What can it be, this 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"
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.
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.