Founded in 1999 by three Erasmus University students, the Dutch e-commerce firm Coolblue has gone on to experience exponential growth, mainly due to its obsessive focus on data and its two KPIs, the Net Promoter Score and EBITDA. In 2017, Coolblue’s main aims – make customers happy and make money – were achieved and by 2018, its turnover reached €1.35 billion.

When the company started, the modus operandi at Coolblue was quite simple: get products from their providers and make sure they arrive to customers on time at the right location. However, with exponential growth and Coolblue’s core values revolving around an always improving customer journey satisfaction, most decision-making became based on short-term planning. While the company’s reliance on big data allowed customers to increase their trust in the company, the operation became more fractured and complex. Coolblue’s lack of HR strategy also created a number of challenges, such as frequent team restructuring. Most of the decisions the company made were also centralized. Furthermore, with prices in electronics declining drastically year after year, Coolblue needed to find a strategy to expand not only beyond the Benelux borders but maybe even beyond its core business model.

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RSM Case Development Centre

Based on field research; 18 pages.
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Rotterdam School of Management (RSM), Erasmus University

Gatt, C., Jansen, J., & Mom, T. (2019). Coolblue: Thriving and Making Customers Happy is the New Blue. RSM Case Development Centre. Retrieved from