New Heidelberg Digital Unit boosts e-commerce business
Posted on 12 Jun 2018
New Heidelberg Digital Unit boosts e-commerce business
With the launch of the Heidelberg Digital Unit (HDU) Heidelberg is realigning its e-commerce and digital marketing activities and is on course to achieve its goal of establishing the print media industry’s leading digital ecosystem. The company’s exclusive partner for this initiative is IoT (Internet of Things) specialist iQ! GmbH based in Munich. iQ! will give the HDU rapid access to digital expertise and both e-commerce and big data know-how.

The HDU’s task is to create a single omnichannel platform that combines, harmonises, and coordinates the company’s various sales channels. The new digital unit also covers all marketing activities that focus on expanding and shaping the digital customer experience when initiating business and during ongoing customer contact. This means customers can expect consistent service across all functions at Heidelberg and advice on all products according to their specific needs. As well as expanding its e-commerce platform, Heidelberg will for its part benefit from efficiency gains when supplying consumables and services.

‘We founded the Heidelberg Digital Unit to create a platform that gives our customers the world’s leading digital ecosystem in the industry,’ said Professor Ulrich Hermann, member of the Management Board and Chief Digital Officer at Heidelberg. ‘In an initial step, customers can order and pay for all key consumables, services, spares, and wear parts required for print shop operation online on dedicated websites. We’ll gradually be extending the portfolio in the direction of our new digital business models such as the subscription model,’ he added.

The Smart Print Shop that Heidelberg has been offering its customers since drupa 2016 is based on extensive software integration and connection of installed equipment to the Heidelberg cloud. This also represents a shift in the focus of customer relations. The one-time sale alone is no longer the key factor, but rather maximising value added for customers over a lengthy period. This also means new sales and marketing requirements for Heidelberg together with segmentation and customisation options.

The machines connected via the cloud and the data/software expertise provided by Heidelberg lay the foundation for the HDU to offer customers continuous service and additional benefits for which they are prepared to pay. This is also a way of observing and analysing customer needs and satisfaction directly instead of relying on market research and customer surveys. In addition, using data and software not only to ascertain at any given time whether and how customers are benefiting from full capacity utilisation, but also to predict print shop operating statuses forms the basis of the new Heidelberg subscription model under which customers only pay for usage, that is to say the number of sheets printed.

Organisationally speaking, the HDU is a subsidiary of Heidelberg at the Wiesloch-Walldorf site. It takes the form of a digital start-up with a modern workspace in an old factory building and harnesses synergies with the company’s IT and software expertise at this site. Branches have already been established in China, the United States, and Asia. Heidelberg is looking to use the HDU to significantly increase its global e-commerce sales, which currently amount to €100 million. It is starting out with 50 employees and is set to grow quickly as e-commerce business increases. The digital start-up will also appeal to a new generation of employees with its state-of-the-art working environment.

Rainer Wiedmann, the owner and founder of iQ! GmbH, is in charge of the HDU and also Chief Marketing Officer at Heidelberg. ‘We see Heidelberg as being ideally placed to create the print media industry’s number one ecosystem. The company’s leading position on the global market and the executive management’s commitment to the digital transformation are key factors in this respect. We’re also contributing our experience from over 20 years of digital marketing, including the creation and operation of e-commerce platforms,’ he stressed.

For information about the HDU and its projects, go to Initial project results include a facelift of the Heidelberg website and preparations for the market launch of the Heidelberg Wallbox Home Eco charging device for electric vehicles.