THE RETAIL BULLETIN - The home of retail news
HOME
RETAIL NEWS
RETAIL EVENTS
Fashion
Department Stores
Shopping Centres & Retail Parks
Home & DIY
Electricals
Health & Beauty
General Merchandise
Entertainment
Sports & Leisure
Retail Solutions
Food & Drink
Interviews
RETAIL INSIGHTS
RETAIL SOLUTIONS
ABOUT US
CONTACT US
SUBSCRIBE FOR FREE
Facing the challenges of a multi-channel world
multichannel retailing,gravis, Dr David Hoeflmayr, glynn davis

German-based multi-channel electricals retailer Gravis is offering discounted prices to special interest groups and companies via password-accessed micro-sites in order to counter the low prices of its online-only rivals. By Glynn Davis

OMNICHANNEL

Facing the challenges of a multi-channel world

German-based multi-channel electricals retailer Gravis is offering discounted prices to special interest groups and companies via password-accessed micro-sites in order to counter the low prices of its online-only rivals. By Glynn Davis

Ahead of presenting at the 4th Annual Retail Bulletin Multi-channel Summit 2013 in London on February 6 Dr David Hoeflmayr, chief operating officer at Gravis – a retailer of Apple products - runs through how the business is developing its multi-channel model.

A key development is fighting the challenge from pure-play online merchants who are operating at prices that would deliver only a 4% margin for Gravis if it matched them. Its solution is to offer discounted prices to companies and groups such as students and non-profit organisations - what Hoeflmayr calls ‘Closed User Groups’.

These groups are then given access to clone versions of the main Gravis site that their members or employees can enter to enjoy better prices than those available on the company’s core site and in-store. This enables Gravis to maintain consistent pricing on its main site and its stores.

It is a growing part of its business with 200 to 300 groups currently involved and year-on-year sales growth of 200%: “It is 5%-7% of our total revenues and is growing faster than the [main] website sales. Companies like offering this to their employees.” 

Although these sales generate lesser margin Hoeflmayr says they have the advantage of being zero cost as they require no online marketing and there are also no store rentals to eat into profitability.  

Regular online sales have also been growing fast - at 60% year-on-year - which has helped the top-line and offset the fact that group’s store sales are flat, but the margins remain a challenge.

However Hoeflmayr says help as come from the company’s click & collect-type service, which is very popular, and involves 28% of online customers choosing to pick up their goods in-store.

The company also uses its call centre pro-actively whereby customers calling up to ask questions and research specific products will be encouraged to make a commitment to ordering the items. This has led to 5% of the total goods sold being pre-ordered from a call centre interaction. And Hoeflmayr says a hefty 75%-80% of these items are actually picked-up once they have been ordered.

Once the customers are in-store to collect their goods then there is the opportunity for Gravis’ store teams to sell them other products and services: “They come into the store and we can then do the up-selling. The average basket size of these [click & collect] customers is Euros 600, compared with Euros 300 for in-store customers, and Euros 400 for online shoppers.”

The up-selling and in-store services aspects are vitally important to Gravis as it enables the company to boost the 10% margin it achieves on selling Apple products to an average of 18% per customer transaction.

“We offer lots of services such as repairs in-store, telephone hotlines, and one-on-one training that make us more profits. This 30% of extra revenues doubles the profits of the company,” says Hoeflmayr, adding that the group’s two-year extended warranty is taken up by 80% of in-store customers.

This compares with only 20% online, which highlights the benefits that can be accrued from offering high levels of in-store service. “This is why we differentiate by our service. We’ve a branded environment and we help our customers. We’re positioned as a value-added retailer,” he says.

Another new development for Gravis is the use of customer data to gain insight, although Hoeflmayr admits that “we are just learning how to use it and we’re not sophisticated”. It has a good starting point as it has the addresses of 1.2 million customers, 80,000 subscribers to its online newsletter, and 30,000 people who have downloaded its app and receive regular email updates.

Communications to its customer base have to date included sending cards to celebrate the birthday of the ownership of a computer. But initially a more exciting development has been customer segmentation, with high school and University clubs created.

These groups have been offered discounts and this has generated sales of more than Euros 1 million per month and there are plans to further segment, with the company investigating adding a bargain shoppers club, despite the brand’s high-end positioning.

Dr David Hoeflmayr is one of many high-quality speakers at the Retail Bulletin’s 4th Multichannel Retailing Summit 2013 to be held in London. Make sure of your place by registering now. Click here for further details.

Email this article to a friend

You need to be logged in to use this feature.

Please log in here

Subscribe For Retail News

RETAIL EVENTS

Omnichannel Futures Conference 2019
Omnichannel Futures Conference 2019
6 February 2019
Cavendish Conference Centre, London WG1 9DT
A truly omnichannel offering requires an understanding of customer behaviour across all shopping channels and how this should impact your overall business strategy
Customer Engagement Conference 2019
Customer Engagement Conference 2019
5 June 2019
Cavendish Conference Centre, London W1
The 10th Annual Retail Customer Engagement Summit
The HR Summit 2019
The HR Summit 2019
Tuesday 8 October 2019
The Cavendish Conference Centre, London W1
The 11th HR Summit 2019, The Cavendish Conference Centre, London W1, 8 October 2019
AI in Retail Conference 2019
AI in Retail Conference 2019
16 October 2019
Cavendish Conference Center, 22 Duchess Mews, London W1G 9DT
Digitally native competitors and demanding customers are forcing a new perspective in retail. AI and machine learning can help you step up to the challenges; and some ‘small and beautiful’ solutions can increase your conversion rates within just a few weeks.
Payment Roundtable 2019
Payment Roundtable 2019
6 February 2019
The Cavendish Conference Centre, 22 Duchess Mews, London W1G 9DT
The Retail Bulletin Payment Roundtable will raise debate and discussion centred on but not exclusive to improving the in-store payment process