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Company: Otto Group

Brand value: US$912 million

Headquarter city: Hamburg

Category: Retail

Year formed: 1949


Otto was founded by Werner Otto in 1949 as a shop-from-home retailer that has since evolved into one of Germany’s most successful e-commerce businesses. It covers fashion, homeware, furniture, consumer electronics and appliances. It has been a pioneer in the shop-from-home sector, in 1963 launching order-taking by phone, and going online as early as 1995. Since 2010 Otto has offered a dedicated online shop for smartphone users, and has several online stores for different product categories, including Teppestore.de for carpets. It is currently testing a new business model, Otto Now, which allows consumers to rent items like TVs, washing machines and coffee machines rather than buy them. The idea is likely to appeal to students and young people. Digital orders are where the bulk of revenue comes from, but Otto continues to produce its catalogues, which are an effective branding tool. Otto uses YouTube extensively, with its Stylediaries fashion and lifestyle content presenting trends, contests and challenges. The Roombeez living channel focuses on DIY, home and living. On television, Otto uses humor and the tagline “Gefunden auf Otto.de” (Found on otto.de). A recent one begins with a new mother inviting in her friends to show them her “pride and joy”. The friends think she is talking about the baby, but it emerges that she means her new sofa. Otto is still owned by the Otto family, and is currently headed by Michael Otto.