Catalogue or online store? Jungheinrich uses both channels to reach new groups of customers. Each has its own benefits, but if the focus is on quickly breaking into a new market segment, catalogues win hands down, according to Stefan Wissler, CEO of Jungheinrich Katalog GmbH & Co. KG.
With sales of almost EUR 2 billion and exports to around 100 countries, Jungheinrich AG is one of the world’s leading manufacturers of industrial forklift trucks and material handling equipment. Its flagship products are the world-famous yellow forklifts, but Jungheinrich offers a complete range in the field of intra-logistics, including tailor-made systems for many well known industrial customers.
New customer groups
Traditionally, the focus has been on the needs of large companies, but in recent years Jungheinrich has expanded its business to include small and medium-sized enterprises. This new drive has required brand new marketing channels. The key weapon in the battle for new market share is Jungheinrich’s PROFISHOP, a distance selling concept launched on its domestic German market in 2006. Stefan Wissler, who’s been involved from the start, explains the philosophy behind the launch of PROFISHOP.
“E-commerce really took off in other areas, and we wanted to seize the opportunity to be a pioneer in our own industry. A really effective online store would enable us to reach out to the hundreds of thousands of SMEs in Germany and its neighbouring countries,” states Stefan Wissler.
Print to push online sales
To get the planned online store up and running quickly, Stefan Wissler and his colleagues chose an unconventional solution. In combination with the launch of the online store, they simultaneously poured considerable resources into an ordinary mail order catalogue made of paper!
“We realised that the catalogue would be by far the fastest way of reaching out to the new customer groups. Once we had gained the foothold we needed, we counted on the fact that customers would also discover PROFISHOP on the internet.”
Stefan Wissler admits that at the time, the project group did not know an awful lot about either mail order or online sales, so they had to learn the hard way. However, the idea of using print to push online sales proved a huge hit. As well as getting their new online store quickly established, Jungheinrich saw sales via the paper catalogue grow at a high rate.
The catalogues and our online store are equally important to us. At the moment, we’re seeing the same growth rate in both sales channels
- Stefan Wissler
Thicker and broader
The actual sales figures are being kept under wraps, but what we do know is that every PROFISHOP catalogue since those first days has increased in size, from 140 to today’s 1 100 or more pages. The range has also broadened out considerably. Customers now have 30 000 products to choose from in the catalogue, and if that is not enough, there are another 10 000 available from the online store. In practice, a whole new business has been built up in just six years. Jungheinrich is the industry leader in terms of both catalogues and the internet.
Alongside the online store and catalogues, the company also sends out a customer magazine and uses different types of advertising both in print and on the net. Although the company may have the German word for catalogue in its name, there is very much a multimedia focus to its work. The company’s marketing department analyses all the different activities down to the minutest detail. What these analyses show is that customers use the catalogue as a source of inspiration and to gain a general overview, before often turning to the online store to actually place an order. It is also clear that, sitting on the customer’s shelf, the bright yellow PROFISHOP catalogue is an excellent reminder of the Jungheinrich brand.
“The catalogues work extremely well at trade fairs too. We always have a full palette of catalogues on our stand to hand out to visitors. It’s a real high visibility activity,” explains Stefan Wissler.
Focus on cost-efficiency
The focus of senior management is on cost-efficiency, not least when it comes to the resource-intensive catalogues. Publishing such an extensive catalogue in a run of probably some hundred thousand copies is of course a considerable investment. A close eye has to be kept on the core expenses such as printing, paper and distribution, and the company is always on the lookout for smart new solutions.
For 2012, the company decided to print its catalogue on Holmen VIEW, an uncoated printing paper whose qualities are extremely close to those offered by much more expensive papers.
“In addition to the cost benefits, we’re extremely pleased with Holmen VIEW’s printability and in particular the paper’s gloss and good colour reproduction. High quality product images are a must in this type of catalogue,” says Stefan Wissler.
The Netherlands next
Although Jungheinrich has established a strong market position with its catalogues in Germany and Austria, the business is still in a phase of expansion. March 2012 will see the company take an important new step, with the launch of the catalogue and online shop in the Netherlands. The growth strategy is simple. Since the PROFISHOP concept has met everyone’s expectations, they intend to continue on their chosen path.
“The key to success is seeing the catalogue and the online store as a single unit. Each channel supports the other. Of course the range offered by the online store is going to grow most, but the catalogue is just as important. As well as generating its own profitable business, it also drives our online sales,” concludes Stefan Wissler.
About Jungheinrich AG
The Jungheinrich Group is one of the world’s leading manufacturers of industrial forklift trucks and other material handling equipment. The company has four factories in Germany and one in China, plus its own sales offices in around 30 countries. Sales amounted to EUR 2.0 billion in 2011. The Group has over 10 000 employees and is headquartered in Hamburg.
The subsidiary Jungheinrich Katalog GmbH & Co. KG runs distance selling operations via its PROFISHOP catalogues, published in Germany, Austria and the Netherlands, and via the online store www.jh-profishop.de. The company employs 80 people.
Text: Anders Thorén
Photos: Magnus Wahman