With everything we do at Coolblue, we keep our 2 goals in mind: setting the bar for customer-centric entrepreneurship and creating value. They are of equal importance and in practice, we see that they reinforce each other.
NPS & EBITDA
In order to realize our goals, we measure everything, because only then we can understand and exceed the customer’s expectations. Using value trees, we map out the impact of every underlying driver of the Net Promoter Score (NPS) and Earnings Before Interest, Taxes, Depreciation, and Amortization (EBITDA). This approach enables us to optimize every step of our product journeys, either by adding value or by reducing costs. Although optimizing NPS and EBITDA might seem like 2 contradictory goals, they actually reinforce each other in practice. In other words, making customers happy not only leads to customers coming back more often and recommending us to others, but is also often the most cost-effective approach on an operational level.
The most customer-centric product journey
In order to truly make a difference for our customers and stand out in our market, we offer customer-centric product journeys instead of only competing on picture, price, and button. We develop product journeys from start to finish that make the customer happy. In every step of these product journeys, we want to exceed the customer’s expectations and maximize the service we can offer. To achieve this, we have built our own infrastructure in the Netherlands, Belgium, and Germany, which consists of, among others, our own delivery network, installation services, bike network, and stores.
Per product type, we select the elements of our infrastructure that support the underlying needs of the customers and implement them in the product journey. The result is the most customer-centric product journey, in which we can add value and reduce costs in every step.
To demonstrate how we do this, an example is given for our customer-centric product journeys for washing machines, televisions, and laptops.
The most customer-centric product journey for washing machines
A customer usually buys a new washing machine because their current appliance broke down. They need it quickly, but cannot transport an 80-kilogram appliance themselves, and have to be home for delivery. To fulfill these needs, we have our 2-man delivery service, CoolblueDelivers. Through our real-time route planning, we even offer the customer the choice of a time slot for delivery and installation, every day of the week, including evenings.
During the chosen time slot, real Coolblue delivery drivers place and install the appliance where the customer needs it, even if this is on the 4th floor or in their basement. Our delivery drivers also bring external components for installation from our own BlueBuilt brand, which they can instantly supply if the customer needs them.
Creating circular value
If the customer wants us to, we take their old appliance back with us to process it in an environmentally friendly way. We recycle and refurbish the disposed appliances in order to create circular value.
The most customer-centric product journey for televisions
The journey for televisions is one that heavily relies on the experience of the product. First of all, the customer needs to find the right size. To help them assess whether the television suits the location the customer has in mind, we have built an in-app augmented reality functionality. With it, a customer can virtually place televisions in their home to assess what size would fit best.
Integrating online and offline
On top of the size, the customer also needs to determine what image quality they want. To this end, we offer an elaborate explanation of the corresponding technical acronyms on our website. Still, we understand that the customer might prefer to assess the image quality with their own eyes, which they can do in our stores.
Through our website, the customer can schedule an appointment with our television experts, who are trained to help them choose the right size and image quality. These experts also explain which peripheral equipment, such as a soundbar or wall mount, would allow the customer to enjoy their television even more. Once the customer has chosen the best television for them, we deliver and install the television through our 1-man delivery and installation service. Along with any peripheral equipment, of course.
The most customer-centric product journey for laptops
A customer usually starts browsing for a new laptop once their current laptop is becoming slower. Understanding what specifications best meet their needs often requires expert knowledge. And even with a thorough understanding of the options and specifications, it still is not always clear which laptop best suits the customer’s specific needs.
Data-driven laptop configurations
To ensure that the customer can find the best laptop for their needs, we have product experts who analyze customer feedback every day to determine what a customer really wants and needs. Based on their findings, we design and offer built-to-order laptops for every use case, such as gaming, video editing, or text editing. These laptops are sold exclusively at Coolblue and, like all laptops in our assortment, come with free antivirus software. The best laptops per use case can easily be found, thanks to the “Coolblue’s Choice” label.
Bike delivery network
Once the customer has found their laptop, they can choose whether they want to pick it up at our stores, or have it delivered to their home during a specified time slot. In and around major cities, we deliver them with our own bike delivery service. Delivery by bike is of course not only green, but also reduces our cardboard consumption thanks to the paper shipping bags we use for bike orders, and it improves our visibility in these areas.
Scalability of customer-centric entrepreneurship
There is more to organizing customer-centric product journeys than just the physical infrastructure. Behind the scenes, we have 6,000 Coolbluers who make these journeys a little bit better every day. Additionally, we continue to improve and expand the software and technology we have built in house, which allows us to continuously test and optimize every part of the product journey. Through this approach, we are able to successfully scale and expand customer-centric product journeys internationally and branch out into adjacent services, such as business journeys and energy solutions.
We already offered our products and services to many businesses. However, with working from home and hybrid working becoming the new standard, a new line of business customers needs has arisen. We fulfill these needs through our Home Office Store proposition, which allows business customers to provide their employees with the right equipment for a comfortable home office. In their personalized Coolblue environment, they can determine the amount of shopping credit and the assortment they offer their employees, ranging from sit-stand desks to headsets. Our infrastructure enables us to deliver and install all products where and when desired.
Within our product journeys, we observe that customers want to consume less energy. For example, energy consumption is the most frequently used filter on our white goods pages and we see a large demand for Coolblue solar panels and charging stations. That is why we will launch Coolblue Energy, through which we will help customers reduce their energy consumption. Because that is the only way to be truly green and save on energy costs.
End-to-end solution for energy consumption
With the introduction of Coolblue Energy, we will be better able to provide the customer with an end-to-end solution to reduce their consumption. The customer can use CO2-compensated gas and electricity that is generated through Dutch solar and wind energy. To help Coolblue Energy customers save energy, we will give them advice and a discount on energy-efficient and energy-saving products. And on Coolblue solar panels and charging stations, of course.
These are our core values. They describe who we are, what we represent, what unites us, and how we interact. Our core values define our culture and help us make choices for the future. We use these values for every decision, no matter how small, to see if it would suit us or not.
We are proud of our real, unconventional Coolbluers. That is why they appear on our websites and in our commercials, just the way they are.
Being unconventional means that Coolbluers can and dare to be themselves, regardless of whether they are outgoing or a little more quiet. Although this may sound contradictory, it is precisely this unconventionality that unites us.
We are all doing this for the first time. We might not have all the answers right away, but we will surely try. Because only by doing what no one has done before we can be truly unconventional.
People who are true to themselves are hard to copy. That is why we always ask ourselves with everything we create whether it really suits us. If we were to cover our logo and the remainder cannot be recognized as Coolblue, it needs to be more unconventional.
There are few companies where so many colleagues are friends as well. Friendship is our strength because together, we know more, we can achieve more, and we have more fun.
People take notice. Such as our customers, who happily visit us again and our suppliers, who view us as long-term partners. We are always honest and direct, even if it is difficult at times. We keep our promises and we are open to feedback.
Friendship can only prosper between equals. That is why ties are the least-common item worn at Coolblue, why Coolbluers honestly speak their minds, and why we are always honest, direct, and open to our customers.
Go for it
Our no-nonsense, entrepreneurial attitude can be phrased in many ways. Less talk, more action. Actions speak louder than words. At Coolblue, we simply refer to this attitude as go for it.
An idea only becomes valuable when given a follow-up. We got to where we are now by preferring immediate action over endless discussions and by doing things a little bit better every day. We improve step by step and detail after detail. Not everything works the first time around, but we take the risk and go for it. We make mistakes and learn from tehm. Them.
We are constantly changing, either because we can or because we have to. Coolblue has had a flexible structure from the start to support our rapid growth. ‘This is how we have always done it’ is never a valid reason for us.
Our flexibility shows in our Coolbluers who do not mind working with a sudden change of plans or team. It also shows in Coolbluers who continue to learn outside of their own expertise. And lastly, our flexibility is reflected by the systems we build that can handle twice the expected load.
Flexibility is also key in our obsessive focus on customer satisfaction. We gladly go the extra mile for our customers and are convinced that exceptions exist to be made. ‘Just because’ is also a valid reason to us.
The words simply amaze appear to be contradictory, but describe exactly who we are as Coolblue: both unconventional and down-to-earth.
The term simply speaks volumes. We have simply built a straightforward website where customers can quickly and easily place an order. We then simply package that order in a box and simply ship it to our customers. For free, of course.
Amaze means that we need to exceed expectations and that we need to go the extra mile to surprise our customers, to make them smile. A smile might be a common gesture, but it often requires something amazing.