As the Managing Director of SUND Digital, Sören Dede is in charge of the digitalisation process within the entire SUND Group. In addition, he is the expert for anything and everything that is to be sold on Amazon: Together with his team, Dede uses the vast experience he has gained in traditional sales and distribution to advise enterprises in their creation of a successful positioning on Amazon.
Herr Dede, what exactly does SUND Digital do?
SUND Digital serves several purposes. On the one hand, we’re what you can call the digitalisation hub of the SUND Group, this being the interface at which our IT department, our e-commerce sales activities and online marketing are structured and organised. In addition, SUND Digital assumes a wider scope as a consultancy agency for Amazon Marketing. As such, we support other enterprises that want to sell their products on Amazon.
In other words anything from “Hi there, my printer isn’t working“, to “We have a new product that we’d like to sell“?
In principle, yes, but of course not for one and the same person.
What does SUND Digital offer its external clients?
We provide them with all-round support, ranging from the creation of an account, to listing the products and placing ads to increase sales, across to advice on problems or challenges they face when conducting business in this field. Here too, we’re at the ready with advice and assistance.
Does the expertise you have gained at the SUND Group help you when advising clients?
It certainly does, in more ways than one. On the one hand, of course, we ourselves have acquired experience from our business with Amazon, specifically on how everything works and what must be considered. But this is a major benefit in other areas, too, for the target group to whom we offer our advice consists of traditional B2B enterprises. Having taken the same step ourselves, one key advantage we now possess is an awareness on how traditional sales operations can be synchronised with e-commerce. In conjunction with a traditional sales setup, a second mainstay can simultaneously be created in the field of e-commerce, one that won’t be opposed or even rejected by the sales team. Never having been actively involved in traditional sales business, many of our competitors in the consultancy sector do not have such knowledge.
What are the typical mistakes that companies make when adopting e-commerce and before drawing on the expertise of the SUND Digital team?
As a member of staff once said to me: ‘Amazon is not a garbage bin’. If a product isn’t selling, it won’t sell well on Amazon either. The platform isn’t a magic wand that will magically generate turnover. All too often, the enormous amount of hard work that must be put in to achieve this objective is underestimated. A further mistake that some companies make is in not addressing this issue sensibly but somehow list their images and texts from their merchandise management system – and then wonder why nothing is happening. In addition, many companies assume that sales turnover will increase exponentially. Although this is the case, it also requires patience, initially at least, for the exponential growth curve moves very slowly. As a result, it’s highly unlikely that any major turnover will be generated overnight.
To what extent do you consider e-commerce to be of importance for the SUND Group?
I consider it to be extremely important. At first, however, we too achieved very modest success, well aware that significant exponential growth would only occur gradually.
Why is your focus centred on Amazon?
Because it’s the prime marketplace. For one thing, Amazon generates more turnover in Germany than the ten largest marketplaces and online traders together. Both Zalando and Otto included. That highlights the market importance of Amazon in the field of e-commerce. In addition, Amazon provides the only sensible marketplace in terms of form and reach. Other providers are significantly smaller. All of which clearly confirms the maxim behind digitalisation: The winner takes it all. Because Amazon is so large, it pays off best to be fully on board, and because Amazon is so large, that’s where the customers will head. In turn, this explains why Amazon is so large. Using other marketplaces doesn’t really pay.
What’s your personal view here? Is it critical to concentrate e-commerce on one provider or are there also advantages?
From a short-term perspective there are advantages for sure. Essentially, it means dealing with only one system, as it were, which leads to learning effects that can be transferred to other issues. In the long-term, though, there can indeed be a critical impact, as we are now already noticing. The dependency relationships are very strongly and unilaterally divided. Vendors placing an offer on the platform are obliged to play ball, so to speak, and the rules of play are dictated to them. What’s more, Amazon is a gatekeeper, which means that every customer order has to be acquired anew, be this through commission or advertising costs. But that’s the way things go with the new framework conditions on the market; and what would be the alternative? It’d obviously be preferable to achieve the same sales volume via one’s own online shop; then again, however, that’s both complex and very expensive.