The most important factor behind DORCO’s growth into a global company is the people who work at DORCO; the dedicated professionals who worked tirelessly
to develop innovative technology and being those technological breakthroughs to the global marketplace. Here, we take a behind the scenes look at DORCO’s never-ending spirit
and passion through the stories, directly told by the people at DORCO themselves.
This episode focuses on Jongseok Ahn, Head of Sales for America/Europe/Oceania, and how DORCO was able to successfully enter the European market.
Q. What was the atmosphere like in the European market during the initial stages of DORCO’s global expansion?
“In the early years of entering Europe, around 2003, most retailers who had no idea of what kind of brand DORCO is, what DORCO sells, whether DORCO is a Korean company or not, etc.
At that time, in the Private Label (PL) shaver market a U.S. company was monopolizing more than 99% of the distribution channels, and we often heard complaints from
category buyers of European retailers about the supply imbalances or poor service due to this monopolistic structure.”
Q. How did you create awareness of DORCO in the European market?
“First, we started looking for a partner who understood the market conditions of each European country and the strict local regulations and processes.
Over the past 17 years, since the start of DORCO’s global expansion in 2003, we have participated in Private Label exhibitions held in the Netherlands.
We set up exhibition booths, handed out samples, and promoted our products and DORCO to everyone in attendance. In particular, we appealed to buyers with our competitiveness
and differentiation by targeting buyers who were dissatisfied with the overall services of existing competitors. Unlike competitors, who often refrain from changing product specifications,
we considered the characteristics of the PL business and offered a variety of options for buyers and distributors to choose products based on the preferences of their consumers.
This gave DORCO the opportunity to supply Carrefour in Europe with the ‘Touch3’ 3-blade disposable razor for the first time ever. In the German market, where product quality and
practicality are more important than the brand, we were able to gradually increase awareness of DORCO in the German PL market by introducing the ‘PACE 6’ high-quality 6-blade open cartridge razor.
Q. Entering Carrefour does not mean a company has succeeded in the European market. Were there any other goals?
“DORCO’s entry into Carrefour can be seen as the first step in proving our continuous supply capabilities to distributors and offering quality shaving experiences to consumers,
who prior to that point, had limited awareness of DORCO. Simply having DORCO products sold at Carrefour locations was not enough. Our ultimate goal was to enter the supermarket chain,
which has over 4,000 stores in Germany. As Aldi has given DORCO the opportunity to conduct promotions in their stores every year, DORCO has been successful in getting recognition
from German consumers for quality. Starting in 2009, DORCO products were also made available at Austria’s Hofer supermarkets, a subsidiary of the Aldi Group,
despite the fact that Aldi category buyers were reluctant to make a complete supplier change.”
Q. Why were the buyers reluctant to make such a change?
“There were concerns that changing suppliers can lead to confusion and loss of consumers who had purchased, and were accustomed to existing products.
Making such a change is a calculated risk taken by a buyer, as they are responsible for any possible decline in sales that may result from changing Private Label(PL) products for
consumers who have familiarity with the previously sold products. From a buyer’s perspective, the overall effect on sales cannot be ignored.
Also, depending on the retailer, the people responsible for sourcing PL razors often change every two to three years; making the process and decision more complex."
Q. What did DORCO do to get into Aldi?
“We continuously promoted our product technology and instilled consumer confidence through direct experience of the quality of DORCO has to offer,
and we assured our distributors that if they sold DORCO products, sales in their razor category would increase. However, the problem was that consumers in global markets
had limited opportunity to experience DORCO products firsthand. The turning point was when Stiftung Warentest, one of Germany’s most renowned consumer quality testing agencies,
released the results of a quality study they conducted on various razor brands, including DORCO. The results of the inspections and tests revealed that DORCO products were superior to
competitor products. This led to increased interest and awareness from the buyers of retailers in Germany. So based on our superior product capabilities, DORCO naturally achieved success in
the European market. We plan to continue to expand our sales channels to make it easier for more European consumers who value smart spending to purchase our products.”
Currently, DORCO products can be found almost all the retail channels across Europe, including Aldi, Muller, EDEKA, Netto, and Rossmann.
In addition to Germany, France, and the Netherlands, DORCO is focusing on securing channels for direct sales by large retailers in the U.K., Spain, Italy, and Northern Europe.
By expanding direct sales to European retailers, DORCO will have products available to consumers in 26 countries throughout Europe.
Thanks to superior product and technological capabilities, DORCO is now a highly recognized brand in Europe. But the story does not end here.
It will not be long before DORCO further establishes itself as the world’s leading global razor brand.
Stay tuned in for more about ‘The people who make DORCO great’