Since October 2011, mom-and-pop’s grandchildren (in German: “Tante Emmas Enkel“ after the German term “Tante Emma Laden“ for a mom-and-pop store), provide a timeless shopping experience. Associates dressed in green aprons, simple wooden wall shelves, paper bags and a “parlor“ on the sales floor provide a rustic ambiance. The whole thing is paired with modern technology and an online shop. This way, nothing is standing in the way of shopping through all channels. Sebastian Diehl, one of the two founders of “Emmas Enkel“ (Emma’s Grandchildren), tells us more about the idea behind the store.
What makes the concept of Emmas Enkel so special?
That’s clearly our multi-channel approach. It was crucial for us to provide every customer with a shopping channel that best suits his/her present life situation and to make it very usable. At our store, you can stop by, shop on location, and take your purchases with you; you can also order online and have the items delivered; you can order online and pick the items up in the store or you can also buy at the store and have things delivered to you. The concept is as flexible as anyone may need at the time.
We already had this idea a long time ago when the mom-and-pop stores here at home in Germany kept disappearing. Back then, it really bothered Benjamin Brüser, with whom I cofounded Emmas Enkel and me that these beautiful authentic stores eventually had disappeared. Of course, there were good reasons why they became extinct. They simply were no longer up to date. Thanks to our studies and work experience abroad, the distance to Germany had led us to the idea to reinterpret a mom-and-pop store or small corner store, which still works as a concept in other countries with a little more zest.
When ecommerce emerged, it made sense to combine the store concept with an online shop. Once mobile commerce joined the mix, we said to ourselves it’s now or never.
What is the percentage of online and retail store sales?
Generally, this is not a real indicator for us. We view these channels as equal to each other. At the moment, it also really is that way. We sell just over 50% online and a little less offline. However, this is also because on average there are more online purchases than offline purchases. Sometimes our customers also shop online and then offline again.
Many customers first stop by at the store to gain trust in our products. Once they have seen that our fruit is really fresh and the refrigerated display case looks like you actually want to buy products that need refrigeration from there, they also order online. Another aspect that is just as important as trust is that people usually want to have groceries the same day and when you buy online, you also want to get everything at once: the beverages, the fruit and vegetables and also the frozen foods. In pure online retail, this presents some issues of course. This is why we favor this multi-channel approach to be able to offer everything from one source.
What differences do you see in online shopping between men and women? Are your categories in the online shop aimed at this?
Women prefer to look around and like to get inspired. Men actually prefer to use the search function and look specifically for the product on their shopping list. We are prepared for both cases. We have categories and themes, respectively, you can shop by, like for instance soccer, barbecue and chill, girls’ night out or spontaneous visit.