From Historic Marketplace To Regional Online Marketplace: einfach-Heimat.de
With the successful re-launch of the regional online portal "einfach Heimat" a new local commerce initiative for north-west Germany by Niedersachsen Wasser Kooperations- und Dienstleistungsgesellschaft mbH with support from JaJuMa GmbH is available to its customers.
The local online marketplace was realized based on the online marketplace software JaJuMa-Market.
einfach Heimat stands out in the most positive way from many other local marketplace experiments.
The regional online marketplace einfach Heimat offers its visitors, based on the Online marketplace solution JaJuMa-Market diverse products and services from regional partners, free vouchers for experiences and products as well as knowledge about water and topics from the region. OOWV customers, as Germany's largest utility and disposal company in terms of area, also offer customers access to the OOWV's digital service account via single sign-on.
Read more below why einfach Heimat is a showcase project for digital transformation and how the project stands out from other regional / local online marketplaces.
From Historical Marketplace To Regional Online Marketplace
Historically, marketplaces were public infrastructure. Market law is the basis for urban growth and prosperity. But marketplaces were always about more than just selling goods: they were also places for services, exchange, and communication - the center of urban life. Cities and municipalities still find it difficult to provide this important infrastructure in the modern online world.
As a subsidiary of the infrastructure service provider OOWV, Niedersachsen Wasser Dienstleistungs- und Kooperationsgesellschaft mbH takes up this important task of digital transformation with the online portal "Einfach Heimat" and closes this supply gap for northwest Germany.
A Real "Lighthouse" Project
Not only geographically, "lighthouse" project is more than a suitable label for einfach Heimat.
The concept behind it also shows that the signs of the times have become just as understood as the fact that a successful online marketplace project takes more than another attempt to attract visitors with a simple "online shop window" without an eCommerce function or to attract customers from established marketplace customers as another "Amazon clone".
Instead, einfach Heimat presents itself with a wide range and a convincing concept from which customers benefit as well as the local economy, including trade, gastronomy and tourism. As a result, the platform stands out from most other attempts in Local Commerce and offers its customers and the region real added value.
Thanks to the flexibility of the marketplace software JaJuMa-Market as well as our long-term experience with developing online marketplaces, every idea and every wish of the makers behind einfach Heimat could be easily implemented. Regardless of whether design requirements, optimization with regard to usability and user guidance, 3rd party integrations, flexible catalog structure, one-click / instant checkout for free vouchers, extensive map displays including routing function, various performance optimizations, and much more, also technically the portal is state-of-the-art in every aspect. With JaJuMa-Market, the project uses the solid and investment-safe basis that it needs in order to be able to implement additional functionalities and services in the future and to stay up to date at all times.
Regional Product Range
What would a regional online marketplace be without the opportunity to buy and sell products directly on the platform?
Regional dealers and producers have the opportunity to present their products in an attractive environment on “einfach Heimat” of course also for sale. With Magento as the basis for the online marketplace, customers are offered a state-of-the-art online shopping experience with comprehensive information, various search and filter options and the option of ordering products directly online using various payment methods. Of course, mixed shopping baskets are also supported for orders from several retailers with just one payment process.
All products are displayed on category pages as well as detail pages with map views and product location as well as the option for customers to view the route to the product.
No question about it, selling products is the central element of any online marketplace. But it is not enough to differentiate yourself from established e-commerce players and to successfully position yourself as a regional online marketplace that offers customers and visitors real added value.
Marketing Channel For Local Businesses
In addition to products, visitors to “einfach Heimat” will also find vouchers for discounts and exclusive advantages for regional products, services, and experiences.
Registered customers can download vouchers for free and conveniently with 1-Click / Instant Checkout.
For the regional partners of “einfach Heimat”, these vouchers offer an additional marketing channel to increase their own awareness and win new customers.
For einfach Heimat, partners are not only retailers who sell their products but have defined 5 roles for partners: marketplace partners, voucher partners, partners where everyone can fill their bottle with drinking water free of charge or where bottled water is offered as an alternative to drinks as well as sights.
Vouchers, for which the same geo-location and map functionalities are available as for products, function on the one hand as an opportunity for other businesses than just retail to be present on the platform and to advertise themselves and on the other hand as Way to offer customers an even wider range of services and to introduce them to interesting opportunities to get to know their homeland.
Mobile Drinking Water & POIs
The fact that home is not just a part of the name, but an important part of the strategy of the regional online marketplace is also evident from the information on offer on the topics of "drinking water" and "worth seeing". Numerous partners will be presented, with whom anyone can fill up their drinking bottle free of charge, gastronomy offers table water as a drink alternative on the menu, and sights of the region
The added value is obvious, customers, tourists, and "day-trippers" have the opportunity to discover new locations and rediscover the country and home. This means that gastronomy and tourism in the region can also benefit from the new online regional portal as additional branches of the economy.
