Customer focus instead of discount battles
Customer Focus

Customer focus instead of discount battles

MACHALKE have made a name for themselves with premium sofas. And they are not about discount battles in store, but instead want to meet their customers’ needs. That’s why the traditional brand will only be available online in future, and only on otto.de. As Managing Director of Neofacture Furniture, Hubertus Kläs is responsible for MACHALKE’s fate - and he explains how the exclusive partnership with OTTO came about.

1/14/2019 By Kathrin Wittig Reading time: 3 Minutes
Furniture - a large proportion of Germans still buy it the old fashioned way, specifically offline, in a furniture store. Online, the share is still under 10 percent. And this is a growing trend. To have premium furniture brands exclusively on the net and no longer in so-called stationary retail is therefore very unusual. MACHALKE is now going precisely this way. From now on the models from the premium sofa manufacturer and leather specialist will only be available online. And at the biggest player in the German online furniture market, OTTO.

Only offering furniture online and giving up stationary retail entirely is very unusual. Why have you decided to do this?

With a few breaks, I have worked in the furniture market for around 25 years and I have watched with great attention and even greater astonishment the continual decline of stationary retail... particularly in Germany, MACHALKE’s core market.

Why?

The stationary furniture industry mainly revolves around itself - the needs of the customer appear to play no role at all any more. Inflationary discount battles do the opposite of what they are intended for. They lead directly to reduced consumption. Why should a consumer buy something today that they can probably get cheaper tomorrow?

“The stationary furniture industry mainly revolves around itself - the needs of the customer appear to play no role at all any more.”

Hubertus Kläs, Managing Director of Neofacture Furniture

And even if, as a manufacturer, we passionately develop new and innovative products, this is no longer appreciated. Many buyers in stationary retail don’t even look at new products any more. People prefer to only talk to the suppliers about discounts, conditions and price reductions. And very simply, I don’t want to waste my time with that any more.

Why did you choose OTTO as a partner?

I value the ‘Hanseatic model’ of doing business with OTTO very much, the calmness, composure and durability of the trade impress me.

Add to that the fact that, from my perspective, OTTO is the most efficient and innovative company in online furniture retail. And last but not least, I trust OTTO the most to redefine the premium segment for online retail.

OTTO at world’s biggest furniture fair

As the most successful online furniture retailer in Germany, OTTO is appearing again this year at the international Furniture and furnishings trade fair imm cologne (14th to 20th January). The focus is on very modern technologies like Computer Generated Imagery and a visit from Furniture and Fashion Designer Guido Maria Kretschmer. The 215 m2 large stand is directly in front of Hall 7. The public days start on Friday (18th January). If you have questions, Anne Remy is the right contact partner.

How do MACHALKE and OTTO fit together?

Both brands stand for the optimal combination of tradition and innovation. The wishes of the customer take priority. And the strategic goals of both brands complement one

another. OTTO is claiming the ever stronger premium segment in online retail for themselves and MACHALKE has found the ideal partner in OTTO to ensure that in the shortest period of time the loyal fans of ‘their’ brand can find them again.

As part of IMM 2018, you already said “After a complete restart, MACHALKE is back” - how has the brand developed further in the last year?

In 2018 we made considerable efforts in the area of product developments. Since 2017, our product development has been based in our development centre in Wolfsburg, where technically innovative products have been developed for the automobile industry for decades. And at the same time, very experienced employees from leading German upholstery furniture manufacturers were appointed there, who run this product development today.

We have developed a total of nine new product families, which are judged by all our specialists to be ‘typically MACHALKE’.

Machalke (c) model "Madison"

How do you define ‘typically MACHALKE’?

That means that MACHALKE continues to claim the title ‘world champion of cubism’.

Let’s take a look forward. What do you hope to achieve from the cooperation this year? And further into the future?

In phase 1 we will take care to ensure that all MACHALKE product lines go live on otto.de. In phase 2 we will plan a brand identity with OTTO, which will set new standards with regard to technical innovation. And you can be sure that the already planned phases 3 and 4 will be no less exciting.

Contact

Kathrin Wittig
Communications Manager

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