Stefan Hamann, CEO
What does your company do?
Shopware’s trendsetting ecommerce software provides retailers with the technology to build their own site, not just as a sales platform but
as a place to inspire, ignite personality and create meaningful, personalised interactions with shoppers. Gone are the days of bland, uniform online shops. Retailers, from small merchants to enterprise level, can utilise Shopware’s open source technology to build inspirational, emotionally-appealing shopping environments. All of this, combined with the advanced technology behind Shopware 5 which has been continually developed over the past 15 years, offers the perfect symbiosis of beauty and brains you need in a modern ecommerce platform.
What is your USP?
Our short time to market is especially appealing for some retailers. The software is also easy to customize and can be seamlessly integrated into existing processes, plus migrating from an outdated system to Shopware is possible by means of a free plugin. To meet the needs of different customers, we offer comprehensive support options and a competitive price structure. Out of the box, Shopware provides retailers with a broad range of marketing features. As a forward-thinking company, we’re keen on utilizing the latest technologies. At the end of last year, Shopware became the first PHP-based system to be compatible with PHP-7.
What new functionality does the latest version of your system give to retailers?
With our latest software release, we wanted to give retailers more opportunities to represent their brand and stand out from the competition. That’s why we introduced features such as “Storytelling”, which empowers retailers with the ability to create more emotional, content-rich shopping experiences. The fully responsive design seamlessly carries the shopping experience across every device.
Shopware 5.1, also has a new marketing functionality that allows shop owners to implement and combine diverse promotion campaigns in their shops.
When did you start the company and why?
Back in 2000, when I was only 16 years old, I founded the company as a classic web agency, so creating mostly website and flyers. That was until 2004, when I received my first customer request for an online shop. After programming their webshop, I offered the software as a standard solution, because at the time there was nothing else like it on the market. The company went from a kid programming out of his parent’s house to a company of over 100 employees, and with more than 54,000 customers, we are the market leader in Germany.
How would you describe your vision?
I have a clear goal in mind: I want Shopware to be the leading provider of ecommerce solutions. With our brand values, “open, authentic, visionary”, Shopware is pursuing a mission to revolutionize digital trade and create trendsetting ecommerce solutions for our global community. With our open source philosophy, Shopware exercises and encourages openness and transparency in all products and processes and works very closely with our Community.
What is your market positioning and what gap are you filling amongst the UK competition?
Shopware has a very clear company philosophy: we strive for transparency and value proximity to our customers and partners. Everyone benefits from open paths of communication; we are able to hear and more quickly implement the feedback from our customers and partners, and they receive direct manufacturer support.
Our 16 years’ experience in the market shows we can be trusted, plus our open roadmap allows you to see exactly where we are heading in the future. You will never wait more than a few months for a new release, and we consistently improve our software to meet the increasing demands of ecommerce while also finding a way to transform the market, for instance, with more inspiring shopping experiences.
So now we are looking to build our network – of technology providers, partners and customers – who are also interested in improving ecommerce for years to come.
Who are your customers?
Several enterprise projects are currently being implemented in the UK. These include Richer Sounds, Perfect Home and Hughes. Shops such as Discovery Channel UK have already been live for months. By the end of the year, we expect 20 new Shopware projects will be launched in the United Kingdom.
Elsewhere, major brands such as L’Oréal, Vitra, Mattel and Euronics are using Shopware, and lately our enterprise segment has been growing particularly fast.
What do you see as challenges for retailers and suppliers to the industry in the coming year and what are you doing to meeting those challenges?
In the future, the consumer will be even more in the foreground. Since their behaviour is actively changing the market, the software’s flexibility and short time to market will become increasingly decisive so that untapped or new sales channels can be exploited as soon as possible. We also believe the slogan “Community driven” is becoming increasingly important for incorporating feedback, ideas and innovative potential directly from the Community. We face these challenges with a transparent roadmap and strong involvement from our Community. Additionally, we invest nearly 20% of our annual profits in research and development in order to continue providing relevant solutions that meet the demands of the future.
We are currently developing “Shopware Connect”, which is a solution that networks retailers and allows them to exchange products with one another by means of dropshipping. We’re also focusing on the needs of the B2B segment, such as merchant integration, the creating of marketplaces, rights and role assignment and much more. Our customers can expect a great deal from us in the future.