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Hans Malmaeus: "All retailers will have to be able to be more efficient and work more online"

Hans Malmaeus, President, Big Baby


Hans Malmaeus is the President and co-owner of Big Baby, a babycare products retailer from Stockholm, with two stores in the Swedish capital, as well as an online store. Malmaeus speaks to us about the Swedish market, with parents concerned about quality and security, and also stresses the importance of reaching the multi-channel consumer. 

Please give us a brief introduction about Big Baby.
Big Baby started in 2009 just north of Stockholm. It is Stockholm's largest baby retailer with around 1000 m2 + webshop. In December we opened our second store just south of Stockholm, also around 1000 m2. We have around 22 employees and a estimated turnover 2014 of €5 million.

What are Big Baby’s strengths when interacting with customers?
Big Baby has a limited but well thought through product range. We only carry products we can stand for to 100%. Our range consists of only around 2,500 products. We also have a high staff rate to really have capacity to care of customers in a personal and professional way. Typically we have twice the staff rate compared to warehouses or large toy retailers.

What are the most popular categories in Big Baby?
Our largest brands are Bugaboo, Brio and Kronan strollers, Britax and Maxi-Cosi car seats. Other large suppliers are Baby Björn, Avent, Tomee Tippee, and Chicco.

What are your product standards when deciding your store offer?
We only carry high quality products that we and our staff can confidently sell. We put priority to customer confidence rather than our margins.

What criteria do you take into account when showing your product at the store?
We like new, innovative products. We don’t not like products that are sold mainly mass market.

What additional services do you offer in the store? How are customers responding to these services?
We offer to assemble all stroller, to install all car seats in car at no additional cost. It creates customer buzz, loyalty and in the end sales.

Who are your customers? What factors affect the most their purchase decision?
Sweden is too small to cater to very special customer groups. We have to cater to all parents but have a up-market focus (focus on high end products rather than low-price products).

What are the main differences between your online and offline stores? How do you promote both channels?
We do not differentiate between on- and off line. Prices are the same, we have price guarantee against all on line stores. A customer can buy online and return in store etc. In the future I believe on-and off line sales will have to be integrated. The winners are physical stores with good online presence. On- and offline should be integrated and complement each other. There is no conflict between on- and offline.

How do you manage the Big Baby’s membership? What are the main characteristics of your CRM?
We register all customers with purchases over €100. We make e-mail info monthly. We do not have a good bonus system but are working on it.

How is the Sweeden babycare market and which are the main differences with other European countries?
Sweden's economy is in relatively good shape. People are safety conscious and willing to pay for good products. We do however have a lot of online competition from UK, Germany and Holland on more expensive products (such as Bugaboo).

In your opinion, which could be the most significant trends in European baby care market?
Large stores become larger and small stores have to specialize or disappear. Price pressure will continue and all retailers will have to be able be more efficient and work more online.

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