This also shows the attention to detail that was put into the project and the strong focus on usability and user guidance with which the individual functions were designed. With a particular focus on the target group of tourists and "day-trippers", the mobile version with "thumb navigation" has been optimized for convenient operation on mobile devices and, when calculating routes, options for travel by bus/train, bicycle, or even for hikers taken into account by foot.
RoPo - "Research Online - Purchase Offline"
The fact that for einfach Heimat online sales is only one of several pillars and strategic goals has already become clear from the services described so far.
The already mentioned map functionalities for products, vouchers, and partners were also integrated with a view to the so-called RoPo effect (“Research Online - Purchase Offline”). This lowers the threshold for the RoPo effect and makes it as easy as possible for customers to find the location of a product or service and how to get there. In this way, the online marketplace "einfach Heimat" also makes its offline contribution to strengthening local businesses and tourism - a contribution that should not be underestimated that no online marketplace, that claims to be a local/regional infrastructure or service, can ignore.
Because precisely here lies a key option to differentiate oneself from a "normal" online marketplace and to make the difference compared to pure "Amazon clones", the understanding of not just being a simple trading platform, but the infrastructure, the focus on the local, the region or, as the project name puts it so perfectly, home, as a central element of the overall strategy.
"Content is King" - everyone in the online business probably knows this central SEO motto. Without SEO and without getting visitors to the site via search engine, hardly any online business would work. It goes without saying that this point was also taken into account when it came to “einfach Heimat”. Following a consistent implementation of your own strategy and orientation, not without losing sight of what your own brand stands for: "Home" and "Water", the core business of the OOWV and operator of the platform are also in the "Knowledge" area Focus. In numerous articles, visitors are provided with interesting, exciting and new information about the region and the topic of water. There is something for everyone here, for entertainment - but also to discover new things.
Service - Digital Service Account For Water Customers
The transformation of the previous into the new world can be found in "einfach Heimat", last but not least, in the "Service" area. This area allows OOWV customers to access the OOWV's digital service account via the portal via single sign-on, to conveniently transmit meter readings, change discounts, check consumption and manage their account data.
The opportunities and the potential of local online marketplaces are huge.
Regardless of this, every city or region should be aware that nowadays not only a large part of economic life takes place online, but also the other functions that were previously performed by the classic marketplace as a city center have long since moved to the online world.
It is time for cities and regions to become aware of the task to create a counterpart to the historical marketplace online.
Sales And Profitability Alone Are Not Enough To Measure The Success Of Local Online Marketplaces
Important knowledge for the design of a successful regional or local online marketplace must be:
The sale of products, i.e. turnover and profitability, must not be the sole strategic goal and not the sole criterion for measuring success.
A local online marketplace that measures its success solely in terms of sales will sooner or later fail. You will never achieve the breadth and attractiveness of the product range on a local online marketplace and you will not be able to muster the necessary marketing power to compete with national or even global competitors over the long term. A regional online marketplace has to offer more, just like the historical model of the urban marketplace.
Local Online Marketplaces = Local Infrastructure
In order to be successful in the long term, a local online marketplace must see itself as an infrastructure, accept the associated tasks and offer more than just the sale of products.
And: He must also see himself as the "face" of his "home", a place where the target group really feels at home. This goal will not be attainable only with the sale of products. Product ranges do not or hardly differ from region to region or from city to city. A regional online marketplace that only pursues this goal is interchangeable, the differentiation from global competition that would be necessary for successful operation is missing.
In short: Local online marketplaces must offer more than just products and need "local flair".
einfach Heimat - a prime example of a successful concept for a local online marketplace
Based on the comprehensive range of services on einfach Heimat it becomes clear that this knowledge has been taken to heart from the start and the concept for the online portal has been aligned and implemented in an exemplary manner.
The OOWV, operator of the portal and classic infrastructure provider, has placed its homeland in the focus of the project from the start, and not just when it comes to naming. The sale of products, i.e. the e-commerce functionality, is certainly an important pillar for einfach Heimat. However, this was consistently supplemented by further services that do not contribute directly to the profitability of the project in the form of sales. But ultimately, offer the people and other branches of the economy in the region added value. It goes without saying that one of the goals of these expanded services is to promote acceptance for the local online marketplace and to attract more visitors to the portal. Which, in turn, will benefit sales and thus come full circle.