Regarding online trade as an opportunity
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It was a question of regarding online trade as an opportunity. From left to right on the stage: Thomas Gutberlet, tegut, Bernd Droihn, Tofutown, Nicole Stocker, Hofpfisterei and Anne Mutter,(nbsp)Holle, Alexander Beck, AöL, and Dr. Andrea Grimm from the Fachhochschule Wiener Neustadt. Photo AöL.
What does increasing digitisation mean for the manufacturers of organic food? That was the topic discussed by the Assoziation ökologischer Lebensmittelhersteller (AöL) and its guests from business and research at Biofach. Digitisation influences all aspects of our lives. Concepts ranging from fruit boxes and MyMuesli to Amazon Fresh have been gaining ground for a long time and that, said AöL, was their motivation for organising this event.
Online trade is becoming increasingly important – taking advantage of opportinities
It's no longer just non-perishable food that is being sold on the internet – fresh food has long been available too. „Food at the click of the mouse – how online trade is changing the organic manufacturer scene“ was the title of the panel discussion at(nbsp) Biofach. „The crucial question is how we integrate our operations into these new structures,“ said the managing director of AöL, Dr. Alexander Beck. In his view: „We must not react with fear to processes like concentration and expansion – they have always been going on in the past. What we ought to be doing now is taking full advantage of opportunities and minimising risks.“
„Online trade is here, so we've got to get to grips with it,“ was also the view of Nicole Stocker, the managing director of Ludwig Stocker Hofpfisterei GmbH. „We have around 160 stores in the Munich region and we've always had direct contact with customers. So, moving onto the internet was not such a big step for us. We use our online shop to back up our front-line stores.“
Communicating warmth and values in the digital environment
„If we don't communicate with customers ourselves, then other will do so,“ said the chair of the management team at Holle Baby Food, Anne Mutter. ,,The biggest challenge for us is preserving our warmth of feeling in this digital environment and getting our values across.“ Bernd Drosihn, the managing director of Tofutown.com GmbH, said: „You still have to pop food in your mouth and taste it.“ In his view the problem is how to get any access at all to customers who are shifting more and more to the internet. „At the moment, the organic industry is not so interesting for young people who are users of the internet.“
„The industry often looks to see what's supposed to be right and what's not. But I can't dictate to customers,“ said Thomas Gutberlet, the managing director of tegut...gute Lebensmittel GmbH & Co.KG. „The most important question is rather whether we've got a grip on our core data. Whether we ourselves can give customers information that means added value for them.“
Dr. Andrea Grimm from the Fachhochschule Wiener Neustadt argued similarly in favour of linking old and new sales channels. „The customer is becoming more and more a prosumer. He gets information himself about a product and shares it in his community. This is the reason why we have to re-think existing trade models and company stuctures.“