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E-Commerce: Green light for new professional training

The economy is becoming more digital. Manufacturers and retailers have been aware of this development for a while. With the new job description of merchant / businessman in e-commerce, this development should be taken into account at the beginning of the new training year. This opens up new career prospects for young graduates and gives companies the opportunity to pursue new digital paths.

This is the goal pursued by ISM Heinrich Krämer in Lippstadt. The company is a manufacturer of safety footwear, work and outdoor clothing and sells its range in the B2B sector: until the 1980s, the company produced international shoe fashion - from which the company name is also derived. Since 2002 the mid-sized company has relied entirely on the workwear brand ALBATROS and the production of PUMA SAFETY safety shoes. “We are a classic partner of specialist retailers for work safety clothing and we operate globally“, says managing director Julia Krämer-Gümüs, who heads the family company, employing 80 in the third generation.

This B2B strategy aims to be complementary to the company by the end of the year and to be selling directly online to the end customer. “Everything is ready: behind our website a shop system is already set up, but the users just can’t see it at the moment“, explained the ISM boss emphasising that this development is not a departure from the stationary B2B business. But in this era of digitalisation, there is a need to diversify to compete. This shop system will give ISM a future opportunity to represent the entire product range. “We will approach this new sales channel carefully and gain valuable personal experience with it“, says Julia Krämer-Gümüs.

With this strategy, ISM is now a great example for many companies developing their own digital strategies. And as much as digitalisation does pose a challenge to the economy, it also offers new opportunities, as IHK President Andreas Rother emphasises: “Especially in the retail sector, synergy effects can be created between stationary and digital business and individual multi-channel strategies all the way up to development of their own shop system.” With the new apprenticeship for training to be a merchant in e-commerce, there is the opportunity to train the company's own specialists and offer young people very good job prospects in the region.

At ISM in Lippstadt it’s all underway: On 1 June, a young man will begin his training there as an e-commerce merchant. And not only is managing director Julia Krämer-Gümüs looking forward to the reinforcement, but so is Stefan Oberrecht: the ISM marketing manager and senior online manager has previously worked in other companies as marketing director and looked after around 150 online shops. “At ISM we can now build and develop online business together." Shop management, web analytics, use of different marketing channels, e-mail marketing, content management and much more will be on the curriculum of the new trainee. “The e-commerce sector is very dynamic“, emphasises Stefan Oberrecht, “and my absolute passion.“

There haven’t been any difficulties in finding a suitable candidate, reports Julia Krämer-Gümüs. Commercial professions are still as popular as ever among young people. “And the generation, that is now leaving school is very Internet-savvy”, adds the ISM boss. She has no concerns that the new career path apprenticeship will not be in demand in the years ahead. “Training is very important to us” emphasises the managing director. ISM is also training merchants in wholesale and export trade, business economists (VWA), warehouse logistics specialists, warehouse specialists and IT specialists. Since 2002 the company has grown annually in the double-digit range. “So we need very well-trained specialists - especially in the era of digitalisation,”, says Julia Krämer-Gümüs.

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