Yet it is this very direct contact with his shoppers that the retailer considers his secret ingredient – even when it comes to e-commerce. "Our online shoppers receive equally solid and extensive advice as our in-shop customers do", Rietig adds. "Our online shop clearly benefits from our expertise that we gain from our brick-and-mortar outlet." Online staff advise customers by e-mail and on the phone; collections or product demonstrations can be arranged at the shop any time. That is also where customers can naturally have their online orders gift-wrapped – free of charge.
A further key to successful e-tailing: focusing on interesting products, as well as the latest hype articles. Spielkiste is a mid-sized retail space which offers the largest selection of Tonies in the district of Landsberg. "If you want to establish such a sales space in what is a purely brick-and-mortar shop to make sure that it pays off, you will need a long breath and patience", says Rietig with a look at his prominently placed Tonies sales wall. "In our case, our store benefited from our online shop: Tonies started out really well and fast online which is why we could wait at the shop until the audio concept had become an item amongst our local shoppers."
On the other hand, the Spielkiste team utilises the established online shop time and again to publicise on-location events, such as school satchel parties in January, or the monthly games nights for adults. These evenings are predominantly attended by regional regulars – but there are always newcomers.
Generally speaking, connecting these channels manually so to speak works very well at Spielkiste. But Rietig still has a few wishes open. Improved product data from the makers for example – that would reduce the effort for the online shop. "And an employee and a trainee would also be appreciated", Rietig adds. He has been looking for months now, but the affluent district of Landsberg has almost no unemployment and good staff are hard to come by. That is also why in the year of corona – of all years – a major investment is imminent: A modern ERP system is to be installed which further automates online shop processes and better ties in the store’s stocks. "That is quite an investment for a shop our size", says the retailer. "But if you don't go with the times, you will go in time."
The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Spielwarenmesse eG.
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