Cyril Buxtorf: Passion for innovation, entrepreneurship – Key Values for SEB

Every second, somewhere in the world, 7 customers choose a Groupe SEB product…

The Small Domestic Appliance markets are highly dynamic – in particular in Europe. With its impressive brand and product portfolio, SEB is strategically positioned for the future, basing growth on true innovations, such as heating food processors, ultra silent cyclonic vacuum cleaners and connected multicookers. We asked Cyril Buxtorf, Executive Vice President EMEA, Groupe SEB how his company is facing up to growing price pressure.

It's primarily through product innovation that one can truly bring value and propose relevant and differentiated benefits to consumers. This leads to value creation and growth, for us and for our retail partners. This is very much part of the DNA of Groupe SEB. This innovation strategy is based on a very strong knowledge of our consumers in emerged, mature or emerging markets

What are the main characteristics of the cooking and small appliance markets at the moment and how are these markets evolving? The Small Domestic Appliance markets are very dynamic – in particular in Europe, where there is solid growth, with categories such as the heating food processor, full automat espresso, ulticooker... The energy labelling of the vacuum cleaner market has also brought some opportunities for tradingup.

What are the "sweet spots" in terms of product categories at the moment? We have strong positions and large businesses in cookware, kitchen appliances, linen-care, home cleaning and personal care appliances. Key innovations from Groupe SEB at the moment include the “Silence Force” range of vacuum cleaners, Cuisine Companion – a heating food processor, the Cookeo multi-cooker, and the Optigrill range. These product lines clearly bring value, trading up and fostering growth. Our key innovations also include several “connected” products. For example there is Actifry – the oil-less fryer, Cookeo or Cuisine Companion. On those products,we have connected versions.

How does Groupe SEB face up to mounting price pressure? In the end, as I mentioned, it's innovation that brings value. Innovation in our "road to market" is part of the answer. It includes bringing impactful contents to the e-business sites of our partners and to our own sites. On many categories, you will see 70% of the shoppers looking for information on internet. Ultimately, two thirds of those shoppers will buy in stores. Building activation plans relevant to each channel, better targeting their respective shoppers, and answering the "key success factors" relevant for each retail partner is how we want to build value.

What about in-store merchandising, promotions and training? We are proud of many category management projects we have built together with key customers and that have proven very successful over the past couple of years. These have had strong impact in terms of growth, margins and value per unit for our retail partners. All the KPI’s are very positive. These category management projects are part of what we want to build with the retailers, by bringing an interesting shopping experience to the consumer, putting in place what is needed to trade-up.

Do you have a concrete example? There are of course several, but one very successful category management project was with Carrefour in Spain, with cookware. In-store execution includes a better segmentation of the offer, accompanied with merchandising to make this segmentation clear to the shopper. SEB supported Carrefour in the implementation of this new layout. It also included training of the sales associates so they could understand the new segmentation and merchandising of the product category. It led to an acceleration of turnover, and more value, trading up the shoppers. The growth in sales was thus not just unitwise, but also in a rise of average price.

It’s innovation that brings value – proposing relevant and differentiated benefits to consumers.

What do you hope to take home from the TCG Retail Summit? Gaining the best possible insights enabling us to build even stronger partnerships with all key retailers, by more fully understanding their expectations.

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