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Case
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Reference no. 520-0152-1
Subject category: Marketing
Authors: Daniele Scarpi (Fondazione Bologna University Business School); Annamaria Cofano (Fondazione Bologna University Business School)
Originally published in: 2020
Version: 7-Dec-2020
Revision date: 05-Mar-2021
Length: 10 pages
Data source: Field research

Abstract

This case focuses on a large retailer for consumer electronics selling mostly offline before the COVID-19 Pandemic. Then, the crisis forced stores to open for a limited number of hours and implement measures to avoid crowding. Furthermore, consumers feared contagion. As a result, online sales surged for nearly all retailers. For Unieuro, the balance shifted from 10% sold online, and 90% offline to 50%-50%. Several employees were shifted to follow online orders. The case starts around the end of the first lockdown due to the COVID-19 Pandemic. Now that Unieuro has successfully managed the Pandemic, by quickly moving online, it becomes clear that the current 50-50 balance is hard to be maintained. There are two main options to be discussed here: to decrease the share of online sales, forfeiting in part the gains made during the Pandemic but leveraging on the offline stores, where Unieuro is strong in up-selling and customer assistance. Or to somewhat increase the online sales, leveraging on the better customer information provided by the analytics (see Table TN.2), on the lower managing costs of the website, and the growing trend of e-Commerce. What is interesting is that no option is a win-win because both channels have mixed advantages and disadvantages here, and they seem to target different customer segments. The latter part of the case reports some of the performance metrics of Unieuro online and reports on consumers' perceptions.This is an interesting case about topical retailing issues faced by companies such as Unieuro and Bestbuy, which opens up opportunities for students to focus on ever-green questions: How to define the right balance between online and offline sales? What role to give to the offline stores: leading or ancillary? What shopping experience do offline stores and the website offer? What actions to put in place, concretely?

Teaching and learning

This item is suitable for undergraduate, postgraduate and executive education courses.

Time period

The events covered by this case took place in 2020.

Geographical setting

Region:
Europe
Country:
Italy
Location:
Bologna

Featured company

Unieuro
Employees:
1001-5000
Turnover:
EUR 2,500,000,000
Type:
Privately held
Industry:
Retail (on-line and physical)
Other keywords:
Consumer electronics

Featured protagonist

  • Giancarlo Nicosanti Monterastelli (male), CEO

About

Abstract

This case focuses on a large retailer for consumer electronics selling mostly offline before the COVID-19 Pandemic. Then, the crisis forced stores to open for a limited number of hours and implement measures to avoid crowding. Furthermore, consumers feared contagion. As a result, online sales surged for nearly all retailers. For Unieuro, the balance shifted from 10% sold online, and 90% offline to 50%-50%. Several employees were shifted to follow online orders. The case starts around the end of the first lockdown due to the COVID-19 Pandemic. Now that Unieuro has successfully managed the Pandemic, by quickly moving online, it becomes clear that the current 50-50 balance is hard to be maintained. There are two main options to be discussed here: to decrease the share of online sales, forfeiting in part the gains made during the Pandemic but leveraging on the offline stores, where Unieuro is strong in up-selling and customer assistance. Or to somewhat increase the online sales, leveraging on the better customer information provided by the analytics (see Table TN.2), on the lower managing costs of the website, and the growing trend of e-Commerce. What is interesting is that no option is a win-win because both channels have mixed advantages and disadvantages here, and they seem to target different customer segments. The latter part of the case reports some of the performance metrics of Unieuro online and reports on consumers' perceptions.This is an interesting case about topical retailing issues faced by companies such as Unieuro and Bestbuy, which opens up opportunities for students to focus on ever-green questions: How to define the right balance between online and offline sales? What role to give to the offline stores: leading or ancillary? What shopping experience do offline stores and the website offer? What actions to put in place, concretely?

Teaching and learning

This item is suitable for undergraduate, postgraduate and executive education courses.

Settings

Time period

The events covered by this case took place in 2020.

Geographical setting

Region:
Europe
Country:
Italy
Location:
Bologna

Featured company

Unieuro
Employees:
1001-5000
Turnover:
EUR 2,500,000,000
Type:
Privately held
Industry:
Retail (on-line and physical)
Other keywords:
Consumer electronics

Featured protagonist

  • Giancarlo Nicosanti Monterastelli (male), CEO

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