Let’s go digital – Are data sexy?

Interview with S.HE Business GmbH

The S.HE Business GmbH from Ahaus is breaking new ground in digital product management. Since 2004, Sandra Herdering, founder and CEO of S.HE Business, and her team have been supporting lifestyle and fashion companies on their way to e‑commerce. Always with the focus on presenting product data in an attractive, innovative and effective way.

Kitty Krause, CMO at Br24, spoke with Sandra Herdering about dealing with the flood of digital data, business and customer expectations, and how visual content helps to make data sexy.

Br24 Blog Interview S.HE Business: Photos of Sandra Herdering, CEO S.HE Business GmbH, and Kitty Krause, CMO Br24, as well as both company logos

1. What are sexy data for you? How do data become sexy?

For me, data that arouses emotions in the end customer are sexy. After all, emotions trigger buying impulses. Therefore, this is exactly where retailers and manufacturers need to start and provide the customer with photos, videos, and descriptions that deliver those emotions.

Especially in the fashion industry, the customer expects today much more than just a product photo and a short description. He wants to be fully informed about the condition, the material, the wearing comfort, etc. The product must be optimally staged to convince the customer. And that’s only possible with high-quality data.

For example, products should be photographed from all angles and different perspectives. Videos or pictures with an all-round view are also expedient because the customer can view the product from all sides and does not get the feeling that something is withheld. The right setting, optimal light and style variants also contribute to the buyer feels addressed.

The information must be complete and comprehensive as nobody wants to “buy a pig in a poke”. The buyer wants to have the same idea of the product as if he were buying it in a store where he could also touch it. That’s the challenge.

2. S.HE Business has been successful in the field of digital brand and product management for a long time. What is your secret of success?

First and foremost, this is my more than 20 years of experience professional, methodological and social expertise. I come from the fashion, lifestyle and luxury industry. I know the entire process chain from product development to all relevant distribution channels and I know the necessary IT systems that optimally support the process. This means that my client receives from me the advice and support he needs for successful digitization. I take into account the processes, the interlocking of the IT systems and the human factor. Most of my customers quickly appreciate my experience and my power to set up the value chain “Time to market” purposefully. Thereby, I pay attention to the appropriate dose, this means how much the company itself can contribute, at what speed can the company take the steps with me, and the budget is an additional factor that should not be underestimated. So I sum up all the factors; processes & IT, people and the economic opportunity.

In addition, if required, I offer everything from a single source: consulting, system integration (e‑commerce) and the necessary data maintenance in order to successfully distribute all product and image data to all relevant channels. I can put the team together for my client, which he needs for his progress, because I know the people who contribute perfectly to every part of the implementation, which makes S.HE Business an extremely scalable size with great customers.

Br24 Blog Interview S.HE Business: Example view PIM Studio for data management by S.HE Business

3. What special challenges does the fashion and lifestyle industry bring with it?

In the digital age, speed is usually the biggest challenge, and that’s no different in the fashion and lifestyle industry. The technical possibilities are improving and changing rapidly, so it is particularly important to stay on the ball. And the competition never sleeps, so the manufacturer has to place his products in a short “time-to-market” and in particular on all relevant channels.

With the huge offer that is available on the internet today, the customer is in the comfortable position of being able to look elsewhere if he does not directly find what he is looking for. So you should a) be fast, b) be present on all channels and c) know your customer as accurately as possible, to address him directly and deliver what he wants.

If you can successfully implement these requirements, you are already a huge step further in conquering the digital market.

4. What advice would you give retailers on their way to the digital world?

Above all, I would advise local retailers to take good advice, as I know exactly from my own experience how complex the subject is. Simply “putting your products online” is no longer enough today. But I still encounter this fallacy today and then I try to make it clear that we are talking about much more than that. It is particularly important to be present on different channels. And slowly, retailers realise this.

But above all, it’s the bigger portals that should think about stationary retailers. Schuhe24, for example, shows how it’s done: Here, dealers are connected to the platform and can sell their products also online without much effort.

5. Of course, what interests us is the visual content. Where do you see the greatest opportunities in the course of (progressive) digitisation? And what can we expect in this area in the future?

As already mentioned, it is very important to give the customer the best possible idea of the product. This is not easy, of course, if he cannot touch the article. Therefore, emotions that prompt the customer to buy the product need to be aroused with the help of pictures and videos. Today’s technical possibilities already offer much more potential than just a few years ago. 360-degree views and 3D images are just the beginning. I am sure that the future will increasingly move towards “Augmented Reality”. In the fashion industry, this could be, for example, pictures or videos with the display of size and dimensions. Maybe as a customer, I will be able to upload a photo or video of myself in the future and virtually try on clothes or set up my home on a screen. In any case, development continues to tend to provide the customer with a shopping experience that suggests he is in the store and can touch and test the products.