Established over 20 years ago, the company history dates back to 1994, when it functioned under the name of Alzasoft. It became a market leader in 2008 and has received several prestigious awards over the years in recognition of the quality service it offers to millions of customers.
Alza is now a purely Czech joint stock company, with its tax domicile also in the Czech Republic. It is owned by a group of investors through the holding company L.S. Investments Limited.
Records were broken once again during 2013. Over 3 million orders were processed, and a turnover in excess of €349 million was achieved. We were evaluated by more than 300 advertising and marketing experts as the most promising Czech brand. We share second place in the official ranking of the most successful Czech brands.
The whole year was marked by innovation, leading to increased customer satisfaction:
Ranking among the most successful years to date, with a turnover of €304.5 million. We fulfilled over 2.5 million orders, sold more than 250,000 notebooks, PCs and tablets, and officially launched the revolutionary AlzaDrive service, which allows customers to shop without leaving their vehicles.
Sales continued to grow in traditional IT commodities, along with massive interest in televisions, electronics and toys. Further awards were won, including Shop of the Year, "Křišťálová Lupa" and MasterCard Merchant.
Thanks to superb cooperation with suppliers, it was possible to offer our customers a richer selection of tablets, ultrabooks, electronic readers and smart TVs. We also launched a range of highly anticipated products, including Samsung Galaxy SIII, Windows 8, Diablo 3 game, and Apple iPad Mini.
Further expansion of the branch network in both the Czech Republic and Slovakia, the biggest achievement of the year being in Slovakia with the opening of brand new headquarters. In addition to a 1,100m2 showroom, this new flagship store premiered the unique AlzaDrive service.
We expanded our product range, offering a number of new home electronics and large household appliances, such as refrigerators, washing machines and dryers. Orders for the year increased by 31% to 2.4 million, with sales growth increasing by 21% to €274.34 million, and the title of Shop of the Year in the category "Price Quality - Department Stores" was won.
In Autumn 2010, we significantly expanded our warehouse space and logistics centre in Prague. Over the course of the year, we expanded our network of branches to include the cities of Jihlava, Zlín, Karlovy Vary, Ústí nad Labem, Olomouc, Liberec and České Budějovice, in addition to more branches in Prague, giving us an outlet in every regional capital.
The year was marked by the global financial crisis and recession, but in the first three months we sold over 1 billion CZK (~€40 million) worth of goods and strengthened our market position in electronics and computing technology. We also expanded our product catalogue, offering a greater variety of consumer electronics and toys.
We began holding special events to promote environmentally friendly behavior and educate customers. One of the big successes was a recycling session for old computers and electronics, which brought thousands of people together to recycle old computers and TVs that would otherwise have ended up in a landfill.
In response to huge customer demand, we moved to a new 5,160 m2 warehouse and offices in Prague. We also opened two new branches in Prague, along with locations in Hradec Králové, Pilsen, and Ostrava.
By the end of the year, we had 270 employees, 30,000 products on offer, and an average of 3 orders with a value of 4,421 CZK per minute.
In May we rebranded Alza.cz, while also initiating Alza.sk in Slovakia and opening a new store in Brno. In the Czech Republic, the number of employees exceeded 200 for the first time.
We also began experimenting with new advertising formats and media with our mascot, the Alza alien (nicknamed Alzak by our customers). In October, we held our first official press conference, where Alza.cz announced its business results and vision for the future. The year ended with €129.5 million in sales, a year-on-year increase of 40%.
We won multiple awards, including the GE Money Multiservis Retailer of the year and HP Partner of the year, confirming us formally as the leader in the Czech notebook market.
This year we responded to an increase in orders by relocating to new 300 m2 premises in Prague, while also increasing storage space to 500 m2. Our product catalogue expanded to 13,000 items, and in addition to electronic orders we also made it possible to order on new online terminals in our showroom.
With the introduction of new Alza PayBoxes in the showroom, we were able to significantly speed up purchasing and pickup. We also automated the delivery of goods and extended working hours to 08:00-20:00, 7 days a week.
We continued our philanthropic efforts this year as a partner in the One World Festival. We also expanded our marketing efforts with billboard, TV, radio, and magazine campaigns.
The number of employees increased to 80 as daily orders moved into the thousands and our product catalogue surpassed 10,000 items. We introduced monthly payment plans, as well as streamlining our warehouse logistics and using fully electronic records to significantly shorten delivery times.
The major change this year was the rebranding from our original name, Alzasoft, to simply Alza. We also launched a new version of the eShop in several languages with many additional features.
We worked with the charities People in Need and Hands for Help to equip a field hospital in Pakistan.
This year was marked by further improvement and expansion of our services and growth in our sales. We added options for customers: payment by card, the option to purchase gift certificates, and even IT services such as data recovery.
We started cooperating with People in Need, as well as various foundations and orphanages. Our contributions to good causes totalled nearly 1 million CZK.
From January 1st, Alza became a joint-stock company. We began a significant internal reorganization aimed at realizing absolute customer satisfaction. A professional approach to dealing with customers in all departments of the company became our first priority.
We started allowing customers to register warranty claims via the website and expanded our operations to Slovakia. We added a new delivery company, which allowed dramatically cheaper and better quality services. Compared with the previous year, we nearly doubled our turnover.
After the disastrous floods of 2002, we reworked a lot of our internal processes, including warehouse logistics and the website. Turnover was nearly half a billion CZK.
Our upgraded version of the eShop was upended by the devastating floods of August 2002. Thanks to the enormous commitment of our staff, we were able to resume sales 4 days after the floods. Customers took the limitations in their stride, and we managed to get the site running again using our own electricity generators and the mobile network.
Christmas was again marked by a huge influx of customers. The site was improved to show a variety of useful data such as product availability, delivery date, compatibility, and order tracking.
The year was marked by a growth in sales, more employees, and new features on the eShop
The first version of our eShop was introduced to the public, and we moved to new retail premises in Prague. Another wave of new customers was gained during this year, along with a welcomed increase in custom from professionals, hardware experts and companies.
The company continued to grow, as did our range of products and warehouse stock. A new service was introduced which guaranteed the delivery of goods within 24 hours throughout the Czech Republic. These steps successfully introduced new customers from outside the Prague area. Compared with the previous year, the average monthly turnover tripled. Although still relatively young, our website, www.alza.cz, featured in the top five most visited IT sites on the Czech Internet. The website offered value and prices to rival its competitors. This year also saw the start of a dealer channel service.
A wave of new customers discovered us when we opened our first brick and mortar store in Prague. It focused on students, customers with IT knowledge, and those who appreciated the availability and attractive pricing of computer components.
Adopting a personal and flexible customer approach, we witnessed a rapid increase in turnover by the latter part of the year.
We introduced new advertising materials featuring items for sale that were in stock and ready for collection. This was a revolutionary step which generated interest and a welcome increase in custom.
Alzasoft became a popular choice for students, with customers being introduced to us via advertising campaigns targeting student residences and educational establishments throughout the country.
The history of the company dates back to the 29th of November 1994, when Mr Aleš Zavoral officially announced the company's arrival on the young Czech IT market after receiving his business license.