Solarisbank wins with Otto as a customer

Pictures from days gone by: the Otto catalog

The offer can only be viewed online. The Solarisbank should take over the authentication check.

(Photo: dpa)

Berlin In the midst of the corona crisis, Solarisbank announces a new partnership: German fintech, which belongs to the Berlin Finleap universe, will in future take over the legitimacy check of traders at the online marketplace “Otto Market”.

“This is an exciting project for us. We see it as proof that the solution that we have built for the identification of business customers is relevant not only in the financial services sector, but also in the retail sector, for example, ”says the head of the Identity business unit at Solarisbank, Delia König, in one Interview with the Handelsblatt. “The Otto Group benefits from process savings. We can map high volumes and realize scaling effects, ”explains König.

With the marketplace, the Otto Group is pursuing ambitious goals. This became clear at a press event in early April. According to Robert Schlichter, head of partner management at Otto, the marketplace currently comprises around 500 partners.

“Due to the automated connection in the self-service, we expect at least 1,000 additional partners in 2020”, said Schlichter.

In the past, it sometimes took several weeks for retailers to sell their goods on the marketplace. Now it takes a maximum of two to three days, sometimes only two hours, for the registration formalities to be completed and the dealers to be able to take action.

The accounts of the marketplace traders are managed by Hanseatic Bank, an Otto subsidiary. “We really appreciate the combination of technology expertise and fully regulated institute at the Solarisbank,” says Hanseatic Bank Managing Director Detlef Zell. The project was “set up and implemented extremely quickly”.

Basically, the Solarisbank fulfills two essential tasks. First, it checks whether the interested dealers meet the criteria specified by Otto. On the other hand, the bank carries out a legitimacy check on the traders.

The so-called know-your-customer (KYC) process should ensure that the identities of the dealers are established and money laundering activities are prevented. The Bafin financial regulator pays particular attention to this area.

In particular, the focus is on compliance with the regulatory requirements that Solarisbank implements as an external service provider for Hanseatic Bank. After the traders have been identified, Solarisbank keeps their customers up to date on changes to data that can be seen in the commercial register, for example.

More: Fintechs: That could be the crisis winners and losers.


How Amazon acts against a strike leader

San Francisco It’s a small round in that AmazonChief Jeff Bezos is currently summoning his top key managers daily to discuss the effects of the corona crisis. Neither Smalls nor Bezos would have ever dreamed that it would be about warehouse worker Chris Smalls.

But now the management of the global online retailer knows the name of the ex-employee. Smalls organized a strike last week against what was believed to be many defective corona arrangements in its Amazon warehouse in New York and many others in the United States.

Amazon then threw him out, allegedly because his protest violated a 14-day quarantine requirement after a corona infection in his circle of colleagues. According to Amazon, three employees in the warehouse are infected with the corona virus, the protesting employees claim that there are at least ten.

“Getting active cost me my job,” Smalls said later in an interview. Since then, a battle of words has raged between Amazon and Smalls. A struggle that Amazon top management would like to wage: “It is not intelligent or eloquent,” said Amazon’s chief lawyer David Zapolsky, according to a transcript from Bezos, quoted in the “Vice News”. “If the press wants to focus on a conflict between us and him, we are in a much stronger position than when we explain how we protect our workers for the umpteenth time.”

Zapolsky then argues that Amazon should explain to the public in detail why Smalls acted “immorally” and “possibly illegally”. “Make him the most interesting part of history and, if possible, make him the face of the whole union movement.” According to the report, “general consent” of the other participants is noted in the minutes.

Zapolsky confirmed “Vice News” the authenticity of the quotes, but in his answer aims again at smalls. His comments were “personal and emotional”. He was frustrated that an employee was putting his colleagues’ health at risk.

The affair over the fired protest leader could hit Amazon’s reputation hard. It’s a story of how Americans love it. The underdog against the mega-group Amazon. A proverbial little man against one of the largest companies in the world. The fact that the man’s name is Smalls is all the more beautiful.

Masks and forehead thermometers

The fact is that the online merchant’s struggle with organizing workers goes back a long way before the corona crisis. A strike in his department stores is coming at a particularly bad time for Amazon. In contrast to many other companies, the online retailer is very busy. What can no longer be bought in stores is now ordered online. In many places, Amazon has become as essential as Swiss Post. The company plans to employ 100,000 new people for its warehouses and delivery services.

But as the number of orders explodes, the company struggles to fill all shifts in its warehouses. An employee in a warehouse in Charlotte told the Wall Street Journal that at times only half of the necessary staff was present. There is also a lack of masks or disinfectants to keep the risk of infection low.

As of next week, Amazon plans to distribute masks and measure fever to all employees in European and American warehouses. Anyone with the contactless forehead thermometer showing 38 degrees or more will be sent home. Smart cameras would check whether warehouse workers keep enough distance from each other.

