using Shopware. With each project, we were able to make individual adjustments, add features and make other changes in order to provide a completely tailored solution for our customers.”
Requirements of the B2B sector
If anything, the Think Tank made huge strides regarding the ideal software desired by agencies when approaching B2B projects. To this end, a great deal of the conversation was driven by ideas surrounding the fundamental structural elements within B2B.
Should Shopware integrate more classis B2B functions in the standard Enterprise solution, agencies could then more easily develop individual project solutions based on the exact needs of their clients.
In this context, the idea came about to create a marketplace, similar to the Shopware Community Store, but exclusively for enterprise extensions. This pathway would ensure that the appropriate extensions are closely examined and passed with a certification, proving they meet the functional needs of the enterprise market. This would also apply to the more standard interfaces provided by third parties.
The coming weeks will reveal which approaches discussed in the Think Tank will be readily pursued. In total, the conversations that took place during the Think Tank undoubtedly paved the way for a stronger future within the B2B sector, in particularly for online shops using Shopware as a basis.