Otto unveils Collins, its vast open commerce project
Otto certainly built the suspense. The German mail order giant has been preparing a new e-commerce platform under the code name Collins for the past year, hoping to attract younger customers. It has just unveiled three sites in Germany meant to gain traction at least in Europe: Aboutyou for 20 to 40 year-olds, Edited for the 15-20 crowd, and Sister Surprise for lingerie and beachwear.
A digital revolution is at work behind the three online stores, according to Benjamin Otto, Collins CEO and family heir. The company’s teams, led by the 25 year-old technology specialist in new technologies, Tarek Müllers, have developed an innovative open commerce platform. The platform - and especially Aboutyou - is primed for 3rd party input.
Retailers, IT companies and brands are able to contribute ideas in terms of applications or fashion content and guidance. The Munich brand Jamie Jacobs, for example, offers customizable footwear. You & Idol is an application to monitor the wardrobes of VIPs, not necessarily information available elsewhere. And one can’t forget fashion horoscopes.
E-shoppers can also create profiles in order to monitor brands that match their "style" or those of their friends. Aboutyou integrates an online store, social network and slew of applications.
The group has invested over 100 million euros in the open-commerce project. “The best ideas come to life not solely in a company alone, but often by working with individual creative minds, with which we can open up a new dimension for online trading," said Tarek Müller.
The online version may continue to evolve as the official public release is planned for fall. Aboutyou already offers 50,000 clothes, shoes and accessories, but the platform hopes to evolve through 3rd party collaboration.
During its last fiscal year ending on February 28, Otto Group saw its online sales grow by 7.6%, topping the 6 billion euro mark.
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