Vorwerk Germany: shops – a good complement to direct sales

The “Kobold” vacuum cleaner has become a cult classic and the “Thermomix” kitchen appliance a status symbol in the modern kitchen: the name Vorwerk is synonymous with superior products – and with direct sales. More than 622,000 employees and sales advisers in more than 70 countries work for the company, headquartered in Wuppertal. The family enterprise with 130 years of tradition is, however, equally committed to innovative technologies and multichannel sales strategies.

So as well as adding highly modern robot vacuum cleaners to the range of “Kobold” products the company has started to establish a multichannel system in 2011 to support the well-established method of direct sales by personal sales advisers. Vorwerk shops, one building block of this strategy, now rely on the Futura4POS point-of-sale software.

Separate sales channels                                                        

“We were looking for a POS software that supports our processes established as part of our multichannel strategy,” says Sascha Stenzel, Sales Manager Shops. “We regard the homecare system and the kitchen appliance as strictly separated sales channels, and they are maintained as independent sales organisations in SAP.” So one of the main requests was that customers should not be affected by this separation of product lines at the cash register. The requirement of “one receipt for the customer, two entries in the system” is fully satisfied by the Futura4POS solution. Customers will only receive one receipt - even if they purchase a Thermomix article at the same time as consumables for a vacuum cleaner. Futura4POS distributes the receipt entries to the different SAP sales organisations. This is enabled by middleware-based (Mule) communication with the SAP system. Holger Ehser, Head of IT: “The software's modular architecture and Futura's interface know-how offered the flexibility required to integrate the POS via the Mule.”

Millions of customer data

Vorwerk's successful direct sales has not only allowed the company special access to the customers but also to build a broad customer base over the past decades. For the POS software this means managing several millions of address data. The Futura4POS solution, which is equally suited for a single shop and for several hundreds of stores, offers all that is necessary for this, too. “The enormous data maintenance capacity of Futura's POS solution has convinced us,” explains Holger Ehser. “Another important aspect within the context of our new concept is that the sales advisers are still assigned to their customers and that the customers can use all sales channels.”

Entirely in line with the idea of multichannel, Vorwerk customers can order products in the shop and have them delivered home. Delivery orders are registered directly at the POS and processed in accordance with the data.

Product advertising at the POS

When introducing the shops, the well-organised user interface of the Futura POS has proven to be very helpful. “Our staff in the shops were able to use the POS functions very quickly”, says Sascha Stenzel. Vorwerk also benefits from the option offered by Futura4POS of an additional customer display opposite of the POS monitor. A slide show outlines the quality features of the product the customer is purchasing.

“For a direct sales company such as Vorwerk, with a targeted multichannel strategy, Futura made it possible to flexibly customise the standard version of the POS software so that it perfectly suits our needs, of which sales with customer reference is just one example,” Holger Ehser explains.