Klöckner continues to seek e-commerce investment

E-commerce trend : Klockner share of sales via webshop 27% in Q1/2019 vs 19% in Q1/2018

In an otherwise disappointing first quarter (see separate article), one thing that went well for Germany’s Klöckner & Co was the development of its sales via e-commerce and other digital activities. The share of sales achieved via webshop has now reached a considerable 27%, up from 19% in the first quarter of 2018, ceo Gisbert Rühl said at a conference call joined by Kallanish.

The German-based distribution group has been promoting for some time the platform known as ‘Xom’ that it set has up for the wider industry to join. To make the platform really independent, Klöckner intends to lower its own stake to 25% in the long run. It is currently talking to investors and will “… close a first financing round in the coming weeks.” Rühl explained that the process of wooing investors is not all that easy because Klöckner finds itself in an untypical niche.

Normally in the IT sector, “… you have a small start-up, which then gains a corporation as investing partner,” Ruhl says. In the case of Klöckner’s Xom, this has rather worked the other way round, he adds. “It scares off venture capital firms, which shun investments [… in the situation] where a strong corporation is leading the way,” he explained. In fact, “… we did have an offer from the USA from someone who wanted to take 40% – but we could not do that because it would go against the idea of an independent platform,” he added.

Earlier this week, Klöckner announced that its digital subsidiary, iKlöckner, has intensified its cooperation with longstanding digital partner diva-e, which it describes as “… Germany’s leading Transactional Experience Partner (TXP), with a history of 20 years.“ The partnership has most recently developed the online shops into platforms through which 30 third-party vendors now sell complementary products.