The online retailer Otto and shopping center operator ECE have created a cross-channel connection between their companies. Local assortments of retailers and branded goods can now be integrated online at Alexander Otto, CEO of ECE, and Alexander Birken, Chairman of the Executive Board of the Otto Group, are building a bridge between online and offline trading for customers with the ambitious Connected Commerce project.

It is the dream of many customers: Reserve the new game online before going to the shopping centre. Or: Buy your shoes online and have them delivered home from the shopping centre on the same day. The new cooperation between Otto and ECE should make such services possible. The partners have set up a joint venture to network stationary and digital retail. Stocksquare GmbH & Co. KG, based in Hamburg, connects the branch networks with the platform. The aim of this connected commerce concept is to strengthen the stationary trade in the ECE centres and beyond through additional reach. In addition, the cooperation is intended to expand Otto’s online offering to include local sources of supply. The new services will initially be available to retailers with shops in one of the approximately 90 ECE centers in Germany. Selected retail partners at the start include myToys, Marc O’Polo, Reno and Ulla Popken.

Otto CEO speaks of pioneering work

The initiators explain the reasons for the alliance: “The shopping experience of the future will take place both online and offline,” says Alexander Otto, CEO of ECE. “With this joint project, we are bringing our knowledge from both worlds together and strengthening stationary retailing with additional online reach. We are doing real pioneering work here. In doing so, we can draw on our long-standing partnerships with major retailers as well as on the dense network of our centers and the omnichannel approach of our digital mall project”. Alexander Birken, Chairman of the Executive Board of the Otto Group, adds: “With our ambitious Connected Commerce project, we are building a bridge between online and offline trading for our customers. Together with ECE, we have the opportunity to cooperate with stationary retailers and brands throughout Germany and to network the largest connected shopping center offering in Germany with The two companies already share common values through their shareholders in order to be a real alternative for partners and customers”.

Connected commerce concept uses ECE technology

Technically, the Connected Commerce concept ties in with ECE’s existing Digital Mall technology. This enables customers to check the availability of goods on the centers’ websites. In the first expansion phase, customers can see on the Otto homepage whether an item is in stock in a nearby store, such as an ECE shopping center. To start with, displayed local product availability for around 20,000 articles from the six retail partners myToys, Marc O’Polo, RENO, SportScheck, Brax and Ulla Popken. The integration of further articles, stores and partners is to follow continuously. Branches will be connected both inside and outside the ECE shopping centres. In addition, the Connected Commerce concept is also open for the connection of further online platforms. Further service modules are planned, such as the reservation function for stationary items and the option of paying for locally available products online via In addition, same-day delivery from the center to a desired address in the vicinity should be possible. The centers act as local warehouses and delivery hubs.


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Link: The Otto website now also displays products that are available in ECE shopping centres.

Image: Otto