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Electronics chain K’s Denki credits success to 'not working so hard'


K’s Denki is a nationwide consumer electronics chain known for their large-scale stores offering reasonably priced goods. Since its founding in the 1970s, K’s Denki has grown to over 3,000 outlets and was awarded “Japan’s Most Respectable Company” earlier this year.

This steady and continued success is attributed to K’s Denki’s original style of retail which includes principles such as, “The customer is not king,” and “Don’t work too hard.”

■ Don’t work too hard

As of 2012, K’s Denki was ranked fourth in the consumer electronics industry. However, they openly encourage staff not to strive to be first. They feel rushing to the top often ends in a short business life. A slow and steady growth is the key to longevity.

That’s not to say working at K’s Denki is a laid-back party. Employees are discouraged from ever touching any of the fun electronics around as there’s no way work gets done when that’s happening. Also, there are reportedly 425 different arrangements of shifts at the stores, but only around 60 of them are actually used. This is to minimize too many staff members working together on overlapping shifts.

The general rule around K’s Denki is to work smart rather than work hard. This philosophy can be found in their hiring policies as well. Rather than actively searching out the best workers, managers focus on avoiding terrible workers. The belief is it’s better to get a solid group of reasonably above-average workers rather than trying to build a team of perfect staff.

■ The customer is not king

While K’s Denki thinks the customers are swell, they feel that they’d be better served with lower prices than over-attentive staff. Salespeople do not work on commission, which means that there is no danger of them feeling pressured to sell or being overly pushy with shoppers. They are also instructed that in order of importance; staff come first, then the suppliers, and finally the customer.

To further increase their value to the company, the employees are offered stock options, which if taken allows them access to their own employer’s stockholders’ meetings. On the other hand, K’s Denki is also one of the very few electronics stores that doesn’t issue its customers point cards. Instead they hope their shoppers will appreciate consistently low prices.

■ Aggressive with competition

K’s Denki can also be rather vicious against their rival retailers. Their idea of strategic placement is to set up a new store as close to an existing competitor as possible. Not only that, they design their new store to be 1.5 to 1.7 times as large, simply to give the appearance that they offer a wider variety of goods, even if they don’t.

With all of these strategies in play the company boasts that their profit margin exceeds that of their nearest rival Yamada Denki by minimizing the cost of management and passing the savings on to customers.

So if you’re willing to sacrifice service for discounts this might be the place for you. But don’t go there too much, or you might make them number one.

Source: Naver Matome

Read more stories from RocketNews24. -- Why do Japanese Work Such Long Hours? -- The Arduous Audition Process to Become a Cold Stone Japan Part-Timer -- Three company presidents adored by their employees

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I hate shopping, but make an exception for K's Denki.

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Strange, our local K's Denki has a point card and we use it all the time. I wonder if any other "facts" in this article are as flexible.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

"The customer is not king"

Or even God. Especially at fast food joints when you want breakfast at 10:30am but are told breakfast is finished, it's now lunch menu, lol

"in order of importance, staff come first"

I showed this to my boss and he laughed pretty hard.

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K's Denki? Low prices?!

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There is definitely a K's denki card as you say. I'm just not sure if it gathers points, or just gives you a flat rebate?

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Flat rebate. It is also useful in registering anything you buy in case of problems. That's my K's anyway.

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Oh, right, that's it! Not a point card.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

We went to buy a fridge and a computer a year or so ago. They sales staff at K's couldn't answer my husband's questions about either. Off to Yamada denki we went. I am all for not treating the customer as kind and not demanding people work to death but they should be able to answer questions about the things they are selling. More so if you are a middle aged man and this is your FT job.

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K's Denki? Low prices?!

Bring your smartphone and look the product up on kakaku.com.

K's will pricematch any other bricks and mortar store.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Obviously everyone's experience is going to be different, but I've always found the staff at K's to be the most friendly. Edion where I live are overpriced, inflexible and have an attitude problem. Yamada is a mixed bag of arrogance and ignorance unless I find the floor manager to talk directly to. K's has always met any price from Yamada or any other stores, and they do it with smiles.

I don't really expect much technical info from the staff because they are biased (try to flog the products with the best profit margins), and most of the time they really have no idea what they are talking about - "this camera is the best because it has the most megapixels" etc. I can do my own research, so if they just give me a good price, I'm a happy chappy.

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Papa, indeed at Yamada, talk to the manager. They are always willing to give discount and meet prices from any other brick and mortar store - something they don't seem to mention perhaps because the sheeple will shell out the asking price?

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They are always willing to give discount and meet prices from any other brick and mortar store - something they don't seem to mention perhaps because the sheeple will shell out the asking price?

Haven't been for a while so don't know if they still do it, but Yamada Denki used to have signs up all over the shop saying that if a customer could show them the same item being offered cheaper anywhere else, they would match that price. Maybe they stopped doing it because too many 'sheeple' (nasty, gratuitous word) were asking for their money's worth?

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I lived in Japan ten years and never even heard of this place. I know yamada Denki though. They're everywhere.

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