New electronics specialist store Coolblue is opening more and more branches in Germany

With the way we see things going on right now, there’s no doubt that In the future there will also be more Coolblue branches in Germany like this one in Rotterdam.

MediaMarkt and Saturn are probably the best-known electronics stores. But now a new competitor is shaking up the German market. Coolblue is the name of the newcomer who wants to take advantage of MediaMarktSaturn’s weakness.

A striking blue website design and an orange logo that is a bit reminiscent of Temu – that’s Coolblue. Admittedly, with this name you would have expected a blue company logo.

But the Dutch company is not a Temu free rider, on the contrary. Coolblue is the largest electronics mail order company in the Netherlands and Belgium and has also been active in parts of Germany since 2020.

After an extremely successful 2023 financial year, Coolblue is now planning its expansion and could thus become strong competition for MediaMarkt, Saturn and other electronics retailers in the medium term. To date, Coolblue employs 6,000 people, 223 of them in Germany. This number is expected to double in the next year and a half.

Expansion opens up new delivery areas

Like many e-commerce companies, Coolblue also has a two-pronged strategy: On the one hand, Coolblue operates 25 specialist stores in Germany, the Netherlands and Belgium. On the other hand, Coolblue offers an online shop with its own delivery service.

The Dutch company’s range includes large household appliances such as washing machines and televisions, but also laptops, smartphones, gaming accessories, kitchen appliances and sports gadgets.

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Among other things, Coolblue advertises that white goods such as dryers can be delivered to customers within a day and even installed. Unlike its competitors, Coolblue does not rely on subcontractors for this, but rather on the in-house service “Coolblue Liefert” with its own staff. This increases the reliability of the company and thus also customer satisfaction.

Similar to Amazon, Coolblue relies on highly automated goods depots for efficient delivery. Until now, only North Rhine-Westphalia was part of the delivery area, but that will change from February 21, 2024.

Another depot has been set up in Kelserbach (Hesse), which will now open up the greater Frankfurt am Main area. As planned, Mainz, Wiesbaden and Darmstadt will also be included in the delivery radius over the course of the year.

 

According to its own information, Coolblue Liefert already reaches 14 million potential customers in Germany. The expansion around Frankfurt will add another five million. A second depot is being planned, but there is no information on the exact location yet. By the way: In keeping with Dutch tradition, smaller devices are often not delivered by delivery van, but – with significantly lower emissions – by cargo bike.

More branches in the west of Germany

But Coolblue doesn’t just want to gain a stronger foothold in Germany through online retail. There will also be more stationary stores in the future. So far, the Dutch company is only represented in Düsseldorf and Essen.

“The store is above all a marketing statement,” says CEO and founder Pieter Zwart. It is still important to make the brand known in Germany and reach more customers.

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Given this, he plans to open two more stores in Germany, one in Frankfurt am Main (am Main), the other in North Rhine-Westphalia. Coolblue is still limiting its expansion plans to western Germany.

With its growing presence on German shopping streets, the Dutch newcomer is primarily targeting MediaMarkt and Saturn and is benefiting from weakening competition. MediaMarkt and Saturn’s sales have been stagnating for ten years, even though together they are significantly larger than Coolblue.

The strategic restructuring of the two Ceconomy subsidiaries has particularly left its mark on stationary retail. Branches were closed down and thousands of jobs were rationalized. At the moment, however, Coolblue cannot take any convincing advantage from this, as MediaMarkt alone has around 270 stores across Germany.

Record sales in 2023 set the course for 2024

But that doesn’t stop Dutch CEO Pieter Zwart from his ambitions. In five to seven years, Coolblue should be represented throughout Germany and bring in a large part of the sales.

Although Germany offers a very large market compared to the Netherlands and Belgium, it is already tightly occupied. Coolblue will not only have to compete with MediaMarktSaturn, but also with Expert, ElectronicPartner and the industry giant Amazon.

 

The business figures for 2023 so far speak for Zwart’s vision. The company’s total sales were 2.41 billion euros, while operating profits doubled.

Sales in Germany were at least 188 million euros, which means growth of 8.05 percent compared to the previous year. However, business in Germany is not yet profitable. CEO Zwart sees it more as an investment in the future.

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MediaMarktSaturn’s weakness is Coolblue’s strength

But what strategy does the Dutch company want to use to assert itself against its competition in Germany? In addition to the efficient and sustainable delivery processes, CEO Zwart sees the strength of his company primarily in the high level of customer satisfaction. “Customer satisfaction is our growth engine,” he says.

 

This satisfaction is measured with the Net Promoter Score (NPS). On a scale of one to ten, customers indicate whether they would recommend the retailer. Anyone who chooses a value from one to six is ​​considered dissatisfied. They are deducted from the percentage of satisfied customers.

In the Netherlands, Coolblue’s NPS is 71, in Germany it reaches 82. In other words, this means that 82 percent of the German customers surveyed would recommend Coolblue. “The expectations of German customers are obviously not that high,” concludes Zwart. For comparison:

MediaMarkt and Saturn only achieve an NPS of 53 in Germany. The Dutch competitor is clearly ahead here. Overall, Coolblue relies on constant expansion, fast and reliable deliveries and high customer satisfaction. However, the Dutch company is not offering cheaper prices.

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