Hendrik Blijdenstein (Digitec Galaxus): "We have our own USPs"

10.07.2019
Interview

Hendrik Blijdenstein is CCO at Digitec Galaxus, the largest online retailer in Switzerland. In an interview ahead of the GDI Retail Summit in September, at which he is due to speak, he reveals how to keep up with Amazon and Alibaba, and how important drone delivery is to him.

Blijdenstein

GDI: What does it take to be successful in online retail?

Hendrik Blijdenstein: Above all, you need to be customer-focused, courageous and persistent, and have foresight, agility and a long-term, solid business plan.

You are expanding northwards. How does the Swiss market differ from the German market?

Consumer minds tick differently in Switzerland and Germany. The Swiss consumer values quality, service and trust, in particular. The Swiss market is also very complex for outsiders: despite its manageable size, we have three languages, our own sockets, our own currency, our own legislation and our own culture. Moreover, we are not a member of the EU. Many international companies underestimate these peculiarities.

Amazon, Zalando, Alibaba: Who are the role models for Digitec Galaxus?

All these platforms win customers by offering a wide range of products with swift delivery and at competitive prices. They also consistently invest in their online shops (search, navigation, filters, etc.), logistics solutions (warehouses, delivery promises, service points) and network synergies (third-party warehouses, marketplaces). It is exciting to see how others deal with these complexities. But we, too, have our own USPs; for example, our ten stores, our independent editorial staff, our second-hand feature and our two honest and likeable brands.

You sell brands. Will you ever sell home brands?

We already have four own brands: Digitec PCs, the Huber Velos family, Furn furniture and Giardimo garden furniture. We have also been selling Migros’s own brands since January. Nevertheless, our focus will remain on the sought-after well-known-brands in the long term, especially in electronics.

Do it now mentality and returns tsunami: How will logistics work in five years' time?

Our returns rate is not that high, as the proportion of fashion in our product range and sales is still relatively low. With our agile approach, we will tackle the challenges as they arise. We will have to carefully balance customer satisfaction, cost-covering business models and increasingly relevant sustainability considerations.

Buzzword Bingo: How important are these concepts (on a scale from 1 to 10)?

Voice (Alexa, Siri, etc.): 5

Chatbots: 4

Anticipatory Shipping: 2

Artificial Intelligence: 6

Drone delivery: 1

From Clicks to Bricks: 4

Hendrik Blijdenstein will speak about successful ecommerce at the GDI Retail Summit. Get your ticket now!