The spread of the corona virus and that of worker dissatisfaction are related to Amazon: Walkouts have also taken place in warehouses in Chicago and the state of Michigan. An employee from Romulus, near Detroit, told tech portal The Verge that it was rumored that Amazon was not telling people about infection. “I understand that we cannot do without us. But we can’t do without our lives either. ”

Amazon is struggling to get out of the corona crisis with a better reputation than before. On the one hand, customers around the world are learning to fully appreciate their range and delivery service during the corona pandemic. Even US President Donald Trump, who enjoys living out his rivalry with Amazon boss Jeff Bezos, is now praising Amazon.

But the workers ‘protests give the company completely new political problems: Letitia James, the busy Attorney General of the State of New York, called Smalls’ dismissal “immoral and inhuman” and wants to examine measures against Amazon. New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio also wants the city’s Human Rights Commission to review the case.

More: Amazon supplies everyone who is stuck at home – and that supports the share.


Amazon supplies those who are stuck at home – the stock benefits

San Francisco Would Amazon not Amazon, strategy advisors and investors would probably urge the strange digital conglomerate to split up. Why should a single company sell books and lettuce, ricotta and computing power? And at the same time producing films, streaming music, developing smart speakers and operating your own delivery service?

In the corona pandemic, however, the Amazon construct makes more sense than ever. As diverse as the Seattle-based group is, each division seems to benefit from global curfews in its own way: Online trade is booming because many are not leaving their homes. Even the Fresh grocery service, which Amazon has operated with moderate success, now seems to be making its breakthrough.

At most, supply problems and usurers are hampering Amazon’s online trading platform. The company has just hired 100,000 new employees for its warehouses and delivery services.

Those who spend more time at home can watch series on “Prime Video”, music on “Prime Music” and audio books Audible Listen or watch live streams of computer games on Twitch. Personal and professional life, from video calls to grandparents to video conferences with colleagues, are largely shifting to the Internet, i.e. to the cloud – where Amazon Web Services (AWS) is by far the market leader.

And while the big, largely ad-financed competitors Google and Facebook According to a forecast by Amazon Media Group, the Amazon Media Group will grow less in 2020 than in the previous year German bank still by 35 percent. Advertising alongside Amazon search results is still essential for retailers in the crisis.

Amazon seems to be prepared for the turmoil caused by the corona crisis like few other companies. Nevertheless, the share has lost a lot of its value since mid-February: the broad S&P 500 share index has fallen by around 25 percent from its high, Amazon at least by 15 percent to currently around $ 1,950.


Lloyd Walmsley, Internet analyst at Deutsche Bank, sees upside potential for the share: “Amazon has always been a long-term growth story, but currently you can hardly find a better defensive investment.” presented in the first quarter, the hiring wave is a clear sign that the trading business is doing very well.

The closed shops around the world could lead many people to try the Prime loyalty program and become a permanent part of the Amazon universe. Walmsley’s price target for the stock fell from $ 2,400 to 2,300 last week. He expects Amazon AWS ‘business to become more difficult with Corona. Cloud computing is needed more than ever.

But many projects in which customers migrate their data to the cloud are currently under threat. The analyst gives the travel agent as an example Expediawho originally wanted to invest $ 350 million in his migration to the Amazon cloud and has stopped it.

Like most internet stocks, Amazon is still highly valued with a price-earnings ratio of 82. But a company that invests so aggressively is difficult to grasp with this key figure. Last year, Amazon disappointed its investors because the online retailer needed a lot of money to enable goods deliveries within a day. Amazon is now benefiting from the fact that many buyers and drivers have been hired to process the current increase in orders.

However, the political conflicts that Amazon has encountered in recent years are difficult to predict. On Monday, employees in the warehouses and at the organic supermarket subsidiary Whole Foods went on strike because, in their opinion, the company did not adequately protect them from corona. US President Donald Trump has been fighting a private feud with Amazon boss Jeff Bezos since he became the owner of the Washington Post. The question of whether Trump’s intervention cost AWS a large government mandate is currently being heard in court.

The fact that Amazon could be smashed by competition authorities has become less likely due to the course of the US presidential election in recent weeks. Because of its dealings with workers, Amazon was primarily in the crosshairs of the left candidates Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren. If it now comes to a competition between Trump and Joe Biden, even after the election in November, pinpricks are to be expected rather than big blows against Amazon.

If the US slides into a deep recession, the online department store’s stock will not be spared either. Nevertheless, Amazon is one of the few stocks that would be relatively well positioned for an extended corona pandemic with months of curfews and travel bans and would still benefit from a quick normalization.

More: Why the chief supplier of the USA is criticized.


Amazon creates 350 new logistics jobs in Germany

Amazon logistics center in Dortmund

Since this week, important everyday goods in Germany have been prioritized not only in the incoming goods department at the Amazon logistics centers, but also when shipping to customers.

(Photo: dpa)

Hall Amazon needs several hundred additional employees in Germany in the corona virus crisis. In order to meet the demand of people, 350 additional full-time and part-time jobs in logistics are planned, an Amazon spokesman confirmed on Thursday. The 350 new jobs would be created nationwide and the number could not be broken down into individual locations. The “Mitteldeutsche Zeitung” had previously reported on the job creation.

