Electronic Retailer - June 2012 - (Page 23)
FROM THE EXECUTIVE’S DESK
BY DR. JULIAN OBERNDÖRFER
How ERA Europe Wants to Help Consumers ‘Shop with Confidence’
In addition to e-commerce, it is now essential to be present on the “second screen,” yet the TV product risks being lost in the diversified world of hundreds of digital TV offers. Unfortunately, there is not just one simple solution, but many small approaches to reach the customer. Today, consumers can feel disoriented by the overwhelming omnipresence of media and their lack of confidence. That’s why it is so important that as we enter this future of digitized media consumption and continued period of economic crisis we focus on brand building, consumer trust and sustainability in the direct-to-consumer relationship. The European approach to building trust with customers in regards to self-regulation will be an important piece in that mosaic. The Shop with Confidence seal, which will be unveiled officially at the ERA Europe Electronic HomeShopping Conference 2012 on June 24-26 in Berlin, Germany, will be awarded to ERA members in good standing. These members have signed a questionnaire and the ERA Europe Charter verifying that their businesses practice a minimum standard of consumer protection. During the probation period and ever after, an independent self-regulation officer will by his or her own initiative or by evidence of other members or consumers continue to assure these standards. More important vis-a-vis the consumer is for ERA Europe to explain the benefits of the program and the granted rights in an understandable form. Uniform USPs in all European languages will be implemented market by market. A consumer landing page on the ERA Europe website (www.eraeurope.org) and a contact will be put in place. ERA Europe is stepping on to terra incognita, as implementing such a seal as a non-profit organization is something unique, but the move has already been endorsed by German media regulators. We expect a positive response in other markets as well. We will clean the bad players from the industry and will strengthen consumer confidence to teleshopping, especially in regard to ERA members. This is expected to help in markets where regulators’ mindsets need some positive vibes to change their limited view on our business model. We will again prove the respectability of our industry and strengthen the customer relationship. Dr. Julian Oberndörfer is head of country management, Austria & Switzerland, for HSE 24 and responsible for regulation and distributions. He is also the incoming chairman of the ERA Europe Board of Directors.
We all know that products make the teleshopping world go round, but what else is happening over the ocean other than the currency crisis? As we talk about Europe, we need to differentiate between different markets. There are two important issues that apply in variations to all markets. One important issue, which directly relates to the named crisis, is consumer confidence. The other topic, which will be a challenge but even more an opportunity and business driver, is digitization. Consumer confidence strongly varies from market to market. For example, you have markets such as Germany, where the crisis takes place in the abstract with rising of public debts. There, teleshopping was never struck by the crisis. On the opposite end is Greece, where, public or private, every sector seems to be out of control, and recent elections in the country are unlikely to lead to relief of the situation. Then there is Italy, which is an example where a government of technocrats has taken over. Severe measures are hitting just about every individual, but consumers there feel that steps in the right direction are coming. Polls and elections all over Europe show that consumers are fed up with cuts in spending. The political reaction is to save money by creating less debt and flood the market with non-existent money, rising unemployment and recession on the dawn. That creates an interesting mix for consumer confidence. But as the “lipstick index” and the chocolate industry have proven, the right product will be successful in any circumstance. Perhaps more tangible – or not – is digitization. There are general trends that you will find in differing intensities in the different markets, due to varying states of distribution infrastructures and, hence, media consumption. First of all, digitization wipes away market barriers for teleshopping as it offers more frequency or capacity for TV and, in consequence, teleshopping channels. The best example here is Italy. Before the digital switch in terrestrics, there was hardly any relevant distribution to be found. Now QVC and HSE24 own their own 24/7 channels. So far, no capacity has been allocated to teleshopping in France or Spain. As in most markets where TV frequencies are limited, there needs to be a change in the mindset of regulators to understand that teleshopping is a respectable business model and belongs as much in a modern TV spectrum as music or sports channels. In other markets, the new challenge of digitization is not if but how to be found. EPG positioning is a known issue. Diversification of media consumption is another challenge.
The Shop with Confidence seal, which will be unveiled officially at the ERA Europe Electronic HomeShopping Conference 2012 on June 24-26 in Berlin, Germany, will be awarded to ERA members in good standing.
June 2012 | electronicRETAILER
Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Electronic Retailer - June 2012
Calendar of Events
Your Association,Your Bottom Line
IMS Retail Rankings
Jordan Whitney's Top Categories
Ask the Expert
From the Executive's Desk
Thinking Outside the Box
DRTV's New Best Practices
It's Time to Think Differently About Payment Processing
Electronic Retailer - June 2012