When Peter and Catherine Dussmann founded the KulturKaufhaus in 1997, the media department store set new standards; the unique mix of books and audiovisual media made quite a splash and the size of the store was exceptional, as it continues to be. The task of management is to cultivate the strengths that equip the KulturKaufhaus for the future and, in the process, to open up new fields of business.

Even though the giants of online retailing can boast a similarly wide range of media products, the selection of sheet music, books and audio media in stock at the KulturKaufhaus serves as a tangible source of inspiration. Customers can not only purchase articles, as they can from online retailers, but they can also see, read, and listen to art, literature and music too. Providing this experience in times like these, and conveying the essence of the KulturKaufhaus brand – inspiration, diversity, service and appreciation of the arts – in a digital world is a challenge that we are happy to take on.

 


In 2019, more than 40 percent of German book sales were digital. In the music market, the digital market share has grown even fast-er and the lockdowns during the pandemic have amplified these trends, making it all the more important to strengthen online retailing in KulturKaufhaus sales strategy.

In 2020, we systematically expanded our sales channels with the launch of a new online shop, www.kulturkaufhaus.de, and in November, eCommerce was reorganized.

The results have been impressive; at the start at the end of the year, sales increased significantly, especially to customers outside Berlin. Customers have admired the modern web design and they appreciate the environmentally friendly KulturKurier delivery – same day bicycle delivery within the S-Bahn ring.

In 2021, we plan to expand the range of digital products such as eBooks and digital audio book downloads.

The post-1998 “Generation Z” has digital access to products and services worldwide, but they attach great importance to adventure and individualization, as numerous studies attest.

This is why we put so much emphasis on making the shopping experience at the KulturKaufhaus an exciting one.

A positive side effect is that business operations are well-prepared for the post-corona era, a time when people will seek events and personal encounters, looking for brands and places that have something unique to offer. This is where the newly opened KulturManufaktur comes in, a workshop where our customers can be creative. It consists of a print workshop (DruckManufaktur), a Polaroid lab and a record cutting machine (VinylManufaktur).

In the world’s smallest record workshop, professional and amateur musicians can produce their own records.

The print workshop runs workshops – currently only virtual ones – elucidating the print process as an important cultural technology and the basis of book production. Bibliophile, handmade editions, posters and stationery products are created here.

It was a huge challenge to establish this service in the midst of the pandemic and the marketing, sales and press departments pulled out all the stops to make the impossible possible. Customers and trade visitors alike have demonstrated strong interest and the VinylManufaktur is enjoying particular popularity.

 

In 2020, we extended our service range to include additional services for business customers. The background to this service line is the scope of demand from B2B customers; in addition to books and films, they are interested in specialist information in digital form such as databases, professional body subscriptions and much more.

Expectations of a specialist information provider are correspondingly complex; not only large companies expect to be able to access everything from a single source. Schools and libraries systematically outsource their processes and expect their specialist information provider to be able to advise them, to offer process solutions and even to provide inventory management.

The pandemic has acted as a catalyst for these developments. Dussmann, as an experienced service provider, knows how to build business like this. It was a logical step to extend KulturKaufhaus services to serve the needs of corporate customers.

The cornerstone was laid in 2020 with the introduction of the new vendor management system “Beeline”, which is helping us to develop this service line into one of the mainstays of the KulturKaufhaus.

Overall, 2020 was an exceptional year, not only because of the pandemic. We have used it to focus on existing strengths – inspiration, diversity, service and appreciation of the arts. We are confident that these are more topical and contemporary than ever.