Dr. Stefan Müller, CEO of Expert Germany, spoke in his lecture about sales developments and the effects of a year marked by corona: “Despite the four-month lockdown in retail and the associated closure of our 409 locations, our sales have developed better than feared. The creative solutions of our dealers made a significant contribution to this development – these ranged from contactless sales via telephone, email, and Whatsapp to customer-friendly Click & Collect solutions. Thanks to our extensive online shop, we can still be reached by our customers at all times. Together with our partners, we look confidently into a successful future. ”
Frank Harder, Board Member for Sales, Marketing and e-Commerce at Expert Germany, adds: “Special thanks go to our industry and service partners for the extensive support and strong partnership. The good cooperation with them forms the basis of our success and leads to the achievement of our common goal: To be there for our customers and to provide them with the best recommendations for their desired products at all times. ”
Logistics: Investment in the future
Expert is underlining its confidence in a successful future with the construction of its Expert Fulfillment Center: a state-of-the-art logistics center with almost 13,000 m² is being built right next to the company headquarters. The aim of the new building of the EFC is an even faster supply of goods to the stationary specialist shops and markets and, at the same time, accelerated processing of the rapidly growing online business.
Various automation solutions and a modern high-bay warehouse will ensure high processing speeds in the new EFC in the future. “Thanks to the modern logistics infrastructure of our expert fulfillment center, we will in future be able to pick and ship orders on the same day – this benefits our dealers, industrial partners, and of course our customers alike. In addition, we are placing a strong focus on sustainable logistics through the use of a photovoltaic system, e-charging stations for cars, and paperless reusable transport containers, ”says Dr. Stefan Müller.
Marketing: Reopening of the Expert locations and the European Football Championship in focus
After the marketing campaign “Next for you”, which Expert Germany focused on at the beginning of 2021, they will hopefully be able to welcome its customers back to the locations soon with its WOW campaign – the re-open weeks.
Personnel: Continuation of mystery shopping and qualification offensive
The mystery shopping program that was started last year will also be continued in 2021. “The results from our mystery shopping benefit our extensive qualification program,” says Gerd-Christian Hesse, Chief Financial Officer, HR, and Insurance at Expert Germany.
He adds: “At Expert, we recognized early on that well-trained and motivated employees form the basis for the company’s economic success – both at our locations and at our headquarters. We, therefore, regard investments in training and further education as investments in our future and are constantly developing our qualification measures. ”
KOOP 2021: The best of all worlds
The first virtual KOOP 2021 officially started with the Expert spring conference. Under the motto “The best of all worlds”, Expert and Euronics are bringing their spring events together for the first time in cooperation with Messe Berlin, creating a new event format for the industry.
“I am very pleased that our KOOP is now starting,” says Dr. Stefan Müller, CEO of Expert Germany. “Our shareholders can expect a virtual trade fair format with real added value, which we have already tested at our virtual general meeting and which we have now further optimized for the KOOP. Despite the special circumstances, with the virtual KOOP we keep our promise to our industrial and service partners and offer them valuable synergy effects.”
This is another service prepared by Komputronik, our partner from Poland, with the comfort of its customers in mind.
From now on, a service technician’s visit can be ordered in selected showrooms. After agreeing on a convenient date, a Komputronik employee will come to the indicated address and perform, among others: network configuration, installation or reinstallation of the operating system and other software, connection of peripheral devices, connection and configuration of Smart devices, or solve another IT problem.
The service also includes support for the office as part of Office Support.
The service can be ordered in selected showrooms – in person, by phone, or online. The list of places will be updated on a regular basis.
Thanks to the introduction of the new service, Komputronik will meet the needs of modern consumers even more effectively.
Jens Stroemnes is the Managing Director at Expert International GmbH, joining the company in January 2020. His background is from sporting goods retail, where the last 13 years were spent working for the biggest retail organization in the sector to support affiliated retailers in over 40 markets worldwide.
I started my professional life working for Adidas as a Product Manager, before moving to Switzerland in 2006 to work for Intersport International. During my years at Intersport, I had different roles both working with international suppliers/brand partners, as well as in the area of private label. From 2015 to 2018 I was located in Hong Kong / China where I headed up Intersport’s sourcing company, and in my last job, I was overall responsible for all private label products.
I once read in an interview with a very successful businessman, that he doesn’t believe in career planning. His advice was to do the job you have to the best of your ability, and then things might follow. I don’t think there has been a particular inspiration for me in my professional life; I just try to be open to learn from people and to do my job as well as I can.
It is maybe a cliche, but I am more proud of my two kids than anything else.
Be honest about what you don’t know, be pragmatic, and allow people to be different.
Always when starting a new job, the focus is on understanding the organization, the dynamics in a new industry, and getting to know the people – and based on that, plan where we focus in the future to ensure a strong development for the Expert group. This year, we have taken the time to re-build our strategic framework as a base for all future initiatives. Everything we do is focused on how we remain real and stay relevant to our consumers and stakeholders. We are now working on projects to fill this with life. Omni-channel transformation is naturally a key part of this, but also how we work as a group and how we strengthen the partnerships we have with key suppliers.
Since I joined the company beginning of 2020, my plan for 2020 was to visit all the Expert countries and get to know the people, suppliers, markets, etc. Personally. I made a good start beginning of the year, but as a result of the situation, there are many people I have only been able to e-meet. However, I am very grateful for how welcoming and open people have been also in these circumstances.
Hopefully, we will soon be able to travel again so that I can meet those colleagues in the group who I couldn’t already meet in person. In terms of our work at Expert International, we will continue to focus on digital, and work closely with countries on how we increase the impact we have as a group, how we develop our partnerships and how we support the countries with data, insight, forecasting, etc.
The Expert Group: Double-digit sales growth in 2020
Despite 2020 being an exceptional year with unprecedented challenges linked with covid, the Expert Group, with affiliates in 22 countries, achieved a double-digit sales growth in 2020. Based on market data from GfK, the market share was improved in most markets and product areas.
The strongest growth was generated in the IT category, whereas the traditionally strong categories MDA and SDA also grew strongly.
Different countries have been very differently impacted by covid, based on the overall economic situation in markets, but especially based on different restrictions to operating retail throughout the year.
In these circumstances, the Expert Group has benefited from the ability of the Expert Group countries to quickly adjust their service offerings to the needs of the consumer, both centrally and on individual retailer level. Not surprisingly, the e-commerce share has increased strongly during the year, and online sales now account for about one-quarter of the group’s sales.
The on-going focus on digitalization enabled higher growth than the overall market in 2020, and omnichannel will be a key pillar for growth also in the future.
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