New opportunities and challenges
Understanding how our operating environment is changing, the challenges and opportunities this means for our business and our ability to develop and adapt are decisive for how competitive we will be in terms of meeting customer needs and expectations in the future.
The retail sector is undergoing substantial change and existing structures and working methods are being challenged and new conditions generated for conventional retail. It is increasing requirements to develop and adapt to meet future challenges, but also to capitalise on the opportunities resulting from these changes.
We are diligently monitoring developments and are continuously reviewing our organisation, our procedures and our systems to increase our capacity to react quickly to changes.
The trends that currently affect us the most are described as follows.
An urban lifestyle
More and more people live in cities and such an urban lifestyle with longer working days and business travel means that leisure time is particularly valuable. It is difficult for many people to find enough time and consumers are increasingly demanding services and products that in differing ways make everyday life at home easier.
For Clas Ohlson, this means we will continue to add smart, affordable products that solve small practical problems to our range. We are also developing offerings and services that make our customers’ everyday life easier.
Today, it is already possible to easily obtain information about companies and products, to shop and communicate with stores and suppliers via various channels and, not least, to convey one’s experiences to other potential customers.
For Clas Ohlson, this means continuous work with providing relevant tips, advice and product information, smart solutions and an easy and inspiring shopping experience irrespective of the sales channel the customer chooses.
A sustainable lifestyle
Growing awareness and desire among consumers to consume more sustainably places high demands and expectations on companies to assume responsibility and to be transparent across the entire value chain.
For Clas Ohlson, this means expanding our range of products and services that promote a more sustainable lifestyle. We build up credibility and strengthen our risk management by remaining one step ahead of consumer expectations in terms of ensuring that the products we sell are manufactured under good conditions and transported in an environmentally sound manner and that we conduct ethical business.
Increasingly sophisticated customers demand round-the-clock service, customised information and guidance, as well as a more personal shopping experience. The trend whereby consumers can shop where, when and how they want means that the purchasing process is becoming increasingly individual and imposes high demands on the retail sector to integrate channels and communication. In pace with retailing and communication becoming increasingly digital, the role of the physical store is becoming primarily an arena for meetings and experiences.
For Clas Ohlson, this means continued focus on developing our various sales channels, and on further increasing these channels’ availability and integration to seamlessly meet and support customers throughout the decision-making and purchasing process.
Mobile technology is playing an increasingly important role in the lives of consumers and has revolutionised purchasing and behaviour patterns in the retail sector. For example, 77 per cent of the population in Sweden own a smartphone and 62 per cent use the Internet every day. The percentage who shop online has fallen slightly yet remains at 79 per cent, and those online shoppers are buying more. Many people use their mobile to research a purchase or to search for information when they are physically at a store.
For Clas Ohlson, this means that we have to expand our availability and develop our capacity to interact with our customers through digital channels. Digitalisation also provides us with tools to enhance understanding of customer behaviour, drive sales, build loyalty and offer service to our customers.
Source: The Swedes and the Internet 2015
Globalisation is contributing to making competition in the retail market more intense than ever before. Companies and brands are becoming international and competition more global. New e-retailers have emerged and are challenging existing companies and business models. Many companies are competing with similar ranges for the same customers and it is easier than ever to compare prices and quality.
For Clas Ohlson, this means continued efforts to strengthen our brand and our offering by developing our range and services to make them even more affordable and relevant, based on our customers and their needs.