Tuesday, August 30, 2016

The Time Has Come

Dear friends,

I have been writing this blog for over 10 years now. It has been a great journey. It allowed me to discuss with you about the news and the new trends of retailing, customer relationship management, marketing. I met very interesting people, helped a bunch of students to understand better this world or to have ideas for their thesis. It also gave me great knowledge of this industry.

But the world has changed fast in 10 years. The student starving for knowledge has become a retail expert. What used to be the best way to communicate on line (blogging) is probably the dinosaur of all of them, due to the growth of social media. A lot of my friends were still wondering how come I was still blogging in 2016... 

 Furthermore, I will have in the short & mid term new exciting projects to undertake. 

The time has come. The time has come, as I had been this young blogger to face new opportunities and challenges. And when I see the landscape of previous master bloggers like Loic Lemeur, Henri Kaufman, Pierre Philippe Cormeraie or even Robert Scoble among others, I can clearly see that there is a bright future at developing new activities, and new ways to connect.

This is the reason why I have decided to stop blogging. Of course, I will still keep track of what is going on in the world, and still curious about about the future.

Best regards, and thank you for your support.

Friday, July 22, 2016

Orange Big Data Geolocation Solution To Help Better Understand Transportation Habits

This is a news I heard on the radio during my vacations this summer. Orange, and other cell phone companies propose big data solutions based on the geolocation information of their customers. How does it work? As the cell phone provider has information on where a specific customers is thanks to its connection to the network, it can therefore provide information on how many people are located at a specific point. 

This information can be very valuable, for example to better understand the rush hour period of a store, or for example in leisure places, where traffic may vary a lot depending on the period of the year, or of the day. 

By leveraging those information, companies can make yield management decisions, and therefore improve their operational efficiency: setting up the best employee schedule to meet customer's expectations, understanding better how customers get to your store and so on.

I believe this technology could probably be very benefitial for the retail business, especially for the real estate & mall business, and will have a bright future in the next few years.

Friday, July 08, 2016

Category Management: Comment Leclerc construit son nouveau concept jouet

Leclerc développe de plus en plus de concept de point de vente sur différents marché afin d'alimenter ses galeries marchandes. L'un des concepts les plus médiatisé est bien sûr la parapharmacie, mais également les centres culturels.

Il en existe d'autres, notament l'optique ou bien 1 heure pour soi pour la partie cosmétique. L'idée? D'être capable de pouvoir continuer à baisser les prix, et alimenter les centres commerciaux afin d'augmenter leurs attractivités. L'un des dernier concept, qui à date n'a pas encore vu le jour, est le concept jouet. 

L'idée est assez étrange. En effet, il existe des spécificités qui rendent la tâche difficile:
  • La saisonnalité du produit, qui se vend en grande majorité pendant une période de 2 mois en fin d'année.
  • Le fait que les distributeurs experts de ces marchés (notamment Toy's R Us), sont habitués a travaillé sur des surfaces relativement grande, dépassant souvent les 2000 m2, ce qui rend donc difficile le déploiement dans un maximum de centres E. Leclerc.
  • Par ailleurs, le marché est ultra concurrentiel, notamment avec un fort poid du chiffre d'affaires réalisé sur Internet.
Les spécificités révélées par LSA sur le concept:
  • Surface moyenne de 700 m2, donc bien plus petite que Toy's R Us.
  • Objectif prévu en 2020: 50 magasins (environ 10% du parc de Centre Leclerc)

Le marché de la distribution de jouet est très intéressant d'un point de vue de category management. En effet, Toy's R Us est souvent considéré comme le prototype de ce qu'on appelle un category killer, c'est à dire une enseigne qu'il est difficile de concurrencer pour un généraliste:
  • Large choix
  • Conseil/service présent
  • Prix ultra compétitifs
  • Théâtralisation, réel savoir faire

Mais d'un point de vue category management, je souhaitais mettre en avant la démarche catégorielle de Leclerc jouet. En effet, l'idée en category management est de pouvoir mieux répondre aux attentes consommateurs en réfléchissant comme lui.

Leclerc a défini différents univers en fonction des besoins/attentes consommateurs, et je trouve cela très réussi:
  • Je joue/je gagne
  • Je suis un héro
  • Je fais comme les grands
  • Je suis une princesse
  • Je suis un artiste
  • Je joue en plein air
  • Je m'éveille

Je trouve la segmentation claire et très bien réussie de ce qu'on voit sur le plan. Ce sera certainement un concept à aller visité d'urgence.

Thursday, July 07, 2016

Is Loyalty Reward Program Still A Must Go In 2016?

