Electricity supply and online retail: positive start into new business fields for AGRAVIS
With electricity supply and online retail, two associated companies of AGRAVIS Raiffeisen AG managed to enter new business fields in the past year. In both cases the people responsible are drawing positive provisional conclusions.
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"The start was very pleasing and exceeded our expectations," is how Torsten Fischer, director of Raiffeisen Energie GmbH & Co. KG, summarises the initial phase of the electricity supply business. In August 2014, this network of currently 51 shareholders from the Raiffeisen Group expanded its business and now offers a second grid-bound energy alongside natural gas under the brand RStrom, which is also available to end consumers.
RStrom already in 70 network areas
"Customer growth in the first months is stronger than in the same period after the start of the gas business," reports Torsten Fischer. "RStrom is already supplied in more than 70 network areas. The geographic focus is on Lower Saxony and North Rhine-Westphalia." With electricity, Raiffeisen Energie GmbH & Co. KG has now completed its portfolio for end consumers. "This also benefits our shareholders, who are also our sales partners and can now approach their customers as full-range supplier," explains Torsten Fischer. The Raiffeisen Group does not want to compete with the large utility providers in gas and electricity retail, but instead is building on its closeness to the customers and its local presence.
Raiffeisen Energie GmbH & Co. KG is open to additional shareholders from the cooperative network. In particular, the group has just grown, inter alia, with its first shareholder from the Rhineland, Raiffeisen Rhein-Ahr-Eifel GmbH.
Webshop has started well
Raiffeisen Webshop GmbH & Co. KG too is looking back with satisfaction on the first months of the onlineshop raiffeisenmarkt24.de. The platform, which is intended to supplement the in-store retail in the Raiffeisen stores, started in September 2014 with 5,000 articles from the areas of garden, home and yard, pets, equestrian sport and textiles. "Meanwhile, we have expanded to around 6,500 articles," says Christoph Roer-Link, director of Raiffeisen Webshop GmbH & Co. KG. Products primarily from the range of established Raiffeisen own-brands and from garden and equestrianism categories have been added. Another rapid expansion of the range is desired, to bring it to 10,000 articles.
The group of shareholders of Raiffeisen Webshop GmbH & Co. KG has increased since the start to 35 Raiffeisen cooperative societies. "We are confident that others will join us," forecasts Christoph Roer-Link. The ordered goods were delivered to customers across Germany from a newly erected logistics centre in Münster.