Interview with: Sonja Mechling, Chairperson of the HDU
Ms. Mechling, how would you describe your new role?
Sonja Mechling: “The HDU is responsible for all marketing activities at Heidelberg, including branding, customer events, the website, and social media channels. The second key focus is e-commerce – with the aim of making Heidelberg the industry’s leading platform company. The unit is also responsible for the IT platforms and tools that interface with customers. We are looking to support the sales team and contribute to business success at Heidelberg by making full use of the eShop’s potential to significantly increase e-commerce sales. In addition, we are developing new business models with the aim of playing a key part in the company’s digital transformation. Last but not least, we are keen to further raise the profile of the Heidelberg brand, especially in segments where the company is not yet particularly well known such as digital printing, labels, consumables, and new business models.“
What measures are you intending to use to achieve this in the area of digitization?
Sonja Mechling: “Digital activities are a key focus. For example, we are working hard on the launch of “HEI-ID” – a standardized customer ID for Heidelberg. We want all our customers to register online with Heidelberg and gain access to all the company’s online services. This marks the first step toward a digital ecosystem and enables us to track our customers’ entire “digital journey” with Heidelberg. Among other things, we can then offer them additional products and services geared to their particular profile in the online shop without them actively looking for such options. You will be familiar with this strategy from companies such as Amazon and Apple.”
It sounds like customers are very much the focal point.
Sonja Mechling: “Exactly! The aim now is also to establish tried-and-tested B2C principles in B2B business. We want to make life as easy as possible, for example with automated reordering or online voucher campaigns to give customers we haven’t heard from for a while a little nudge. In addition to optimizing our eShop portfolio, that will play a key part in significantly boosting e-commerce sales.”
Is there not a big risk of things going wrong in the beginning, though?
Sonja Mechling: “Of course, but that is simply part of the start-up principle. Things need to be tried out to see if they are successful on the market. If they are, we quickly expand them and otherwise we immediately drop them. It is vital to be able to let go so as not to be overtaken by market developments.”
Many thanks for this information, Ms. Mechling! We wish you continued success with your exciting mission.