Gruppo LUBE celebrates 500 stores in Italy
Treia, october 2020. This is a highly significant moment for Gruppo LUBE, as it celebrates an important milestone with emotion and pride: the opening in Italy of 500 single-brand stores. This objective has been achieved in just five years, thanks to constant and enthusiastic teamwork. The LUBE and CREO Kitchens single-brand store project has been studied right down to the smallest details and it has allowed Gruppo LUBE to achieve a position of leadership on the Italian market, with a 10.9% share in the kitchens sector.
This position has been obtained by pursuing the path of specialisation, since, as emphasised by the CEO, Fabio Giulianelli: “After the major crisis from 2009 to 2011, it became necessary, almost imperative, to change the distribution mechanism adopted up until then. During that period, with a price war going on, there was a deluge of bankruptcies, because the need to sell something with values other than an affordable price had not matured yet; we had yet to understand that it was necessary to sell quality and, above all, specialisation in a specific product. This was the background against which we devised the project to create dedicated stores specialising in the sale of kitchens only, stores in which the final customer could sense with certainty that the best kitchens available were present there. This type of proposal was the true revolution in distribution. We changed the patterns of a store as conceived before and, as a consequence, we created a store with a name based on the one of the owners, a store with a single name linked to our company brand”.
Focusing attention on a replicable and recognisable distribution format, and no longer on an individual model, was the successful strategy that allowed Gruppo LUBE to become the undisputed leader on its market, with both the Cucine LUBE stores and the Creo Kitchens stores, the latter of which offer a valid and quality alternative to what is offered by the LSRT channel.
Mr. Giulianelli continued: “At the same time, we decided to create a further distribution network that would complete the offer of Gruppo LUBE and to accompany the Cucine LUBE brand products with a range of kitchens that would capture an extremely important segment of consumers, those who seek a product at an affordable price but with guaranteed quality: that is how the idea of Creo Kitchens was born”.
2020 has been a particularly difficult year for everyone, but not even the health emergency has slowed the pace of new openings and, on the contrary, has confirmed the validity of a concept that has become even more present and popular precisely over these last few months. In fact, in the first quarter of 2020 alone, a full thirty stores have been inaugurated and new openings in Italy will continue at a pace of two or three a week up until the end of the year.
The unexpected arrival of the Covid-19 emergency certainly changed everything, forcing a sudden reorganisation of the structure and the rules of the store, but the pandemic also brought a set of precise and valuable indications on how to proceed over the coming years.
What has been learned is that it is no longer necessary to have really large stores, in which new products risk becoming lost, and it is better to have a smaller structure that is frequently renewed with a showcase that is always fresh and attractive and clearly communicates the new trends.
Furthermore, the safety regulations have changed the rules and offered a major opportunity for reserved appointments, a system that rationalises the flow of customers and simultaneously creates a more exclusive service, as the customer will have the pleasure of having all the time dedicated to them and of being assisted with particular attention. The visit to the store and the in-store purchasing experience, which will always remain central and essential, are now accompanied by a wider use of digital technologies, both as a support for sales and in enhancing listening and virtual dialogue with the final customer, partly through a more targeted use of social media.
“With our project, we revolutionised the concept of a store that focused on the sale but not on quality and created a store where making a purchase is a gesture of belonging”, continues Fabio Giulianelli. “That is where we came up with the concept of Being LUBE, which is a company philosophy for us and which has lead to the customer becoming a central and decisive factor for the sale. It is the reason why we focus on services right from the beginning of the purchasing process, starting with design and ending with the search for the best professional skills in assembly, the last step in our company mission”.
The Store is and will always remain the focal point for Gruppo LUBE; the emotion and the memorable purchasing experience, together with the ability to listen and understand the needs of our customers by assisting them, step by step, will continue to be the cornerstones of the business strategy of the Marche-based company in the future, because the milestone of 500 stores is just the beginning of a new chapter in the story of a family business that started over 50 years ago.