You might have a Rowenta vacuum cleaner, a Moulinex blender or a Tefal frying pan, and probably the slogan “Tefal, ideas you can’t live without” sounds familiar to you. It is behind all those brands where we find Groupe Seb, the French producer, international in scope, of small domestic equipment, kitchen products for the home and for professional brands.
Groupe Seb operates in nearly 150 countries where 33,000 employees are involved. Currently, it has a unique portfolio of 31 top brands among which are the already mentioned Tefal, Rowenta, Moulinex and other such as Krups and Super. It was 15 years ago when Groupe Seb bet on its own retail stores, managing to have more than 1,300 today.
One of the divisions with more desire of physical stores expansion is Poland. Here, Karol Turek leads 24 stores as the Head of Retail, as well as three new projects. Despite of the online business growth, Turek is a great advocate of innovation and foresees that, thanks to it, expects to reach 55 stores in the country during 2021.
I am the Head of Retail in Poland and Ukraine, and maybe in the future also in the Baltic States: Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania. My main responsibility is to provide a good place to work for my team. The second most important is to develop the business: new stores and new growth models.
I have been working here for 10 years now. It is a great place to work and I am not considering any change. It is a pleasure to work with great people and that is why I am still here after 10 years.
In total, I have more than 20 years of experience in retail. From the beginning, I was devoted to it. I have been Regional Manager in fashion stores as Esprit in Poland, and Operations Manager for brands such as River Island and Hugo Boss. My last company was a master business in franchises. We operated internationally with different brands. I started as a Store Manager, Regional Manager, Operations Manager and finally I made it to Groupe Seb 10 years ago. Everything was pure retail.
My dream and goal is having at least 50 Tefal stores In Poland and have them operating pretty much as Apple Stores. We are not only a place where you can just buy products but also a place where we provide a really positive customer experience. We help the client if they have any problem.
The main reason of our growth is that the company wants to develop digitally for the online as well as for the offline customer. We want to create an omnichannel atmosphere. We believe that the pandemic is a good opportunity to realize that the online store fills some gaps, but at the end, our clients are everywhere and we have to be there, providing them the best customer experience.
Our clients are everywhere and we have to be there, providing them the best customer experienceKarol Turek, Head of Retail at Groupe Seb Poland
On the one hand, that in Poland there are not producers with their own retail sales points. We are the only ones. You cannot find Philips or Bosh stores. They have some vendors, but it is not the same business model.
On the other hand, and this applies to all the countries, that we have two legs of the business. One is the cookware and the other is the research, development and innovation business. From the retail point of view, it is important because in our stores you can find anything you want for your home: from frying pans and utensils to the most innovative electronic products. This gives the employee a great opportunity to provide for a complete shopping experience to equip and be there for the customer.
Some years ago, I decided to open a small store in a mall in Poland with only kitchen accessories. I thought I would be interesting for the client and it ended up being a great lesson for me. Unfortunately, it failed because our customers look for a big offer of products. And that differentiates us from our competitors.
The retail worldwide image represents between 7% to 10% of total sales. In Poland we sell in-store around 20%. We are the third country, after Japan and Tukey, with the biggest in-store business. If we compare our numbers with countries like France or Germany, the rate is lower, but regarding the country size, we are the third.
Furthermore, talking about size and performance inside Groupe Seb, Poland is a modern country. We have solutions, such us our cooperation with ORQUEST. Nobody else started something like it. We are usually the first country trying new ideas and business models. We have a lot of experience in the past, not all of them are positive, but I can say that Poland is an incubator of new ideas. And a lot of countries follow our example.
First of all, our company is not focused on retail. That is why, technologically, if you compare us with a pure retail player, we do not have a system focused on supporting this business route. On the other hand, and connected, our system of daily operations is in full process of transformation. After 10 years, we are seeing results.
From a business point of view, the biggest challenge is attracting customers to our stores the the same the moment when online business continues growing.
If there are closed stores, there are not sales, bonus and so on. And we have to make sure that they have what they need because our people are the most importantKarol Turek, Head of Retail at Groupe Seb Poland
We have been almost three months in lockdown. Some of our stores were closed. We still had expenses but our benefits were low. It is a big challenge and we should make sure that we support our employees. If there are closed stores, there are not sales, bonus and so on. And we have to make sure that they have what they need because our people are the most important.
On the bright side, the pandemic also brought new opportunities to develop the e-commerce, and negotiate better rental fees, new premises for our stores. I want to take advantage of this time to open new stores in the best conditions.
Our main goal is having a 100 NPS (Net Promoter Score). Last year, we made a survey to our customers and realized that the level is really high. We want to establish this level in all our stores and go even further. There is no chance of having happy and loyal customers without happy and loyal employees.
That is why I am so proud. Only a few days ago we received the results of a motivation survey to our employees that position my department in the Top20 companies best consider for working. This was one of my goals when I started 10 years ago, and we achieved it. And that is absolutely positive for customer experience.
Our mission is constantly improving. I believe the development of the Poland business has three very important things. One is the organic growth: what to do to increase traffic, conversion rate and average ticket. Second are new stores. And third, new business models. Maximizing effectiveness is our day a day.
We are already witnessing a digital transformation in the sector that will be really important for companies since pandemic. Thinking of the future. We need to be in that transformation. If not, the business will drop in a few years.
In the own sector in Poland, top companies are investing a lot of money in technology and new solutions. Some of those companies started this process 3 years ago and they benefited already for it. Furthermore, person to person business is something that all the companies should have in the future.
Yes, yes and yes. Groupe Seb Poland is getting ready for the future, and that is one of the reasons why I am still here after 10 years.