20 October 2020
Radical events often trigger transformation processes - a new kind of forced disruption. Almost everyone has made more online purchases in recent months than before. Online sales benefit - stationary sales suffer, although both have their advantages for customers. The combination of both worlds makes sense. However, webshops have to comply with a tangle of legal requirements; effective shops with connected logistics are expensive and cannot be created overnight. Stationary shops, on the other hand, lack customers, but they have warehouses and could advise customers quickly and closely, deliver and take back products, and provide after sales services. Thus, a combination of both platforms might be a good idea.
Legal issues relate to: E-commerce requirements, data protection, geo-blocking, P2B platform requirements, restrictions of online distribution relevant to antitrust law and other restrictions of competition, as well as general questions of distribution law (commercial agents, distributors, franchise, etc.).
The pandemic has of course had an impact on online sales, and there was a sharp drop in the beginning. Besides negative effects, especially at the beginning of the crisis, there are nevertheless positive effects. Stationary retail chains, for example, increased their online sales2, but were not able to compensate for the stationary losses; the winners were likely the Internet Pure Players3. Retail stores are closing everywhere – even stores of large chains with online offers.
Nevertheless, the future most likely lies in the combination of online and offline sales because the changed consumer behaviour developed during the Corona crisis will definitely continue.
Recently, a Bitcom study has shown that there is a regionalisation in online commerce. In addition, the Corona situation has led to an even stronger desire for cashless or even contactless payment. A targeted use of smartphones in shops (as it is now common in restaurants) is also a logical step. There are thus enough drivers for the symbiosis.
The legal issues relate to: E-commerce requirements, data protection, geo-blocking (the 2018 EU Regulation), P2B (the new platform requirements since 12 July 2020), permissible restrictions on online distribution, and general questions of distribution law (commercial agents, distributors, franchise, etc.).
Of course, there are also significant questions regarding the combination of online and offline sales. Furthermore, a primary concern is how to maintain channel excellence.