I don't discuss as much as I should do about customer relationship management strategies lately. But the topic has evolved a lot those past few years. I remember, and you can read it if you go back in the archives of this blog, a solid customer relationship management program, around a strong loyalty cards, was one of the key strategy in the 2000s. It could help the customer boost its revenues per customers, defend its market shares and create real long term differentiation from the competition. 

But it has evolved a lot. Competition in the retail business is tougher than ever. 
  • Growth is limited, due to the aftermaths of the different financial crisis customers had to face.
  • Ecommerce is maturing, and took strong market shares.
  • New technologies have been able to trigger new shopping behavior, and changes the way standard loyalty reward programs could work.

Lately, some sources have talked about Mc Donald's potentially launching a loyalty reward program. Mc Donald's strategy is still unclear. It has struggled lately to find long term sources of growth, and loyalty reward program is an easy tool to retain customers.

But does it really make sense? I am not so sure any longer. Of course, companies that already have strong loyalty reward programs should capitalize on it. It has several key advantages:
  • Customers remain loyal, and you avoid them to go to the competition
  • You have clear data on purchases, that could help you make the right decisions in terms of category management (launching the proper promotion, or setting up your product range)

But in 2016, with big data, mobile technologies, and a competition that is getting more complexed than before, I believe we will see less and less standard loyalty card strategy coming up.

Tuesday, July 05, 2016

Will Amazon Kill Carrefour, Colruyt, Delhaize?

You must know that I am not so much into those kind of extremist vision about the evolution of commerce. But French Ecommerce trail blazer Jacques Antoine Granjon, CEO of vente-privée.com has discussed about that topic recently during an Ecommerce event organized by the Electronic Business Group (EBG).

He considers Amazon is the largest dumping organization that has ever existed. It could go on with its dumping for 20, 30, 40 years, offering the best prices and combining it with free shipping, which gives them a great competitive edge. Indeed, Amazon could lower their margins by compensating it with the revenues they get from their Cloud computing activities. This strategy could last forever until they kill all the other traditional brick & mortar forms of commerce.

To be honest, I don't see this fact happening. Of course, obviously, Amazon has a very aggressive strategy. They have also a great long term vision on how to invest in order to reach their next steps in terms of retailing.

But you can clearly see that brick & mortar has still a bright future ahead of it. Because commerce is a social activity, and people will always need to see and feel products during their decision making process. Moreover, let's not forget that stores have a real importance in terms of logistics. People will always have interest to go to stores to get their products, especially in the FMCG world.

Now, obviously, there are still a lot of things that will happen within the next few years, and  Amazon will probably get more breakthroughs. But I believe there will be a lot of new things coming up soon that will show out how brick & mortar business will still grow and get better.

Monday, July 04, 2016

Casper: The New Retail Experience In The Digital Age

 I am going to be honest, it is not until not so long ago that I heard about Casper. Casper is a US mattress retailer. But it is very innovative on the way it retails.

  1. They have a single product. They have based their offer on having the best mattress in the market. It makes it therefore easier for the decision making process of the customer but also for the operational execution.
  2. They have a very interesting way to merchandize online. As you have seen on the website, we are far from Amazon. 1 product for every categories. Therefore, they have a very simple way to show their products, simply by scrolling down.
  3. They use social media chatting for customer service. Most of the time, pure players fail to actually provide a great experience because you lack the interaction of a real person. Thanks to the chat interface, you are allowed to speak with someone.

Casper is obviously unique, but it somehow reminds me a bit of Devialet. And I believe that it understands well the new way Ecommerce should be thought through, aside of course Amazon.

Thursday, June 30, 2016

Lidl's International Strategy

If you read this blog, you must know all the respect I have for Lidl as a retailer. Actually, I believe that Lidl is one of the FMCG retailer that have the strongest concept, based on a very efficient operation model.

As I have said in my previous post this week, I have spent several days in Malta. When I arrived at the airport, I found the sign above. This is the same kind of signs I have seen when I went some years ago in Greece. Lidl is advertizing and has chosen its medium. 

This is part of an overal international strategy. Indeed, since 3 to 4 years now, Lidl has started to be more and more marketed in order to recruit new customers that did not used to go to their stores originally. The copy and implement the same strategy worldwide.

Here are some of the components of what we have seen.

  • They communicate in airports for international and visiting clientele.
  • They communicate also by sponsoring some sport national teams: Handball in France, Soccer in Italy
They implement specific categories in order to improve their image. Mostly the fruit and vegetable section, but also the bread section, that is heat up in store. 
They still keep their European strategy by buying in bulk products, but more and more they have specific offers to fit with the local culture. 

They have several local initiatives, but Lidl tends more and more to propose click & collect service, sometimes on specific offers only available online. I am thinking for example to the wine promotions in France with Premium brands.

Lidl is for sure one of the largest competitors to Carrefour, Tesco and even Walmart worldwide, and they have a clear vision of their strategy.