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Shop Around the Clock

January 14, 2016 by Iris Nagel-Martin 30

Home shopping network HSE24 has been operating out of Germany for the past 20 years. Now, thanks to SAP Hybris Marketing running on SAP HANA, the company is set to tackle the next two decades.

In an age where customer complaints can go viral in seconds, savvy online sellers know they’re well off sticking to high-quality products. Over the last 20 years, Home Shopping Europe (HSE24) has advanced to become one of the leading names in state-of-the-art, multimedia home shopping.

The omnichannel mail-order retailer informs customers about the latest product trends on three TV channels ‒ HSE24, HSE24 Extra, and HSE24 Trend ‒ and in its online shop. It is firmly committed to leveraging networked media and has an extensive presence on multiple media platforms including TV, the Web, smartphones, smart TVs, and tablets. Every year, HSE24 offers more than 20,000 different products for sale in four segments: fashion, jewelry, beauty, and home/living.

E-commerce is currently a key growth engine for the company: 33 % of HSE24’s customers now order online, and almost 50% of new customers come to the company via the Internet. Online sales have also increased as a result of “second-screen” shopping, or when customers watching TV in the evening see an interesting product and reach across for their tablet to order it from the comfort of their sofa.

Naturally, customers can also order by phone or mobile app, through HSE24’s online shop, or via Internet Protocol television (IPTV). Here, the customer places an order through an HTML interface displayed on the TV screen. HSE24 also leverages interactive voice response (IVR) technology to enhance its customers’ shopping experience.

What these disparate ordering channels have in common is that they all interact with the SAP Customer Relationship (SAP CRM) application. Every single incoming order is processed in SAP CRM, which is a major challenge from the IT perspective.

“At peak times, we can be clocking up 84,000 orders in 24 hours, and as many as 1,000 parallel users in the system,” explains Christian Schnetzer, SAP CRM team lead at HSE24.

One Inventory for All

The fact that orders are processed in real time in a single system and that communication is end-to-end greatly increases performance requirements. Orders coming in through HSE24’s online shop deplete the same inventory as those taken by agents in the call center. Complaints, returns, and cancellations can also be processed in any channel and posted to SAP CRM.

HSE24 has been deploying SAP CRM since 2006, and the home shopping specialist maintains a close partnership with SAP. By implementing SAP Hybris Marketing, HSE24 was able to take its customer segmentation capabilities to a new level. Thanks to the new marketing solution on SAP HANA, HSE24 can now segment customers into groups according to a wide range of criteria and predict their potential value to the business. And regular campaigns are now automated.

“There was significant motivation for us to enter the SAP HANA world with this marketing solution,” says Schnetzer. “Because one click gives us actionable insight from Big Data generated throughout our multichannel environment.”

Effective Cooperation

HSE24’s SAP HANA implementation kicked off in April 2013. In tandem with SAP, HSE24 opted to implement the SAP Audience Discovery Targeting application. Because this SAP product was brand new, there was a high degree of collaboration from the start. In fact, HSE24 was one of the first SAP customers to embark on the still nascent roadmap, which began with a concept phase in consultation with SAP and continued with a six-month implementation period.

“Because the solution was completely new to both marketing and customer analysis, HSE24 opted for a prolonged test phase in which to gradually introduce the affected employees to the new system. During this time, the existing software was upgraded to the latest SAP CRM release, 7.13, to ensure smooth integration,” recalls Schnetzer. :85% of our metrics achieved good performance for preview and selection. We had to make a lot of adjustments to the remaining 15% though. Database expertise was a definite advantage here.”

Because HSE24 generates revenues 24 hours a day, seven days a week, it was imperative that the implementation did not impact the live CRM system in any way. But, as CRM team lead Schnetzer confirms, the implementation went off without a hitch and availability levels in the new CRM system are “fantastic.” Another highlight is the integration with other front-end channels and third-party systems that allows the SAP HANA database to be supplied with data from a non-SAP data warehouse.

Quick and Simple Data Crunching

HSE24 went live with SAP Audience Discovery and Targeting in June 2014. One year later, the benefits were immediately obvious. Not only can the marketing department now autonomously identify and segment customer groups in the blink of an eye, but it can also personalize the company’s newsletter according to different customer criteria, such as his or her purchase history. Existing customer data can be used as a basis for deciding which customers are likely to respond positively to certain flyers and mailings. Overall, customers can be segmented according to 40 different criteria. And address and order data can be accessed from the in-memory SAP HANA database.

What of HSE24’s employees? What’s their take on the new solution? Schnetzer reports that the mood of his colleagues in the marketing department is “enthusiastic” and that they are able to work effectively with the solution.

Image via HSE24

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