If, in the run-up to Christmas, the wish lists are being written, these go typically the Santa Claus. But the gifts that come with a high probability of Ralf glue. He is the head of Amazon Germany, and has been working for 19 years in the organization. Glue began Online trading revamp, as the Germans purchased with 56K Modems on the living room PC. In the meantime, the Internet is in every pocket. In an interview with the star of the Amazon-Germany-speaks-in-chief about German peculiarities, the work situation in the logistics centres, sustainability, Online retail, and about whether or not Amazon is about to open in the inner cities branches.
Mr glue, Amazon is celebrating its 20th anniversary. Birthday in Germany. Since the age of 19, you. Do you remember your first day?
Ralf Kleber: I came from the fashion Label Escada, and everyone has asked me why I want to sell books. Amazon it was just six months, in my office, Ikea was a pile of packages, and my first day I spent on the knees, around the Desk together. That was a real Start-up.
With a clear goal.
We wanted to facilitate customers shopping on the Internet. Whether and how this works, we have found out over the years. At that time there were only a couple of million Internet connections in Germany. With 56k. Not A Flat Rate.
Today we’re online around the clock. How has changed the ordering behavior?
About the time of day and seasons of the year, nothing has changed. But of course the frequency. Previously, you ordered only on the PC that was installed in the labour room or in the office. Today, everyone has to be Amazon in the pocket.
Amazon comes from the United States. Developed in the 20 years of German characteristics?
It always looks so very Special, but to be honest, people want almost the Same everywhere. A great selection and attractive prices. Within each country there is a maximum preference in terms of payment habits. The famous purchase on account is about a German speciality.
The logistical realities are quite different than in the US.
In Germany, 80 million people living on a relatively small area. Therefore, there are different expectations in terms of delivery speed: in this Country, the expectation from the beginning were very high. The customers have already asked for at least two days, if your package arrives.
The Germans are so impatient.
The logistics center in Bad Hersfeld, it takes four hours to Hamburg or Munich. Therefore, German customers expect a higher speed than someone who lives in Seattle and knows that the logistics centre in Washington. There’s a delivery take four, five days. Therefore, I would not call this necessarily impatient. We call it the expectation of glad.
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Since box we talk all about logistics: In the last few months, more and more customers discovered an orange card in the letter. The package came from “Amazon Logistics”. Amazon is more and more frequently, even his packages. Do you want to make yourself more independent of DHL, Hermes and DPD?
Online market is growing, fortunately. In the first step, one therefore needs additional capacity. And in the second it creates proximity to the customer also again a different level of learning. In particular, what you are doing, you can better understand what is the customer at the time of delivery is important and how you can further optimize.
you say, it comes to additional capacity. That is – to put it loosely – DHL and co. do not develop as quickly as you would like it to be?
I think, for many, is a growth field. The Online share of the total trading volume in Germany is ten percent. There’s a lot of air is still to the top. Accordingly, all of the need to expand their capacity and invest in. And certainly we want to be in the Segment with their own investments.
There is additional capacity, and, above all, flexibility in delivery. The delivery process is one of the most important points of contact with the customer, because we want to be there and learn.
Were there any challenges that you didn’t expect?
We want the package adapts to the life of the customers and not the customer to the path of the package. At the Moment, you need to be somewhere, to take the package. You still have a lot of to rare the possibility of the package in the course of your day.
Amazon Fresh, you can choose the delivery in two hours exactly. Why does this not with the classic package?
In the case of deliveries with Prime Now, you can do just that, in isolated cases, to an hour. But it is not yet widely available. Let’s take a brief look: in 1999, it was on the website “will be shipped in 24 hours”. At the time, we were not able to say when the package arrives. It is for the customer is the Ultimate.
However, I have to spend in 2018 is still my Saturday morning in the queue of the post office, because I was not encountered during the week during the day. Why is this not better?
This has already changed massively.
The snakes are felt to become longer, because a lot more people in the network order.
no, you may not see a negative impact. It gave all Involved a lot of improvements. But of course there are delivery attempts that fail. We are working on that.
you stress again and again that delivery on the same day and evening delivery to arrive with the customers. You mentioned: the flexibility is at the end of the package offered, the need to deliver more in the evening hours and even more stressed.
First of all, the export times are all day the same. For the driver the work is the same, whether in the morning or at noon. If we are on the last mile on the road, you can choose to make a second delivery attempt. I need to offer this service. Therefore, we necessarily belong to the last Ma hurry. It is only there that we learn what is like what time is important for the customer.
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there Are Alternatives to the traditional delivery to the door?
We already have the Locker, a kind of Amazon pickup station. The delivery in the trunk, there is not in Germany yet, nor is the service behind the door. Customers should use, Amazon may deliver guaranteed on the first try. Then you need never queue again! And the technology works flawlessly.
you speak of Amazon Key. This is a special castle, with the the courier arrives in the apartment, there to the package. He is monitored by a camera. Do you believe that is accepted in Germany? Data protection and privacy are particularly high in the course.
