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Otto connects bricks and mortar retailers to online through omnichannel stock checker tool

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German consumers will be able to check product availability at local stores via online department store Otto through a new partnership.

Otto is working with shopping centre operator ECE to include product listings from the bricks and mortar retailers Marc O’Polo, myToys, RENO, SportScheck, Brax, and Ulla Popken.

The site will initially show availability for 20,000 products from the retailers. In the future, this will expand to allowing customers to reserve the products at physical stores, click and collect products or have them delivered from a store to the customer’s home.

The service is available to all retailers who operate shops at the 90 ECE centres in the country.

The goal is to boost offline sales at ECE shopping centres while allowing Otto to offer a greater assortment of products. Otto and ECE plan to build a wider platform that can connect ecommerce with physical stores, eventually encompassing other online retailers and stores outside the ECE footprint.

Alexander Birken, CEO of Otto, said: “With this ambitious connected commerce project, we are building a bridge between online and offline shopping for our customers.

“Together with ECE, we have the opportunity to partner with brick-and-mortar retailers and brands throughout Germany and integrate products from the single largest network of shopping centres in the country into the platform.

“In this context, the two companies already share common values through their shareholders in order to provide a genuine alternative for partners and customers.”

Alexander Otto, CEO of ECE, said: “The shopping experience of the future will take place both

online and offline.

“In this joint project, we are combining our knowledge from both worlds and enhancing brick-and-mortar retail by expanding its reach online. This is truly a remarkable pioneering project.

“In the process, we can draw on our long-standing partnerships with major retailers and our dense network of shopping centres as well as the omnichannel approach of our Digital Mall project.”

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