5 Minutes With Wiljo Krechting, Manager Public Relations, Shopware

Congrats on the launch of Shopware 6! How does it feel to have this out in the world?

Thank you. I think I am speaking on behalf of the entire team when I say that it feels great to have released an amazing new ecommerce platform in its early access version. With Shopware 6, we are walking on a long road that is leading us into the future. By now, we have been working on Shopware 6 for over 3 years as a company, but special thanks also go to our community that has helped with the development and constantly provided us with invaluable feedback. It is great to see that even after this short amount of time since the release, Shopware 6 is receiving such a positive reaction from within the industry.

Tell me about Shopware 6. What makes it different to previous software generations?

Shopware 6 is our answer to an increasingly complex world where connectivity and technology are rapidly advancing – and it becomes all the more important people remain at the heart of these developments. Shopware 6 is a complete rewrite of previous Shopware versions, containing every improvement that we had always wanted to implement into the system. Shopware 6 is built on an entirely new technical basis and has been developed from scratch following an approach that allows the implementation of any conceivable form of ecommerce project. Focussing on maximum freedom through automation and networking, Shopware has effectively evolved from a “shop system” to a comprehensive “ecommerce system”. We want to provide retailers with a platform that acts as a technological hotbed for diverse business strategies and open up previously untapped growth opportunities.

In what ways is Shopware different to other products in the same market?

Next to its extreme flexibility, extensibility and the high number of functionalities that come in the standard version, Shopware has the lowest total cost of ownership on the market. One of the company’s biggest advantages is that we are 100% equity-financed. We make our own decisions, are able to act independently and adapt quickly to the needs of our customers.

Why should retailers invest in Shopware? What benefits will they reap from it?

The idea of maximum flexibility and the intention of preparing retailers for future challenges has been our goal from the beginning, which is also underlined by our product claim “Your freedom to grow”. People evolve and change their behaviour. It’s the same people that decide which products stand the test of time. In a world of rapidly increasing complexity, simple solutions for complex problems point the way to success. That’s why we provide our retailers with more flexibility and opportunities for growth on different levels, whilst simultaneously reducing complexity as much as possible.

What are some of the perks of investing in Shopware – specifically Shopware 6?

Shopware 6 offers many new functions that simplify sales processes. Among these are the “Shopping Experiences” feature, which – in a similar fashion to brick and mortar stores – place inspirational shopping at the centre of the online retail experience. Shopping Experiences allow for virtually any content page of the online shop to be customised, and that applies to all sales channels. This opens up boundless options for implementing product detail pages, landing pages, blogs, shop pages, etc. Working with Shopping Experiences is simple and intuitive, even allowing retailers with less design expertise to effectively combine content and commerce. A large selection of standard templates (content blocks such as product boxes, videos, social media feeds, and text blocks) are available for retailers to set up their own pages. Retailers can also easily control the content that is played out on the various sales channels. This, combined with the simplicity and various customisation options, provide Shopware retailers with a large degree of freedom. With Shopware 6, the boundaries between content and commerce are broken, so that shopping experiences are seamlessly charged with emotions.

For a business model to thrive, the software should be based on the business’s own processes, rather than the other way around. This is why Shopware has created a new “Rule Builder”. The Rule Builder allows the software to map individual business models, as the functionality enables retailers to define their own rules and conditions on the basis of all available data in the shop. “Discounts based on weekdays”, “Free shipping according to customer type”, “Payment method depending on product category” are just a few examples of dependencies that retailers can define. The ‘configuration over coding’ principle was applied during the development. Retailers should be able to customise Shopware to fit their processes, without needing any specialised development knowledge. The new “Discounts & promotions” feature can also be configured with the Rule Builder. This function makes it easy to implement a multitude of promotional discount campaigns directly in the Shopware standard, e.g. percentage discounts, free items, “3 for 2” campaigns, etc. Moreover, a completely new variant system was developed, making it even easier for retailers to present product variants of any complexity.

What’s your role in the launch of Shopware 6? How has it been for you?

As Manager Public Relations I am located in the marketing department, and we are therefore very busy at the moment considering we are involved in every step of the launch strategy. Our work started back in 2018 with defining the new product claims and setting up the media release strategy, but the real work only begins now as the product is available. It is very fascinating to see how well Shopware 6 is being perceived, although we are still in a very early phase.

How long have you been with Shopware? How much has the company changed since you joined?

I have been with Shopware for more than 8 years now. The day I started we were 15 people in the entire company and the Marketing/PR department consisted of 1 person: myself. Back then, we had 6,000 customers. After a truly amazing growth story, Shopware now employs more than 200 ecommerce enthusiasts who work together from a modern campus in our hometown. Currently, over 100,000 customers are using Shopware, among them some of the biggest brands in Europe. Moreover, we can now rely on a great network of over 1,200 agencies across Europe and a community of a couple of hundred thousand members.

What got you into retail? Why ecommerce specifically?

Ecommerce still is a comparatively young industry and consists of people from many different backgrounds. Same here! I originally was a newspaper journalist, working for some of the most influential German and Australian papers. The newspaper business was (and still is) tough, sinking circulations and therefore decreasing turnover of classical media corporations result in less eagerness to experiment and tense situations. I had finally reached a point at which I was fed up and decided to join an emerging company with massive innovative potential. And so I joined Shopware.

Is ecommerce the future of retail?

Of course neither of us have a crystal ball. What I can say from my point of view is that ecommerce will be playing a major role in future retail. But we should not think that the classic brick and mortar stores are bound to be extinctic one day. Instead, online and offline retail will coexist and merge wherever possible.

What role do you think Shopware will play in the future of retail?

Definitely a big one. Especially Shopware 6, due to its headless approach, is designed for the use in every imaginable ecommerce scenario. Only 15 years ago, we didn’t know how we would shop today and the same thing counts for the years ahead of us. What we know is that with Shopware 6, retailers are prepared for whatever may come.

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