The Global Retail Organization’s mission is to bring the premium brand world of Lindt & Sprüngli to life for consumers all around the world. What began in pioneering fashion with the establishment of an own proprietary international retail network is reaching new dimensions via analog and digital sales channels.
The goal was clear – the long-standing company Lindt & Sprüngli was to be developed into a global player. But for a classic representative of the consumer goods industry, the journey there was an unusual one: Lindt and the world of the Master Chocolatiers were to be experienced in their own stores. At this time, consumer goods manufacturers relied predominantly on intermediary trade. Own store concepts tended to focus on luxury brands, which in turn were ideally suited to the expansion plans for a unique premium quality chocolate brand.
What began with 50 shops has increased tenfold over the decades on a global scale. More than 500 Lindt, Caffarel, Ghirardelli and Russell Stover stores now attract over 90 million visitors each year and are a key driver of organic growth within the corporate Group. With more than 200 shops, Europe has the largest share of the global retail network, closely followed by North America with around 150 and a retail network of some 150 shops in the younger markets of Australia, Japan, South Africa and Brazil. Today, Lindt & Sprüngli has its own shop at the most exclusive locations around the world, from the Empire State Building in New York to the Ginza district in Tokyo and the Champs-Élysées in Paris.
The shop concepts have evolved continuously over time, and today they speak a globally consistent language. The sophisticated shop design and the excellent service of more than 2,900 chocolate advisors bring the premium brand experience to life. The product range, logistics, sales and advertising, on the other hand, are adapted to the local preferences of consumers and gift-giving occasions.
Brand Experience Direct-to-Consumer Personalization
As a result, Lindt & Sprüngli not only meets its high-quality standards along the entire value chain, from cocoa bean to production and product design, but also complies with its premium standards in terms of the consumers’ shopping experience.
The own shop concept enables Lindt & Sprüngli to increase awareness of the individual brands in line with the global expansion strategy. In addition, it makes it easier to tap into new markets with little or no chocolate tradition. Close cooperation between the countries and the use of synergy effects are important success factors.
The systematic implementation of the direct sales model soon required a professional management structure. In 2009, therefore, the strategic division “Global Retail Organization” was founded, which manages the global activities and the consistent appearance on a centralized basis. Back then, the number of shops worldwide had already grown to 130, a figure that the team of experts has further expanded by developing strategic concepts based on the experiences in the individual countries and rolling them out around the world.
From the outset, the Global Retail Organization was intended to become a pillar of stable sales and income, opening up sustainable growth opportunities. However, the decision to set up its own global store network with unmistakable brand presentation was by no means a decision against the retail sector, but rather an ideal complement to it: Experience shows that wherever a Lindt Shop opens, sales of Lindt products increase due to the tangible brand presence in the immediate vicinity.
Almost no other market moves faster or is more exposed to external influences than the consumer goods market. Keeping pace with this development, anticipating it and helping to shape it therefore means not just tapping into new countries, but also systematically adding digital to analog sales channels. This increased diversity must be actively managed and offer consumers a uniform and unmistakable brand experience across all channels.
Rest of the World
Omnichannel, as it is known in technical jargon, therefore plays a key role for Lindt & Sprüngli. In addition to more than 500 physical shops worldwide, 24 own e-shops have now been added on a global e-commerce platform. We also cooperate with numerous e-commerce providers – often proven trading partners from the analog world that are also expanding into digital commerce. This allows consumers to shop directly at Lindt at any time – in person or online.
Lindt & Sprüngli benefits from the fact that, over the past three decades, Lindt Shops have already established direct access to consumers in parallel with intermediary trading. Unlike other consumer goods producers, Lindt & Sprüngli did not have to acquire this indispensable foundation only with the emergence of the digital ecosystem. Rather, the unique brand and shopping experience can be transferred directly to digital channels based on the established connection with consumers, which further strengthens the Global Retail Organization as a profitable growth channel. The focus on creating unique brand experiences will therefore remain a constant in the future.
