In conversation with Alexandru Vlad, Selgros
The wholesale company Selgros and Schweitzer have been linked by a trusting partnership for over 12 years and various projects in different countries.
A lot has happened since the first Selgros store was founded in 1959. Transgourmet Holding now manages the activities of the Selgros Group. What visions do you have for the future of the company?
It is the perfect combination for us. Through the Transgourmet division, we mainly serve national, supra-regional customers (hotel chains, hospitals, system caterers, canteens, retirement homes, etc.). The customers of Selgros are those whose owners and/or chefs make the purchasing decisions. We actually complement each other and thus cover the entire spectrum of customers who focus on culinary delights.
Many retail companies are currently suffering from an acute shortage of staff. How do you meet this challenge internally?
It has become an art. If we succeed in correctly and accurately conveying the value of the job and the company's vision to the team, then we have a good chance of attracting, retaining and further developing employees. The so-called "employer branding" also plays a major role. Nowadays, it is more difficult to get good people on board than to acquire customers.
What role does increasing digitalization in retail play in your company?
Nowadays, nothing works without digitalization. Customers want to exchange data via digital channels, and without a functional web shop, it is impossible to imagine doing business in the B2B sector. And it will continue. In fact, for certain customer groups, online sales are already a reality. And that's just the beginning.
To date, Selgros has remodeled or redesigned numerous cash & carry stores with Schweitzer over the last 15 years. What do you and your team value about this collaboration?
Professionalism and honesty. What is promised is also delivered. And Schweitzer sometimes says "no". Few service providers do that and then you sometimes have to make difficult compromises. There is no such risk when working with you.
Have you and your team noticed an increase in sales after each renovation or remodeling project?
This is the prerequisite for any conversion. If you can't at least compensate for the added amortization through the additional turnover, then it's better not to do it. On the other hand, it will be difficult to inspire new customers in "old" stores.
Schweitzer's sister company, the retail design agency Interstore, takes the creative lead on all projects in close coordination with our customers. Did you feel involved in the design process?
It wouldn't work any other way. Ultimately, the design has to match our vision and the future type of customer. But we couldn't have done it on our own. Firstly, we need a specialist, and you are the absolute specialist. Secondly, over time you become blind to the business. Without input from the outside, you remain trapped in your own experience.