Europa Star: How was 2017 for your business and what do you expect for 2018?
Eva-Kim Wempe: 2017 proved again that our business is in a disruptive phase with lots of dynamics and challenges which Wempe faced quite well, I guess. I am looking forward to the next year because in 2018 we will be able to connect significant dots in becoming a leading omni-channel jeweller.
On this point, how do you transform to adapt to a rapidly changing watch market, especially the advent of online sales?
After setting up all the relevant digital touch points, it is our main objective to serve the clients in the best possible way. Therefore adapting all our best-practice client services to a digital context and adding new ones to achieve a seamless Wempe experience is key. The customer’s needs are – as always – at the core of all our activities and part of the Wempe DNA since the beginning.
Concretely, how does this omni-channel strategy translate online? Can we buy online all of the brands you represent?
Wempe will offer all the brands we represent as soon as e-commerce is part of their individual overall business strategy. We are quite confident that the majority of our brands will follow our omni-channel path.
How important are digital sales today overall, compared to sales in physical stores?
Digital sales today are not yet as significant as one might think, but will be the most important business trigger to drive sales and services in the future. Wempe can only be relevant if we are offering digital services and sales as well as the traditional consultancy and sale in our stores. It’s about finding the perfect mix and the right balance of both.
You have expanded internationally, with stores in London, Paris and Beijing. Do you plan to keep opening stores outside Germany?
Our international expansion will surely continue as long as we identify cultural contexts in markets that really fit with the way Wempe is doing its business. It’s a very special culture of trading masterpieces of craftsmanship that is based on real appreciation and enthusiasm in the first place. We are not doing our business just for the sake of it.