Another growth area that also manages the strategic Global Retail Organization division is business with corporate customers and, in particular, the area of personalized corporate gifts. “Corporate Gifting” is aimed at companies that, for example, want to thank their customers for their loyalty with a sweet treat from Lindt & Sprüngli, are looking for a suitable give-away for a trade fair appearance or want to acknowledge the special achievements of their employees. This opens up additional opportunities for growth, as companies no longer want to create an emotional connection with a personalized chocolate gift just on the usual public holidays, but increasingly at corporate events.
Lindt & Sprüngli offers its consumers a seamless shopping experience that ideally combines enjoyment, premium quality and excellent service in the Global Retail Organization. As a result, the Group is assuming a leading role in the chocolate industry and is focusing on the growth opportunities offered by digitalization in the direct-to-consumer business.
A world-class tennis player. A world-famous premium quality chocolate. Bound together in a long-standing, successful partnership based on shared values – since 2009 and beyond the present day
The year 2009 marked a pivotal moment for both Roger Federer and Lindt & Sprüngli. The Swiss tennis star won his career Grand Slam with his victory at the French Open. Before Federer, only five players had won all four Grand Slam titles in their careers. In the same year, Lindt & Sprüngli succeeded in gaining the world-class player as the first and sole global brand ambassador in its more than 175-year history. A perfect Swiss double that has continued for 17 years.
The tennis maestro uniquely embodies Lindt & Sprüngli’s fundamental values of Swissness, precision, elegance, quality and expertise. With his global presence and his popularity, he supported the development of the Lindt brand in important markets and left a lasting impression on it. As part of his commitment as a brand ambassador for his favorite chocolate, the world’s best tennis player has already bestowed unforgettable experiences on thousands of Lindt fans.
At one of their first joint appearances, Roger Federer and Ernst Tanner opened the Christmas Lighting Event together with a magical light show at the headquarters in Kilchberg.
However, one of the most spectacular appearances that will always remain unforgettable for him and the entire Lindt & Sprüngli team is the opening of the highest Lindt Shop, the “Swiss Chocolate Heaven”, on the Jungfraujoch in 2014. At this special opening event, Roger Federer and US ski racer Lindsey Vonn held a show match that attracted global attention against a magnificent mountain backdrop on the Aletsch Glacier. A match that Roger Federer still calls one of the most spectacular in his life.
The extent to which he is idolized in Asia was revealed in 2019. He appeared before the camera with film star Xin Zhilei for the “Chinese Moment of Bliss” Lindt advertising campaign. The first video reached 12 million viewers within an hour.
“Since 2009 a perfect Swiss double”
Roger Federer also took the opportunity to inaugurate the Lindt Home of Chocolate in 2020 together with former Federal Councilor Ueli Maurer and Foundation Board Chairman Ernst Tanner. The joint unveiling of the imposing nine-meter tall chocolate fountain and the film “The Grand Opening” in which Roger Federer took part were the highlights of the opening.
Over the years, the brand ambassador has also appeared at numerous openings of Lindt Shops around the globe, including the largest shop in Paris directly on the Champs-Élysées and the most exclusive shop on 5th Avenue in New York. With his friendly, approachable manner, he always inspires Lindt fans at the exclusive Meet & Greet events.
Passion Expertise Quality
However, it’s not just his appearances on the big stages that the brand ambassador uses to captivate his audience and strengthen Lindt’s reputation and image. Like Lindt & Sprüngli, charitable commitment is close to his heart. Numerous joint projects in Switzerland and Africa bear witness to this, such as the “Match for Africa” charity tournaments with well-known tennis greats. Or the “Give Joy” campaign at Easter 2017, when he surprised countless young patients with a sweet Easter gift in ten children’s hospitals in Switzerland.
Roger Federer announced his retirement from professional sport in 2022. Lindt & Sprüngli remains committed to him as a global brand ambassador. After all, the tennis legend has long ceased to impress based only on his extraordinary tennis game. It is his personality, his charisma and his many international commitments that make him a strong and impressive global brand.