Christian Krömer, a trained IT specialist, never actually planned to take over the family business one day. But in 2004, when a period of professional reorientation coincided with the opportunity for him and his brother to join their parents' company, Christian took the plunge. Today, he manages 110 employees in 24 branches across southern Germany.
At the beginning of the year, the nationwide lockdown hit Christian Krömer and his team at full tilt. At this low point, a conversation took place between the company and Amazon. “I have to admit that for a long time, I was extremely skeptical about selling on Amazon. After all, Amazon is one of our fiercest competitors,” recalls the entrepreneur. At the same time, the shops were full of goods and it seemed the right time to trial a new idea. The subsequent success proved it to be a good choice: “We have been selling on Amazon since March which has enabled us to take our online sales to a whole new level. Amazon has developed into one of our most important sales channels within a very short period of time."
What is the key to its success?
Christian Krömer cares very deeply about the toy industry. For many years, he has been involved as an advisory board member in the toy association ‘idee+spiel’, helping to shape the future of the industry and maintain contact with other retailers. His verdict after the first few months of the company’s presence on the Amazon marketplace: “Amazon has helped us tremendously in terms of outreach during lockdown – but also beyond that.” In general, he is very careful to make his company ready for the future. At Spielwaren Krömer everything is centralized; every branch is structured the same way and uses identical processes. Little by little, a nine-person team at headquarters deals with the company's further development, gathers ideas, plans projects and rethinks the toy trade on a daily basis.
Offline meets online and dropshipping
In the company’s branches, customers will find a combination of offline advice and online services. There are branches that display toys which are not available locally, but can be purchased via the online shop. Customers can get advice in the shop, order in the shop, delivery to the shop – offline and online being combined for the benefit of the customer. Because, just like at Amazon, they are the focus at Spielwaren Krömer; the keyword being ‘total customer obsession’. Goods ordered online are sent from the nearest branch using the company’s inventory control system or directly from the manufacturer via dropshipping.
Learn more about Amazon’s dedicated programs to support Small and Medium Business across Europe here.
Listen to Christian Krömer speak at the Amazon Academy 2021 about the experience of expanding his businesses online during the pandemic and how selling online helped him reach new markets.