The children’s shoe manufacturer Richter celebrates its 125th anniversary in 2018. We spoke with the managing director Mr. Alf Netek about the development of the company and the secret of success of a successful children’s shoe brand.

What strategic measures do you owe your long existence on the market to? What tips can you give other companies to successfully establish a brand on the market?

A company should have the competence of a product, the sensitivity for the market and the customer and consistency in its implementation. In short: living with the customer, thinking with the customer and dreaming with the customer. This is not always easy with children’s shoes, as the customer is usually not always made up of just one person. Buying behavior can be influenced by one’s own children, parents or even by impressions in the trade.

Over the years, not only the Richter brand has evolved, but also the product as such. If you compare the first Richter children’s shoe with today’s, what has been optimized over the years?

True to our mission “For small feet with big goals” we wanted and want the best for sensitive children’s feet. Over the years, many aspects of the product and product development have changed: new materials, technical developments or changed usage behavior. As a specialist for healthy children’s shoes with fashion expertise, however, we remain true to our caring responsibility for good footwear.

What distinguishes Richter children’s shoes? What do you attach particular importance to when producing a child’s shoe?

The Richter brand is characterized by the combination of tradition and innovation. 125 years of experience in shoe production in general and in the production of children’s shoes in particular guarantee craftsmanship expertise. But only in combination with child-oriented fashion competence and professional knowledge of fit and comfort can a child’s shoe be created that meets the many demands placed on the product.

How do you maintain customer loyalty?

Satisfaction is probably the best customer retention. It is therefore our goal not only to satisfy our customers, parents, children and our trading partners, but also to inspire them.

In 2017 Richter experienced a relaunch of its design. How did this become noticeable?

Since then Richter has presented itself as a brand that is livelier, more colorful and fresher. Together with our creative partner Serviceplan, it was important to us to make the Richter brand more visible, more tangible, more perceptible at the product, at the POS and in communication.

What do you have to pay attention to if you want to keep up with the progress of digitalization?

Digitalization is opportunity and risk. Especially in times of customer experience management it is important to convey the enthusiasm for one’s product in every detail credibly and authentically to the target group. An excellent product, service orientation and modern brand communication are good prerequisites for long-term success.

How important is the appearance of the company website? Have you made any optimizations in this regard?

In the sense of continuous communication, the company website is of great importance as it is the first and thus decisive touchpoint with the brand for many interested parties. In the course of our comprehensive brand relaunch Richter has also revised the website and presents itself with an up-to-date information and service offer for parents, children and our trading partners.

How do you feel about the current situation in the stationary trade?

Globalization and digitalization demand adjustments in the product and service range, in the presentation of goods or on the way to the customer from the stationary trade in many industries. Ultimately, retail is a service that must offer added value for the consumer. Whether in mobile or stationary trade.

How important is a brand’s presence on social media channels?

Successful brands seek dialogue. Holistically, authentically and on all channels. Social media should therefore be part of the communicative self-image.

How important is sustainability to you?

Very. On the one hand, our target group – children and young people – deserves the focus on sustainability; on the other hand, the child’s shoe itself is a gratifying product in which sustainability can be implemented in many different facets (materials, fair production, etc.). With our “Fair steps by Richter” initiative, we have taken an important first step in this direction.

What do you think about cooperations with startups?

A lot. Young, fresh thoughts come to life. Richter is currently evaluating ideas on the topic of “smart shoes” with international startups, for example.


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Image: Richter