Jan Hanuš loves adrenaline and major challenges – that’s why in his professional life he’s often been in charge of companies that needed major changes, and in his private life he loves wild downhill bike riding… .
The MALL Group has had a milestone year. The e-commerce group, which includes the MALL internet marketplace. the popular CZC.cz electronics e-shop, as well as the Vivantis and ProZdravi.cz e-shops, turned a profit for the first time. During the past business year the MALL Group succeeded in generating revenues of CZK 20.7 billion, which represents 26 % growth year-over-year. Though the group was helped into the black by the pandemic-related internet shopping boom, the main reason was a significant improvement in the transaction economy, MALL’s transformation into a marketplace, and success in international markets.
The coronavirus pandemic was in general accompanied by major growth in interest in shopping on the internet, which was also reflected in increased orders throughout the MALL Group. Compared to the previous business year, the number of orders grew by 31 % and exceeded 14 million. However, the MALL Group’s record financial results in the past business year, with a positive EBITDA, was definitely not fuelled only by pandemic-related growth.
“Covid-19 of course contributed to our growth, but it was definitely not the main reason for our financial improvement. The year-over-year growth rate accelerated slightly compared to previous years, but the transaction economy experienced significant improvement. Almost all ratios recovered, we performed a thorough revision of the business model, increased logistics efficiency, and also banked on growth of our marketplace, which is a sales model that makes great sense to us and that is clearly more effective for us in many segments. We also reviewed fixed and internal costs. We thus knew that the year-over-year result will be significantly better, but even so we exceeded our own expectations by CZK 500 million,” says MALL Group CEO Jan Hanuš in describing the financial turnaround.
An important role in the MALL Group turning a profit was its successful transformation into a marketplace. More than 2000 partner businesses are already selling through the MALL Partner programme, which gives them a new sales channel, and thanks to which the number of products available on MALL has exceeded 2 million items. The MALL Partner programme is also an easy way for businesses to access foreign markets, and for MALL it fuels further growth in Central and Eastern European markets. MALL is currently experiencing its greatest growth rate in Slovenia, where under the “mimovrste” brand it is now the market leader.
“The MALL Partner marketplace is a growth driver that we see as being very promising for future years. Thanks to the marketplace we have repeatedly succeeded in increasing our performance and the number of items year-over-year by up to 3x, and we have similar ambitions for the coming years. We will fully implement this successful marketplace model in all countries in which we have a presence, which means that not only will be offer our partners a simple way to access international markets via MALL, but at the same time we will provide them with a strong sales and logistical infrastructure and related services. This is our great competitive advantage, which we are constantly perfecting to make us invincible in this area,” describes Hanuš.
In addition to developing services for partner businesses, another of MALL’s priorities is to continue working to make the entire shopping process more user friendly. Aside from the quality of related services, especially logistics, MALL is also making massive investments into IT in order to make website navigation as efficient as possible, optimize search speed, or to better adapt individual sections of the website for specific product segments, for example fashion. Another important task for the IT department is to ensure the maximum scalability of the entire MALL ecosystem so that it can fulfil the vision of perfectly interconnecting the e-commerce markets of Central and Eastern Europe.
“A broad variety of goods requires maximum system “intelligence”, which will help the customer have a quick, simple, and guided shopping experience. Our IT experts are devoting an endless amount of energy to this, and on a daily basis are improving the logic of our product catalogue, auto complete features, search engines, etc. But our role doesn’t end when the order is dispatched – on the contrary, that’s where it starts. At that moment we’re counting on what our competitors can’t yet achieve, which is a strong, robust, and fast delivery infrastructure at the European level. It’s a truly tough exercise, and not something you can copy overnight. That’s a critical juncture in e-commerce, because victory will not belong to those who can offer goods, but rather to those who can also deliver them in top-notch fashion,” says Jan Hanuš in describing MALL’s competitive advantage.
Over the next three years, MALL intends to offer over 30 million items and to further consolidate its position as a shopping gallery with the broadest product catalogue on the market, where customers will not only find everything they want on the internet, but will also get it with the best available service. The group’s vision and objective is to become the #1 shopping destination for e-shoppers, which means that for most people it will be the first place they will go for on-line shopping.