Driving Retail Sales Across Europe

Exclusive interview: Sergio Klaus Peter Voigt, Chief Procurement Officer at MediaMarktSaturn, Europe’s biggest electronics retailer

The group operates more than 1,000 stores and offers online shopping in 15 countries in Europe. In the business year 2015/16, MediaMarktSaturn generated revenues of €22bn. We asked Sergio Klaus Peter Voigt to tell us more about how the business has performed over the last 12 months…

We’re getting better and better at integrating our channels. We’ve completed the roll-out of our electronic shelf labels – and that forms the basis for further digitalisation in areas such as product range, pricing and the supply chain.

Our customers approve of this integration. About one in two online purchases are collected in-store. Also, customers seek advice at our stores and then order from our online shops or they conduct their own online research and then buy from us in-store.

What do you see as being the most interesting product categories at the moment? 

Networking is making the range as a whole more and more exciting. We’ve always been strong in white goods and televisions. Today, they’re increasingly being connected to other devices – I’m talking about the Internet of Things and smart home. And it goes without saying that we’re also involved in current trends like VR, AR, robotics and drones, to name just a few.

How much of VR is hype and how much is real… and how far do you think it will go? 

Virtual reality has long been reality for us. In many of our stores, customers can already try out VR products and choose from a wide range of products. We believe the VR market will continue to grow and regard augmented reality as the ‘next big thing’ in our industry and not just a flash in the pan. Apple’s announcement of the ARKit for iPhones makes it clear to everyone just how far-reaching augmented reality will be. Augmented reality is more than just a product we can sell with high potential growth. AR opens up new opportunities for retailers. Just as we created a seamless transition between the online and offline worlds with our multichannel strategy, we see great potential in AR to combine the best of the real world such as haptics and physical product properties with virtual elements like further product information and application possibilities. This will create an unrivalled shopping experience which superbly enables consumers to grasp the benefits of the products we sell.

What about the smart home? Every year we see progress, but there’s still a way to go… Your thoughts? 

Smart home is one of the most exciting but also one of the most sophisticated trends in the industry. Networking very different household appliances from different manufacturers requires the right infrastructure and technical expertise. As a result, setting up a smart home system can quickly become very complicated for consumers. That’s why we think the best approach is an integrated advisory and service concept. We support consumers with our in-store sales staff as well as assistance at home provided by specialists from Deutsche Technikberatung.

SMART HOME IS ONE OF THE MOST EXCITING BUT ALSO ONE OF THE MOST SOPHISTICATED TRENDS IN THE INDUSTRY

How are sales patterns changing. Is omnichannel going to be omnipresent? 

Sales models are becoming more diverse. For example, we realise that our customers often only need products for a limited period or always want to use the latest model. Therefore, selected products can now be rented from us. By contrast, in our view, omnichannel is more than just a sales model. The aim is to support customers as extensively as possible in their everyday lives in the digital world. Therefore, we try to make looking for products and purchasing them as easy as possible in all situations.


Photo: Sergio Klaus Peter Voigt. Chief Procurement Officer, MediaMarktSaturn.