Carl Hansen tests e-commerce concept in Japan


By Kent Dahl

Danish design furniture manufacturer Carl Hansen & Son’s Japanese subsidiary has tested an online e-shop in Japan during the last six months. In collaboration with the Danish furniture manufacturer’s flagship store in Tokyo, this opens new opportunities in the Japanese market.

“The Japanese are generally advanced in the use of online shopping, which is why we chose to test our online concept in Japan,” says Henning Rosted, head of Carl Hansen & Son’s activities in Japan. Moreover, Japan is Carl Hansen & son’s largest market outside Denmark, and sales have grown by 37 percent over the last 12 months. Revenue from e-commerce activities is only in its infancy, but the Japanese have welcomed the concept, Rosted adds.

As a start, the e-shop exclusively offers products which Carl Hansen & Son stock in Japan. This accounts for about 20 unique products that are available in hundreds of varieties. They account for around 90 per cent of the company’s sales in Japan. In addition, the e-store offers various utility items such as carpets designed by Naja Utzon, wood figures from Kay Bojesen and products from Georg Jensen.

“In the beginning, we want to deliver within two weeks when our customers buy through our web portal,” Rosted explains. As a little incentive there is free delivery across the country, when the Japanese buy at Carl Hansen & Son’s e-store. The e-shop prices are the same as the company’s recommended retail prices in Carl Hansen & Son’s physical store in the fashionable Aoyama district in Tokyo.

“Some customers visit our physical store to become more familiar with the products, and then they later order them online,” says Rosted, adding: “They can do this in the comfort of their home. We often see that the orders come outside of our official opening hours, as the e-shop is always open. In addition, our web portal gives customers a chance to immerse themselves in the products and the designers’ history, which strengthens our brand. I also think that people feel comfortable to deal directly with the manufacturer.”

The E-shop is just a small supplement for Carl Hansen & Son’s approximately 160 Japanese dealers who are active in physical retail stores. For example, Japan’s largest furniture chain, IDC, has opened nine branded Carl Hansen & Son shop-in-shops last year. Some of the dealers have even completed their physical sales with their own e-stores.

Here is the address of Carl Hansen & Son Japanese e-shop: