This week on Freaky Friday: What went wrong with Media Markt?

Today I want to break with our Freaky Friday series and the book excerpts from “How to ruin your project”. Instead I want to jump on a topic we already reported about this week: the launch of the Media Markt online shop. But I want to twist the point of view on this topic in a direction that fits the fashion of this column: What went wrong with the Media Markt shop?

Because in my personal opinion the launch was a complete disaster. With all the upfront advertising the portfolio and functionality of the shop looks like a joke to me. But how could this happen? I mean we are not talking about some garage based company but about one of the biggest retailers in Europe. I guess they were just not able to manage change the right way.

First of all the structure of the Media Markt business seems to be a factor likely to have influenced the way things went. The stores are owned and led by separate CEOs which have a lot of political power and have been called “Lokalfürsten” before. Also the share distribution and voting shares are pretty unusually distributed. As rumors said the store owners built up a political front, because they were afraid of loosing business of their local stores to the web shop. This thought is quite natural as a first reflex thought. But if you take a second look: the retailers are not operating in a closed environment. So paradoxically for the last years they didn’t loose business to their own brand’s webstore, but to these of the competition! The initial political strategy fired back here and turned Media Markt in to on of the biggest electronics retailer without webstore.

Also I read a study recently, where a retailer did some research on the connection between online and offline business. And guess what. He found out, that after the launch of the online store the turnovers of the local retailers ROSE! (damn, I do not find the link… but this is just a personal opinion column :-).

After the purchase of redcoon at the beginning of 2011 some observers of the ecommerce world thought, that this would be the initialization to the rise of online shops for the Media Saturn Group. But not much happened, since redcoon still runs as separate business and the obviously the redcoon store had not much influence on the Media Markt webstore. Not much of a knowledge transfer here.

The resistance to change and a lack of change management led to what we see today as Media Markt online store. It is just paradox to think that going online in a restricted way could be the solution. It is wrong to think that keeping the status quo doesn’t need energy. Instead of bundling the power of the Media Saturn Group to do something great online, the political streams obviously caused a kind of blurry online strategy.

Change management is an essential part of every big online project, because you will always have changes for some or all stakeholders. Therefore I will start a little series from “How to ruin your project” on Freaky Friday about change management, starting next week!

4 Responses to This week on Freaky Friday: What went wrong with Media Markt?

  1. As always: Nice article!

    But (completely offtopic…): would you mind changing the runnin text font to a non fixed-width one? That would be so much easier to read.

    Bye, and have a nice day,


  2. Jan says:

    I became curious when I saw the ads at bus stops, but became rather disappointed when I saw the “new” online shop of Media Markt. Let’s see what prices will says. Hopefully quality online shops will not be ruined.

    • Kai says:

      I guess nobody get`s hurt, if Media Markt stays with the current strategy. Prices are basically the same as in the offline stores. And if you take a look at the assortment, you’ll see that it is nowhere near to actual electronic webshops. Just try and go the Foto / DSLR cameras for a taste…

  3. Pingback: Pleiten, Pech und Pannen sowie Trends im eCommerce | webmagazin

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