Annual review 2021

New offers

New product offers and new ways to meet customers

An important part of 10/50 is to develop new service areas in connection with the companies’ existing business.

Central themes in recent years have been the use of digital tools, not least in AI and automation, to improve customer understanding and user experience. But even physical meetings, such as Treat by KICKS, continue to be important in developing a relationship with company customers.



APOHEM IS A fast-growing online pharmacy co-owned by Axel Johnson companies Axfood and Novax. In June 2020, the first pilot project was launched between Mat. se and Apohem, with Mat. se’s customers in Stockholm able to get pharmacy products together with their weekly food order. After scaling up joint home deliveries in 2021, Mat. se, together with Apohem, became the first in Sweden to offer joint deliveries of prescription medicine and food to customers in Stockholm in a new pilot project.



ONLINE FOOD SALES is a growing and challenging business. The large number of items in a food order and the different temperatures required to ensure the quality of different goods call for more complexity than for clothes or beauty products, for example. So profitability also has been challenging. In December 2021, Willys, as the first Swedish player, announced it had succeeded in reaching break even in its e-commerce. An important ingredient has been growth in click and collect, where customers pick up their pre-packaged orders in storage outside the store.


More reasons to visit stores

In fall of 2021, KICKS rolled out a pilot for Treat by KICKS, a selection of treatments offered in stores. The response from customers was strongly positive and the number of treatments done increased by 183% compared to the same period in 2019 for the pilots. Sales in connection with treatments for the pilots increased even more sharply, almost tripling.

In 2022, KICKS will roll out Treat in another 55 stores in Sweden and during the second half of the year, the rollout will continue in 15 stores in Norway and 10 in Finland.

Own brands that make a difference

Five new products a week is the high average rate in Axfood’s development of its own branded products. Of its 22 own brands, the two largest are Garant and Eldorado, where Garant has a clear sustainability profiling and Eldorado offers the best low-cost alternative with a focus on basic products. Among other things, Garant launched three new vegetarian meal solutions based on Swedish-grown protein crops during the year, together with the Novax-owned brand Svensk Beljväxtfärs and Axfoundation.

Hemköp nudges towards sustainable choices

Hemköp’s new loyalty program, Klubb Hemköp, is the first in the industry to reward choices that are positive for both the climate and one’s own health. The 1.7 million members receive, as before, points for all purchases, but a novelty is that extra points are given for sustainable choices that feature properties positive for the environment and health – such as shopping for fresh fruit and vegetables or switching to digital receipts. A steady increase in new members in the first months after the launch of Klubb Hemköp shows how a personalized and responsive customer program opens up for commitment and for new ways to meet customers both online and in store.

Large customer benefits for private individuals

In November, Axfood’s restaurant wholesaler Snabbgross opened a new store concept – Snabbgross Club – which is aimed at private individuals. Through a membership that costs SEK 299 per year, private customers get access to a unique and affordable range in large packaging – an offer that was previously only available to restaurant and café customers. Through membership, customers can quickly recoup the cost through unique offers and products. The concept of member clubs has grown rapidly in several other markets, not least in North America.

QR codes provide faster service to industry customers

With Axel Johnson’s innovation competition Axlab, employees in the group companies generated a fantastic 781 ideas in 48 hours. The winning idea was presented by Valentina Cristea. She works at Axflow in Milan, part of the industrial group Axel Johnson International. Axflow delivers systems for fluid handling to various industries. Valentina’s idea is to label different parts of, for example, pumps or controls with scannable QR codes. In this way, it can be easier for customers or Axflow’s service employees to obtain immediate information about the products through a simple mobile scan, prevent incorrect ordering of spare parts and thereby remedy errors as quickly as possible.

Åhléns Marketplace

In spring 2020, Åhléns launched its online marketplace. There, external players can sell their products to Åhléns’ customers. Customers get a wider range of everything from fashion and furniture to bicycles. The products come from external suppliers but are covered by Åhléns’ customer promise, bonus points and the opportunity to return in any department store. It gives customers within the framework of their Åhléns relationship access to an even broader and more niched range.

Live shopping brings digital customer meetings to life

As a way to develop the digital shopping experience, both Åhléns and Kicks launched live shopping. The live broadcasts provide an opportunity for the companies’ own employees, together with industry personalities, to guide viewers through selected parts of the range, which creates completely new opportunities for interaction. Kicks broadcast 25 live shopping events from the start in April to December, with a total of nearly 135,000 viewers.