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Otto and ECE combine offline and online shopping

Online retailer Otto and shopping center operator ECE have formed joint venture Stocksquare to link offline and online shopping. The goal is to boost offline sales at ECE shopping centers and to expand Otto’s online assortment.

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It’s no surprise Otto.de and ECE are partnering: the two major German companies are both part of the Otto Group. ECE was founded in 1965 by Werner Otto, who also started mail-order company Otto in 1949.

Stocksquare

In order to better connect online and offline retail, the two companies have founded a joint venture called Stocksquare. This new company integrates the store networks of brick-and-mortar retailers with the Otto.de platform. Stocksquare makes it possible for consumers to reserve something online before picking them up at the center or to purchase something online and then have it delivered from the shopping center to their homes on the very same day.

Available in all ECE shopping centers

For now, the new services will be available to the complete store networks of retailers who run shops in one of the about 90 ECE shopping centers across Germany. The project is launching with retailers like Marc O’Polo, Reno and Ulla Popken already on board.

Same-day delivery across Germany is planned

Aside from the cross-channel link between brick-and-mortar retail and ecommerce, the two Otto Group subsidiaries are also planning to launch additional services such as nationwide same-day delivery.

‘In the future, shopping happens both online and offline’

CEO Alexander Otto explains the move by saying the shopping experience of the future will take place both online and offline. “We are combining our knowledge from both worlds and enhancing brick-and-mortar retail by expanding its reach online. This is truly a remarkable pioneering project. In the process, we can draw on our long-standing partnerships with major retailers and our dense network of shopping centers as well as the omnichannel approach of our Digital Mall project.”

During the first part of the project, customers can check Otto.de to see if an item is available at a nearby store. The ecommerce website currently shows local product availability for around 20,000 products. More items, stores and partners will be added over time.

More stores and online platforms can connect

The concept is designed to not only list stores that are located in ECE shopping center, but it will also include products at other stores as well. And it will also be able to connect with other online platforms in the future.

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