More than 80 million smartphones are currently in circulation all over Europe. People are increasingly taking the opportunity to use their mobile devices to browse and purchase goods online at times and in places that suit them.
For all of them, Courlux is an important address. The Swiss company claims to offer the best value for money when it comes to online shopping. Courlux offers a wide range of products to customers all over Europe.
“As an internationally operating mail-order business, it is crucial to be extremely flexible,” stresses Managing Director Lars Enström. “Our market is extraordinary dynamic with ever-changing conditions. We need to strictly follow the market and its needs – in good times and in bad times. This is the reason why over the years, Courlux’s portfolio has consistently changed. Change is the only constant element in this business.”
Today, Courlux has a workforce of 37 employees and turns over 34 million CHF. Its product portfolio differentiates between the divisions socks, underwear, shaving products, jewellery and cosmetics. “Ten years ago, the product range was completely different,” says Mr. Enström. “It has consistently changed according to market trends and needs.”
Courlux benefits from its own warehouse of 5,000 m² where goods are sent to different international destinations. Around 30,000 parcels can leave the site each day. Belgium, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, Hungary, Norway, the Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia and Sweden are the company’s core markets.
Germany is about to follow. “We send products to 13 different countries in Europe,” adds Mr. Enström. “Customers can order once or on the basis of an interval, which means that every three or six months they automatically get new pairs of socks by mail, which can be quite handy. This service is appreciated a lot. We generally put a lot of emphasis on customer services. We truly believe that satisfied customers are the best marketing instrument. We want to work efficiently and keep up the quality of being responsive. This is the reason why all processes are highly automated. We do not work with papers anymore, but everything is computerized.”
Courlux’s products are made by selected partners; this way the company knows that certain quality standards are ensured. “Products are often door-openers, which allow distributing other products as well,” says Mr. Enström. “We continuously extend the range and address literally Mr. and Ms. Everybody; it always depends on the products themselves. People ordering underwear are different to those ones ordering socks or jewellery.”
Highlights of the range are bamboo socks that entice with business many natural qualities. They are especially soft and gentle to sensitive skin and three to four times more absorbent than cotton, keeping feet fresh and dry.
Although, offering good products is not enough these days. “The market is very competitive, and there are huge differences in terms of prices. At the moment we are affected by the strong Swiss franc, which makes exportation activities really difficult. The strong franc makes exports more expensive and weakens companies’ competitiveness. We try to increase prices, but this is not always possible. Margins are decreasing, but we stick to our business strategy. Furthermore, we buy in dollars and get the currencies of the different countries. On the other side, we pay salaries in Swiss francs. The market is continuously in motion. While a few years ago, Nordic countries had been extremely strong, today, Poland is a powerful player.”
Still, some things never change. Courlux is well-respected because it has always offered good value for money. Its products are of good quality and so is the service. Last not least, the company regularly introduces new products and is open to new ideas.
“We have the capacities to ship 30,000 parcels per day,” stresses Mr. Enström. “At the moment, we sent 15,000 to 20,000, which means that we can still grow. And we want to grow. Our credo has always been to focus on customers only. We depend on them, and without them we could simply not exist. We are consistently working on new product ideas and new markets to further strengthen our position. Currently, we work out perspectives of the German market, which is highly interesting for us. We cannot wait to see how our business will develop in our neighbouring country.”