The Handelskraft conference, which will take place on the 20th of February in Munich, is highly anticipated. But which topics will be discussed in the presentations? And what is the successful conference’s basic idea? We asked Christian Otto Grötsch, the conference’s creator and founder of dotSource.

ECD: Christian, the Handelskraft-Conference 2018 has the motto “New ways to successful commerce” – in your opinion, what are these new ways?

Christian Otto Grötsch: A new way to successful commerce is service. In a similar way to how customers got used to being able to buy almost all products in big department stores, it’s now normal and comfortable to buy every product online in dedicated shops and on marketplaces. Differentiation is carried out online – just like it used to be in big department stores – no longer based first of all on price. What counts for customers is the shopping experience and the quality of consultation and service if something goes wrong. Nowadays, additional digital benefits are more and more important.

In order to achieve that, retailers and manufacturers have to shed light on the buzzword jungle. It’s clear that customers reward useful content which is personalised in real-time and omnichannel shopping environments with excellent value for money. However, the question is what such digital wisdom means for companies and how they can find their individual way to the target group to offer excellent digital user experience. What does the customer expect? Which strategy supports the business model? Which tools result in the best individual system environment? What expertise do employees need to have?

The good news: It has always been claimed that the customer is at the centre of all company activity, and now the customer really is moving into the centre thanks to data. In order to move forward in terms of digital excellence, I see retailers and manufacturers on the way to aligning all organisation units to be digitally connected and oriented towards the customer. That also includes a work and business environment which fosters and rewards innovation and change. Many companies are still insecure in the new directions of change management.

The future of commerce is going to be digital. How does dotSource help companies to find the right strategy and take the right path?

By accompanying companies right from the beginning and through all aspects of digitalisation in marketing, sales and services. Our vision is called “Digital success right from the start” and more than 190 employees in two locations have experienced this together with our customers on a daily basis since 2006.

In tangible terms, this means that we have digital business expertise from more than twelve years of agency experience in strategy workshops, system choice, realisation, UX design and online marketing. We share this with our customers and develop fun solutions together. It’s our objective to supply the customer with a steep learning curve and fast results so that he can experiment with the new tools without taking high risks.

How did you get the idea to start a conference three years ago? What was the basic underlying idea?

Only a handful of retailers and manufacturers are successful when taking the path of digitalisation alone. In order to win the race of digital business, it takes a strong team of reliable partners and a highquality network of industry colleagues. What started in 2015 as a dotSource customer day to put exchange at the centre, quickly turned into a conference which included other retailers, manufacturers and publishers. This was so we could all learn from each other and challenge each other’s ideas.

The basic idea is to bring digital decision-makers together despite hard competition, as we can only be strong together. The conference is a chance to look beyond the end of your own nose and profit from exclusive insights. It’s only when you know your digital environment that you can adapt to it.

What’s the advantage for your guests at the conference – what inspiration and knowledge should they take home?

At, we have been dealing with the trends of the digital industry in e-commerce and online marketing since 2007. This has been without celebrating each and every hype. Clearly, digital trends such as services, digital platforms and blockchain technology will play a role during the Handelskraft 2018. However, we don’t want to join in with the popular buzzword bingo games of the industry. Guests at our conference can expect our speakers to supply them with real first-hand best practices in their keynotes and sessions, and they’ll be available for intensive questions during the conference day and evening event.

Furthermore, free digital appointments can be made with our experts regarding online marketing, marketing automation, customer relationship management (CRM), product data management (PIM) and UX and conversion optimisation.

Apart from an increase in knowledge, inspiration and networks, there should also be pleasure. Participants at the Handelskraft Conference 2017 at Porsche in Leipzig can look back on the contents of the day, but also on excellent catering and taking a turn on the racetrack in the Porsche Panamera at the evening event. For 2018 in the BMW World, we also have unforgettable activities planned for the conclusion of the conference.

Porsche in 2017, BMW in 2018: What about your obvious affinity with sophisticated cars?

At first, we thought that we were watching the industry of the century die at close hand. But digital change is also spreading in automotive groups. That’s a good signal for retailers and manufacturers who are paralysed and believe they will be made redundant by digitalisation.

All joking aside, our affinity with cars is primarily based on their mythical status. Some are technical masterworks and design classics which are recognised by generations simply by looking at their silhouette. Cars are emotional. If we can succeed in developing digital solutions which cause intensive emotions and whose usability is still impressive decades later, then we’re on the right track.

What plans do you have as an offshoot of the successful conference format – are you planning spin-offs, roadshows or other events?

Since 2014, we have successfully held our Handelskraft digital breakfasts in Germany, Austria and Switzerland and we’re using this as a thematic field for experimentation. For example, our digital breakfast was founded as a PIM and product data breakfast for the building materials industry. Due to great demand this year, we are also offering all content at the conference in English.

I don’t want to reveal our other plans at this point. But I’m looking forward to excellent feedback for the Handelkraft format due to our unique mixture of digital business expertise and networks. I would like to invite retailers, manufacturers and publishers to the Handelskraft Conference 2018 on 20th February in the BMW World in Munich!

Christian Otto Grötsch Info:

Christian Otto Grötsch is the founder and CEO of the full service digital agency dotSource. He started his career at the multi-national online auction house auXion and moved into the core product development and pre-sales consultation at Intershop Communications AG in 2000.

As the CEO of the agency dotSource, he has been consulting medium-sized companies and international groups at the highest management level regarding strategies and technologies in ecommerce and digitalisation of marketing, sales and services since 2006.

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