The Swiss e-commerce company Galaxus launched its first online shop in Germany in early November in time for the brisk Christmas shopping period. Digitec Galaxus AG is the online market leader for the Swiss IT, consumer electronics and telecommunications sectors. The online retailer, which relies on a strong customer base in Switzerland, is still largely unknown in Germany. Frank Hasselmann, Managing Director of Galaxus Germany, is now aiming for greater publicity and recently opened its Germany headquarters with a seven-strong team in Hamburg’s trendy Ottensen district. In an interview with Hamburg News, Hasselmann reveals his strategy for seizing the German online market.
Hamburg News: How big is your Hamburg team at the moment?
Hasselmann: We have seven employees here in the Hamburg office at present and there should be ten by the end of the year. We plan to double the number of employees in 2019. We are building up business development, marketing and purchasing here. We made a conscious decision to develop our relationship with suppliers from Germany because we believe that the German market works differently than in Switzerland.
Hamburg News: You went live on November 1st. What is the situation like at present?
Hasselmann: We are very satisfied with the start and the initial numbers. But clearly, our shop is still in a beta phase. We deal openly with the fact that we’re still at the beginning. In a way, this is also the approach that we as a company pursue overall. We start anew every day – and learn new things.
Hamburg News: Why are only electronic articles available currently?
Hasselmann: Our first product category covers electronics, i.e. telecommunications, consumer electronics and IT. We will expand this area in breadth and depth before devoting ourselves to other categories. Digitec Galaxus grew in Switzerland with electronics. We know this category best and that is why we want to launch in Germany as well. Our goal, however, is to be a generalist in the long term, i.e. to offer many other categories such as household, toys, DIY stores and furniture in addition to electronics.
Hamburg News: Why did you choose Hamburg as your business location?
Hasselmann: Strategically speaking, Hamburg is a very interesting place for attracting the best employees who match our company both professionally and personally. Hamburg has many really good candidates in the e-commerce, media and start-up scene. We have been in contact with Hamburg Invest from the very start. They were very supportive of our search for an office.
Hamburg News: How do you intend to position Galaxus Deutschland in the tough competition with Media Markt, Amazon & Co.?
Hasselmann: We are pursuing an approach, which does not yet exist in this form in Germany. We are not only a web shop, but also a magazine and community. Our editors test and evaluate products, write background reports and explain entire product categories – independently of our suppliers. Our editors write what they think. The exchange with and between our customers i.e. community is particularly important to us. A strong community is Galaxus’ recipe for success in Switzerland and we are building on it in Germany. To give you an example: The community answers on average, three out of four questions in three hours.
Hamburg News: What are the next steps for Galaxus Germany?
Hasselmann: We start small and are developing gradually. That’s why we are focusing on electronics first and building up our product range. Quality is more important to us than quantity. We started with around 50,000 articles and will soon reach Swiss Digitec’s level of 200,000 articles. Only then will more categories follow. Our mission is to convince the first customers in Germany of our quality and to gain their trust.
Hamburg News: Thanks for the interview.
Interview by Karolin Köcher and Sarah Bischoff
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