Our customers have evolved, just as we are. And it is good that the Germans have very high expectations. But to be honest, The technique is extremely practical. And I wonder where the Problem is. The deliverer provides a package behind the door, he makes nothing else. And I can watch him doing this.
Nevertheless, a fairly radical step.
Clearly, it is something New. But there are many people who do not stigmatize progress immediately, but just give it a try. If something works, it will prevail.
If you the last mile, i.e. the direct delivery is so important, why have you then not have its own fleet?
We rely on different models. And, as I said, We are still at the very beginning and look at what the future will bring.
In the USA also to subcontractors, who ship on your behalf. The need to move out for their flexibility more and more often in the evening.
working hours are clearly defined.
that is, it is a matter of the Partner?
Yes and no. We require all partners in a fair conditions for employees, such as in the case of the payment.
at Christmas time, they are dependent on seasonal workers. 2013 there was a scandal a temporary employment company, the has Amazon for all of its logistics centers in Germany, thousands of workers from all over Europe. They promised improvement. You are now to where you want to go?
We are definitely going to be a good employer. We kilometers far from the minimum wage. In Winsen the entry-level hourly wage is, for example, LP held 11.37 Euro. After 24 months, he automatically rises to about 13.50 euros. We have in our locations, elected works councils and for our staff of life – and pension insurance. We have education and training programs. If you speak to the employment agencies, you will hear unanimously that Amazon is one of the most important links to people to introduce back-to-work. An employer, incidentally, is never perfect. There is always something to improve, and that’s what we do. With us, all salaried employees get shares and be involved in the company’s success. Also the colleagues in the shipping. Ten years ago, this concept was still largely unknown in Germany.
improved seasonal workers something?
at that Time have been stylized a lot of things are extremely high. Who supported us in the Christmas season, gets the same wage, we treat the seasonal workers fair. In Essence, has changed the mood of the employees nothing. The were ten years ago, motivated just as high as it is today. You are happy because you know that many of the packages that go through their hands, landing somewhere under the tree.
again and again there are allegations in the logistics centers of high pressure and every work is being supervised step.
these are allegations that I cannot understand. We put in the logistics, of course, to technology, to give a delivery promise. On the website it says: “Order in the next three hours, 58 minutes and receive your delivery today evening at 18 o’clock”. Therefore, there is a process that is defined, where the package must be, to live up to this promise. That should not work but, there is also a process that notifies the customer when a delivery is late.
so It’s not just about speed.
on The contrary. Speed is the enemy of logistics. Because of the speed, leads to errors and errors are the worst of it in logistics processes. You put the Wrong one in the package, it’s gone. It is necessary to structure processes beforehand. And a mechanical support that prevents the error to happen at all.
Sometimes the Wrong one is still in the package. We are the European Champions in the Return, no one can be for so many to go back as the Germans. What do you do to dampen the return kind of a little bit?
This is, interestingly, a question that has already appeared twenty years ago.
Better it has become since then, or?
However, it is even much better. We are convinced that a customer ordered something, it the kidneys to return. Therefore, we treat every return as a Defect. And not as a Defect by the customer, but us. We want to find out why the customer has made the return. There are some very specific things such as the wrong images on the website. For this we are responsible. We have to ensure that the Blue corresponds to the image of the Blue the item you are unpacking. Another example is Text-only descriptions are. If it is, a product has an eight-Meter-long cable and there are then only seven, then we have caused a Problem. And what is the customer doing right way? The sends us back the thing and says the cable was too short.
clothing is the matter likely to be significantly more complex.
If the client knew that his size is the actual size and clothing would be categorized piece and every Shoe, he would not order two things. He would make no return, and only the order of what he would actually keep.
What are you doing to change that? Zalathe ndo trying to follow up to find out whether the Shoe is less or greater.
That’s what we do, to save the customer the frustration. It will be in this range many innovations. In ten years we will send a hologram, and try on the shoes digital. Or they can be adapted to my foot. I’m not a futurologist, and don’t know what the future looks like. I don’t know is that the present looks like the past. And I’m going to assume that the future will look different than the present. And you will probably be better.
This is not a very steep Thesis.
Sometimes, you have to remember that it is the banal theses, which are received with high probability.
Many online retailers complain that the quality of the returns. The speech is supposedly unused ski jackets, in their pocket, a ski pass.
The vast majority of customers is extremely carefully with the goods. Therefore, a majority of the goods immediately goes back on sale or is in the Warehouse Deals as an open package marked more sold.
In the summer, the shipping method “Destroy” caused headlines. Several employees, according to Amazon EN masse to destroy the returned and new products on a large scale.
We are one of the companies that are extremely exemplary, which relates to the handling of goods. We try to bring everything back to the sale, through a variety of channels. There are Defects, then the product goes back to the manufacturer. In addition, we have been working for years with all non-profit organizations, for example, all of the panels. For us, food not to be thrown away when they expire soon, but go as often as possible to non-profit organizations.
according to The Reports, as well as Smartphones, and Tablets were destroyed, even refrigerators. That’s not true?
