During the Litium ACCELERATE customer and partner day, Didriksons was designated as the Scandinavian leader in rain and functional clothing and received the Newcomer of the Year, Customer award. During the event, journalist and e-commerce expert Urban Lindstedt interviewed the CCO of Didriksons, Anders Jentler, on stage. To a large degree, their conversation revolved around how a company with a long history and many traditions can make the move to sell more digitally and how it will affect their traditional retailers. We have compiled the highlights of this conversation.
Didriksons, established in the beginning of the twentieth century, is a well-known brand. What does it mean to work in a company with such a long history?
“It is a heritage that we are proud of and strive to preserve in the best possible way. You might think that it's a burden to be ‘old’, but instead, I think it raises us up. It is inspiring to have a genuine history that we are proud to tell people about, which results in a true anchoring in our brand.”
Though your company has been established for a long time and is well-known, it continues to grow year after year. How is that possible?
“We never would have been able to grow at this rate if we only continued to invest in traditional sporting goods commerce. We could not continue to work according to an old business model if we wanted to continue to be successful. That's why we made the decision in 2014 to invest in e-commerce. Today, digital sales make up over 50 percent of our turnover.”
What do your retailers think of your investment in e-commerce?
“We don’t ask our retailers for permission, nor do we apologize. The reason for this is that we are convinced that we are helping them sell our products by investing in e-commerce. There are a few retailers who are good at telling our history on their own websites, but most of them are entirely focused on traffic and sales. Our digital presence is a way for us to reach out and talk about what are good at, to tell of our heritage and explain what we stand for.”
“In e-commerce, the focus is often on in-depth monitoring of statistical data. Traditional retail often sells more by feel and uses the previous year’s sales results as its basis. This could possibly be a reason why traditional retailers take fewer risks, which could cause them to lose out in the long run.At Didriksons, we have been particular about harnessing existing data, and by using the real time statistics we get from e-commerce sales, our traditional retailers also benefit from our investment.”
What has been your greatest challenge in online direct sales to consumers?
“The logistics of delivering directly to customers has been a big change. This is a totally new way of managing incoming and outgoing deliveries that we have not previously encountered. The difference between delivering individual items as opposed to 150 pallets is huge...”
You have shown great enthusiasm over the release of Litium 7. In what way will the new platform help you continue growing your sales and building your brand?
“By enhancing our brand online through e-commerce, we improve conditions for our current shoppers, which is naturally important. At the same time, we are looking to become international players. Germany is our largest growth market percentage-wise. Therefore, we strive to have a stronger digital presence there. The language support offered by Litium 7 will facilitate matters enormously since our in-house resources would not be enough to manage it. Another advantage of the new platform is the improved support for planning product ranges. This is something that becomes increasingly complicated the more markets, sites and channels you work with.”
“We are also in the process of implementing a new ERP system and the first connectorwill be to Microsoft Dynamics NAV. So there is a lot about Litium 7 that coincides with what we are currently doing.”
You have previously said “We are not e-tailers.” This is a bold statement considering 50 percent of your sales are made online. What did you mean when you said that?
“What I meant was that we are not a vertical (pure) e-tailer. Our main purpose with e-commerce is to build our brand, not to drive sales. Our goal when we started up e-commerce five years ago was to build our brand – with the help of a ‘Buy’ button. This has been our strategy from day one and it is nothing we intend to change. Though it is certainly no disadvantage that the ‘Buy’ button is heavily used.”
Didriksons started as a family business, and they often say that they still are like one. Their clothes are made for the whole family. Their customers are from one to one hundred years old. Everyone needs functional garments that work all day, every day, whether it rains or not. Clothing with a timeless, classic design that works over the long term.