In the United States, Amazon announced the creation of 100,000 full-time and part-time jobs in logistics centers and the delivery network ten days ago. In addition, hourly wages were raised by two US dollars in the USA and two euros in euro countries by the end of April. In Germany it is at least EUR 11.10 gross. At that time, Amazon estimated $ 350 million worldwide for this wage increase.

Since this week, important everyday goods in Germany have been prioritized not only in the incoming goods department at the Amazon logistics centers, but also when shipping to customers, as a spokesman for the “Mitteldeutsche Zeitung” said. In France and Italy, meanwhile, Amazon no longer accepts orders for some items that are not important for everyday life. This also has to do with the fact that the employees in the distribution centers keep more distance from each other in order to reduce the risk of infection, it said at the weekend.

More: Amazon continues to expand its market power in the corona crisis


Online trading is not a sure-fire success even in the corona crisis

Dusseldorf Media Markt and Saturn tried everything. Because they have to close their branches in more and more countries, both companies have focused all sales activities on the online channels. They advertise equipment for the home office in their web shops. But the additional business on the net is not enough. The parent company Ceconomy has now cashed in the forecasts for sales and profits.

Also Adidas had to close his shops and is now desperately trying to bring the spring collection to customers through his web shop. But that is anything but a sure-fire success. With discounts of up to 50 percent, Adidas offers the goods to sell at least part of them before the summer collection pushes on.

The two groups are exemplary of countless retail companies. “Retailers who already operate multichannel can now switch sales to e-commerce,” says Nils Zündorf, e-commerce expert at the agency faktor-a. “But nobody will be able to compensate for the lost sales from the branches online,” warns Zündorf, the retailer when selling on platforms such as Amazon advises.

No gold digging mood has broken out even with purely online retailers. “Orders in online retail are high, but they don’t explode,” Zündorf observes. When the governments announced the drastic measures earlier this week, the customers on the internet had also initially held back, he observed. “Everyone is rearranging, but it can be expected that online orders will pick up again significantly.”

Accordingly, surveys among online retailers show a very mixed picture. While individual retailers report sales growth of up to 200 percent, others even report falling sales. Of the 135 online retailers surveyed by the Federal Association for E-Commerce and Mail Order in the second week of March, 41 percent reported a drop in demand.

A similar picture was shown by a survey by the retailer association, which represents tens of thousands of small online retailers. In a survey of its members, in which 412 dealers took part, 55 percent spoke of losses in business. Only 9 percent said they benefited from the corona crisis in business.

There is little demand for fashion

The demand in online trading depends heavily on the product category. This is proven by the search queries on Amazon. “Immediately after the pandemic broke out, 80 percent of the top 50 inquiries on Amazon had to do with Corona. Now it is still 40 percent, ”reports Jan Bechler, founder and managing director of the agency finc3 Commerce, the companies like Bosch, Bahlsen or Unilever advises on trading on internet marketplaces.

For example, hygiene products benefit the most, but so do nutritional supplements that promise to strengthen the immune system. Sellers of home and garden items, toys, fitness equipment, food and hardware store products also do good business.

However, only a few people think of new clothes in the current tense situation. In the field of textiles, online sales have already decreased by 20 to 30 percent, reports Stefan Genth, chief executive of the German Trade Association (HDE).

In any case, only retailers who are already active on the Internet have a chance to make online sales. “Retailers who are not yet online retailers have little chance of switching to e-commerce if they have to close their shops,” explains e-commerce expert Bechler. “It is a comprehensive and lengthy process until you have set it up technically, connected your merchandise management and organized the logistics.” Opening a web shop or setting up a shop in a market place takes at least a quarter.

Due to the increased offer on the Internet, it is also becoming more and more difficult for purely online retailers to be noticed by customers at all. “Many retailers and manufacturers are currently increasing their advertising budgets on the marketplaces,” says e-commerce expert Bechler. “Anyone who does not invest in marketing now threatens to lose sales”. One can already see that the costs per click for advertisements on the marketplaces are increasing in many segments.

Employees in protective suits

And the demand is only one side. The effects of the corona crisis have also led to a significant increase in costs for online retailers. The core is usually to secure logistics and your own warehouse.

“We are now working around the clock in a three-shift operation in the warehouse,” reports Boris Häfele, Managing Director of Roast Markets, Germany’s largest online specialist in coffee. He has hired 20 new warehouse employees to keep the business running smoothly even in the new situation.

All employees are now working with protective suits and gloves have to be changed every two hours. There is a break between shifts during which a professional service provider disinfects the warehouse. “For us, these are immense additional costs,” says Häfele.

On the other hand, the crisis also gives him many new customers. Germans spend around 16 billion euros a year on finished coffee in cafes and restaurants. Häfele is now hoping to draw some of this business when people have to stay at home. But he also knows: “How many people will change their behavior in the long term is open.” The increase in sales he feels could also be temporary. He is therefore careful to expand his capacities too quickly.

What all retailers – whether stationary or online – are afraid of: that the crisis lasts so long that consumers generally limit their consumption expenditure. Consumers are already reluctant to buy luxury goods and very expensive products online.

“If the economy shuts down over several weeks, general purchasing reluctance could develop,” warns trading expert Bechler. “People who are on short-time work or fear for their job are more likely to keep their money together.”

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