At the end of a chain, there is also a part that we can for various reasons not to continue with the exploit. But this is the part you want to minimize as a dealer, per se. Your business aim is not to Destroy the goods. Again: The largest part of the Goods goes on sale.
And will then be sent again via cardboard box through the whole of Germany. The cardboard shipping is to be sustainable?
in this area has done a lot of. Today, a much thinner cardboard. We have different forms of pass, in order to minimize the air in the package. We know the size of the boxes, and we know the size of the article and count how many liters of air we ship. We are constantly improving by introducing new packaging sizes. This is not only good for the environment also saves money. As a logistics provider, you want to send air. It’s a classic Win-Win.
What has changed?
twenty years Ago, would have been in a package of plastic or Chips for cushioning. We were the First in Germany to have introduced brown paper. And we were one of the First to be addressed together with the manufacturers, frustration-free packaging Because blister packaging, the shoplifting is to prevent, we do not need in the Online trading.
you Can’t omit the carton even?
In the case of some products, this is already the case. A vacuum cleaner or high pressure cleaner is packaged in a rule, since we don’t need a box. The manufacturer must agree to however. The customer can still choose an additional packaging, for example, if the article is supposed to be a gift for the man. I hope now, of course, that not all men get to Christmas, the high-pressure cleaner, but something Nice. But who is happy about it, don’t want to see what’s in the package.
How to Amazon the paper garbage
full of rubbish, The Recycling of waste paper is very time-consuming. An aggravating factor is the increasing share of boxes. Because no matter how often you recycled him and he will never back on white paper.
The brown cardboard box is again brown. And I need Yes again, brown cardboard box. In this respect, my cycle works.
This is exactly the point: It’s a different circuit. In reality, magazines and cardboard boxes end up in the same waste paper container. Both has to be laboriously separated, the costs of water, energy and time. In Fresh supplies I can give to the Messengers in addition to the empties of my old paper bags back. Why is it not possible with cardboard boxes, to keep the circuit smaller?
The suggestion I’ll take. So how we have improved over the last twenty years, we will improve ourselves, the next twenty. We will not stop working on this topic. For us it was away first thing from the plastic. Second, to minimize the packaging. More steps will come. We’re not known as a company that unpacks after work, the sun loungers and to the shoulders knocks. We are just the opposite.
It is not just the carton. Also the Transport could be sustainable.
We are very interested in the topic of E-mobility.
For me, diving in General, a normal car on delivery.
In Germany it is a car a normal delivery. But like I said, We deal with the topic of E-mobility. The must be at the end, of course, also feasible. As a logistics specialist I have to concern myself with it, what vehicles are available to current charging stations there are, etc.
you are a big Player in the German Online trade. They had Power and resources, together with partners, the E-mobility. This would give customers a better feel.
Also I’ll take. What is important to our clients – and you will not be the Only one – that also needs to be important to us. In the case of sustainability, one must not underestimate the fact that A high percentage of successful first deliveries also part of the environment. Because every second of the journey eats up more resources.
I would like to set a time for when the messenger rings a bell with me. But you don’t offer.
We are working on it.
Probably it is very complex, after all, everyone would like his package from 18 clock, is it?
Of these, I would not go out. There is not a customer. Everyone has a different day – and weeks-to-expiration, and other life situations.
An exciting concept from the US Amazon Go. A supermarket, in which there are no funds. Instead, cameras and Sensors, which product a customer takes from the shelf to recognize, the money is debited directly from the account.
The feels when the first Time a little bit like shoplifting. But, joking aside, it’s an incredible feeling: to run in, run out, eating a Sandwich. This is very convenient. And I will not tell you no secret that customers are happy to stand by the cash register. Even the store owner didn’t like the snake. There are several parties that would be happy about it.
to Make now the retail stores?
The comment I don’t. In Germany, we focus on to offer customers online much more value. We want to be where our customer is. We have taken care of the first 20 years exclusively to the Expansion of our Online product range and our Services. But we never excluded that we carry the concept of diversity. The customer loves diversity. So how do we use today side by side a printed, spoken and digital book, we assume that the Shopping is not a binary operation, but from different elements.
Amazon Fresh, there is a further building block for the shopping for the week. How to develop the business in Germany?
The Feedback of the customers is good. We are satisfied and is currently in Munich, Berlin, Potsdam and Hamburg at the Start.
additional locations in the planning?
We have always said: We are not in a hurry. We believe that our customers eat in ten years ‘ time. In this respect, we are progressing step by step and learn what is the German important to be an integral part of his shopping habits in fresh food.
emphasize fresh food. In the case of durable products, such as noodles , rice, coffee and spices blend with for a long time.
If your Vision is to do everything to sell, what the customer wants to buy online, then you will automatically pass this point. Noodles are a good example of that: We already have 15,000 different types of pasta on offer. After 20 Years Of Work. In the meantime, we offer in Germany more than 300 million articles. But that’s not all.
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