December 18, 2019

What can it be, this loadbee?

Loadbee product services (source: Loadbee)
To be or not to be: Retailers must decide (source: Loadbee)
Today's trade has become so technical that one often wonders if it has now become a province for nerds only. It is therefore refreshing that founder & CEO Christian Junker doesn't strike out into Aramaic when discussing the merits of German start-up loadbee.

The idea behind this Swabian company seems savvy enough. Loadbee provides brands with the software to display their products on retailer web shops.

A mere glance at many of these will confirm that products are often sold in a way that does little credit to either manufacturer or retailer. Meanwhile online customers just have to grin and bear it. So there is clearly a need for more elegant presentation in cyberspace.

But why can't either the retailer or the manufacturer just do it themselves? Junker insists they need a middle-man...

The company already boasts a customer base of more than 300 brands, including such stalwarts as Miele, Kenwood, Nintendo or Philips.

Loadbee also claims 1,200 retail clients in over 40 countries, numbering German electronics retailers Saturn, Media-Markt, Conrad and Expert as well as online catalogue retailer Otto among their ranks. In all, Loadbee says it reaches around 700,000 end consumers per day.

Last week Pieter Haas, former CEO of German electronics retail giant Ceconomy, joined Loadbee's advisory board. He is also an investor in the company.

Haas stresses that loadbee software can dramatically grow the so-called conversion rate, i.e. transforming customers who click into customers who pay. He points to an A/B test (split-run test) by Munich-based domestic appliances manufacturer BSH showing "an increase of up to 25 per cent".

"Gaining a window on the consumer"

Christian Junker, Gründer & CEO, loadbee (photo: Loadbee)
Christian Junker (photo: Loadbee)
Herr Junker, what type of an online animal is loadbee?
Loadbee is an online link between brand manufacturers and retailers, providing brands with a direct sales channel to consumers. We create a technical platform for manufacturers where they can display rich content (text, pictures, videos, cartoons) on retailer websites.

In other words, our software enables brands to show any kind of product-related content and to gain a window on the consumer. They curate and update their own content, which also gives them access to how customers interact with it.

Online channels are all very well, but isn't there still such a thing as bricks & mortar retail?
Of course. Retail uses many paths-to-customer, which is why content must be available everywhere in a consistent way and not just in an online shop. 

Loadbee can also make a major contribution to bricks & mortar sales. Staff need only scan a barcode or a Near Field Communication tag on the appropriate shop shelf to receive all the information they need for a customer sales talk on their mobile phone or tablet PCs. Customers obviously have the same option.

Displays with integrated scanners can also be placed in shops, where both customers and staff can obtain any product information they may need directly from the brand manufacturer. German vacuum cleaner specialist Kärcher, for instance, has been very successful testing this service in their showrooms and at trade shows.

Brand manufacturers have already used this idea at trade fairs. So loadbee may be a digital product, but it can be used in a multi-channel way.

How big is your potential market?
We are talking about nothing less than the digital marketing budget of brand manufacturers across every type of product group.

Can loadbee provide brands with any extra data insight and, if so, how?
It's part of our business model to provide manufacturers with both analysis and statistics, as long as this does not contravene personal data protection law. Brands can, for example, see when and on what retail site customers look at their products. They can also see the country and the device the customer uses.

This enables manufacturers to optimize their content and the way they display their goods on each different retail channel.

We also track how many times product profiles are clicked. But we don't provide manufacturers with retailer-specific information such as basket sizes. Here we keep to a simple formula: Brands provide product content and get feedback on the same. All the other insights belong to the retailer because, at the end of the day, it's his webshop.

Why can't retailers do this for themselves? What's stopping them using their stores for their own marketing? And why can't they put brand content on their own web shops?
I'd ask an alternative question: Why should retailers invest in such software when they have a reliable and attractive partner in loadbee? After all, we already have a lot of brand customers who use us to display their content.

Obviously there are some retailers who create their own online spaces or who employ an external marketing company. But we can provide even these retailers with an additional source of income by bringing them additional content.

Furthermore, one mustn't forget that retailers and manufacturers use very varied systems to create and curate their product data. Loadbee solves the problems created by these often incompatible systems. It's also much more attractive for manufacturers when they can sell through several retail partners using one single platform.

If every retailer built his own rich content platform, there would be little advantage in using loadbee, but this is not the case. In reality, loadbee unifies and simplifies a systems world with many different technologies.

Lebensmittel Zeitung with its online sisters (photo: LZ)
photo: LZ
Our German retail B2B newspaper, Lebensmittel Zeitung, in print & digital
Mike Dawson, international editor, Lebensmittel Zeitung

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2 Comments (Write a comment)

  1. Tim
    Created 18 December, 2019 13:09 | Permanent link

    More questions than answers

    Hmm. Nice idea but.
    Why no women on the advisory board?
    Why no Gen Z in evidence?
    Why does the video explaining loadbee have no content?
    Why is there no search device for the website?
    Where is the Chinese page?
    Where are QR codes?
    Sadly more questions than answers.

  2. Lars Braach, Head of Marketing, loadbee
    Created 23 December, 2019 15:21 | Permanent link

    May we answer your questions?

    Thanks for your comments, Tim. We would reply as follows:

    "Why are there no women on the advisory board?"
    We constantly try to contact top managers from both industry and retail. As a start-up we pursue every potential lead. Unfortunately, to date, we haven't found suitable female candidates for our advisory board. Of course, the recruitment process is the same as for male advisory board members. We'd obviously be delighted if a woman in a leading position from retail or industry was interested in joining our advisory board.

    "Why no Gen Z in evidence?"
    Since we're a mediator between brands and retail, we need employees with substantial professional experience in trade or industry for most positions. Wherever possible, we develop young talent ourselves. But we obviously need experienced team members first in order to train up young talent.

    Please also don't forget that there is a very tough recruitment market for young talent in Stuttgart where we compete with such top companies as Daimler, Bosch, Porsche and Mahle. We believe, however, that our management & human resources team is doing a good job at finding the right mix of young talent and experienced professionals.

    Incidentally, the average age of our team is 32 (compared with a German corporate average of 44), and we have young people in our so-called "drivers" team and in a variety of responsible positions.

    "Why does the video explaining loadbee have no content?"
    There would seem to be a slight misunderstanding here. We do have a lot of content from different brands on our platform. However, we don't create this content ourselves as we believe that manufacturers are the best source of quality content for their own products. The loadbee platform merely allows industry and retail partners to offer comprehensive product information to the end-consumer.

    Or have we misunderstood your question and you are referring to a video you've found with no content? Thanks for letting us know. We need to check this on our website.

    "Why is there no search device for the website?"
    Thank you for pointing this out. We're currently working on a new website where we intend to integrate an on-page search function.

    "Where is the Chinese page?"
    We started in Germany, but are growing massively in Europe. We haven't yet integrated all the languages we would ideally like to support. We're grateful for the trust that our partners in retail and industry place in us and that many of them would like a global rollout using our software.

    This is an amazing result, and we should like to use this occasion to thank all our wonderful customers for making this success possible. Obviously we hope that we'll also be able to gain a foothold in Asia, the USA and Australia/New Zealand faster than we had originally planned.

    "Where are the QR codes? "
    QR codes can be integrated at any time, but it's the decision of the brand or the retailer. loadbee advises clients to use QR codes in bricks & mortar retailing or at trade fairs in order to offer consistent product information in all marketing channels via our company.

    "Sadly more questions than answers."
    We hope we've answered your questions fully, but please don't hesitate to contact us at, should you want a more detailed reply.

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