Client: Åhléns  

Åhléns, the largest department store chain in the Nordics with a longstanding history and wide appeal, was renowned for providing “everything”. And that was exactly the challenge. This strategy of supplying a large range of products and categories at convenience location and affordable prices had made Åhléns successful for decades but now they had ambitious plans to re-think their positioning, and go from being liked to loved among their target audience. To get there, we helped Åhléns clarify their purpose and re-define the role of the department store as a player that not only provide choice but help people to choose.

As many times before, we began the journey with researching and quantifying the consumers needs, drivers and attitudes towards Åhléns stores, products and the brand as such. We undertook stakeholder interviews, did store visits, went to Åhléns archive and looked into competition from a consumer, business, and brand perspective. Once we had a solid analysis of Åhléns current situation and competitive landscape we could formulate potential routes to successfully re-position the iconic brand – respecting their history and at the same time challenging internal norms and established truths.

We then worked together with Åhléns senior management to define the essence of Åhléns brand and to define a set of principles to guide the brands engagement in the most relevant touch points. We analysed Åhléns existing assortment, stores and digital presence using the new brand strategy as a lens together with Åhléns senior management. Based on this, we gave Åhléns recommendations on which touch points to prioritize and how to change their behaviour and innovate to live their brand strategy and own their new positioning.

To create an omni channel experience around the brand and shopping was identified as one of the most important activities to successfully own the new positioning.  About a year ago we started to create Åhléns omni channel solution. The goal is to connect stores, e-commerce, customer service and digital touch points in order for the customer to seamlessly move between them throughout the customer buying process. No matter if the customers have a “sell me”, “guide me” or “inspire me” mood. Nice shopping experiences most often have one thing in common: someone who cares. That´s why we aim to add a feeling of human touch to the user experience. Look out for the first release!

Today, Åhléns are more people centric when it comes to product development, caring when it comes to CSR, more selective when it comes to purchasing and has a stronger voice in their communications. All in all, they’re on a path to being loved again. All due to re-inventing choice.

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