10/05/2012

Ur & Penn, Sweden’s largest chain store selling watches, with some 90 stores, has chosen Viametrics as the supplier for its customer counting system. “We thoroughly tested three suppliers but we finally chose Viametrics, because they have sound technology, good support and can provide easily accessible and clear reports. Moreover, they understand the business, they are well-informed and committed. These were the decisive factors”, says Sven-Olov Johansson Director of Operations and Expansion. “A demanding customer, like Ur & Penn, means we can consider ourselves as one of the foremost suppliers of visitor counting systems anywhere, not just in Sweden”, says Niklas Andersson, Marketing Manager for Viametrics.

Best location, best service, best products, best prices
Ur & Penn can be found in more than 90 locations across Sweden, most of which are wholly-owned. In addition, four stores recently opened in Finland and there are future expansion plans in Scandinavia. The chain has a turnover of around MSEK 380 and around 500 employees. The owner for the last ten years has been Klockgrossisten i Norden, KIN. The focus is on fashion items at a low price, with the emphasis on watches, but also other types of fashion jewellery. “We want to pick up on fashion trends at an early stage, and watches today are more about fashion, which many people use to reinforce their personal style”, says Sven-Olov Johansson. The most common customers are fashion-interested women between 15 and 35 years old.” Sven-Olov Johansson points out that Ur & Penn’s range can be categorised as impulse and spontaneous buys. “For this reason, it is important that they are always in the best location, that our level of service is unbeatable, and that we have the most interesting products and the best prices,” he says.

Which stores are better than others and what can we learn from this?
A high level of service is an essential element in the business concept and an important competitive advantage. Therefore, it is also important to be able to measure this. It is all about the number of visitors that can be attracted into entering the store. And how many of them turn into customers, i.e. buy something. And how many of them want to come back. “We continuously measure the conversion ratio; that is, how many of our visitors also buy goods, i.e. turn into buying customers. This depends in part on our product range but, to an equally high degree, on how proficient our service is. Which stores are better than others and what can we learn from this? This is where Viametrics’ visitor counters come into the picture”, says Sven-Olov Johansson.

Erling Persson’s first store before H&M
Ur & Penn was in fact Erling Persson’s very first company, in other words before H&M, and was started as far back as 1943. The first bestseller was a red paper Christmas star. This was followed by ballpoint pens, after the acquisition of Pennspecialisten, and then the success with Japanese Seiko watches. The store name, Ur & Penn, dates from 1974. Times have changed however, and customers’ demands have changed too. Ballpoint pens became cheaper and cheaper, and a wristwatch was no longer required to know the time. Nevertheless, the strategy of small stores in the best location for sales remains.

Presents for the grandchildren or a fashionable watch for the wife
Sven-Olov Johansson visits one of the Ur & Penn stores to buy presents for his grandchildren; a popular alarm clock perhaps? Or an interesting wristwatch? Now and again he buys his wife a fashionable wristwatch in the mid-price band. And he also visits the store to have his own watches serviced. “Service is another essential element in our business concept”, he says.