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 can we 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 often also 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.
At Coolblue we are well positioned to help our customers make their homes smart and green. The house of the future will be smart, energy efficient, solar powered, will support EV charging, and will have an energy contract with dynamic electricity prices. By combining our product ranges, the service and installation we already provide behind the front door, and the acquisition of ServiceHouse in March 2021, we are currently building Coolblue Energy to realize this.
By owning and operating our own warehouse ourselves, we are able to continuously improve our NPS and EBITDA. We achieve a high NPS through constantly living up to our promises and improving it a little bit every day. This includes guaranteed next-day delivery 7 days a week and a high first time right. Products on the website are always in stock and we of course treat every order like our mother placed it. In short, we do everything for a smile. Moreover, this ownership allows us to fully optimize cost to serve throughout our entire supply chain; from incoming goods to storage and delivery - via our own Coolblue delivery network and our delivery partners like PostNL, bpost, and DHL. We ship to our own hubs, stores, and customers, all from a single central warehouse.
More than just a website
Coolblue is more than just a website. We enhance the customer journey with our app, expert advice from our customer service employees, and the benefits of physical touchpoints.
With the app, we fulfill unique customer needs through functionalities like augmented reality, checking your phone's compatibility with the phone case in your shopping cart, or assessing whether your WiFi signal meets the minimum requirements for certain products.
One-on-one contact with our experts can be helpful, for example when a customer wants to buy a built-in appliance. If they are not sure how to measure installation dimensions, video calling with one of our experts can provide the customer with the answers they need and prevent unnecessary returns.
Our multilingual, in-house Customer Service is available 7 days a week.
Sometimes, something extra is needed
The website, app, and customer service are there to best serve our customers. Still, we see that for some of our journeys, something extra is needed. That is why we have an expanding network of strategically located stores. Customers visit our stores to try and experience the products and get advice from an expert to help them choose the product that best suits their needs. This advice is also available on appointment. Our in-store experts can provide assistance with the use of a product, repair broken products, and help with returns.