Saturday, February 28, 2009

Crisis and Communication

Media are playing a key role in this crisis. Indeed they are influencing public opinion in how critical the current situation is.

Companies have learnt about how to deal with crisis. Every enterprise and potential profit is coming with an equal probability of failure and problems. As in the stock exchange market, in business, the higher the risk the higher the potential benefit.

Therefore to prevent potential crisis, companies have set up departments to forecast potential issues and processes to solve them. You can find risk management in the financial world, or health crisis in food companies (coke in Europe with infected cans in 1999).

Communications remain the key to thrive during the crisis. Indeed, what is very important is to reassure customers even though you are impacted. Lehman Brothers crashed because they haven't been able to communicate on their problems nor to convince clients and shareholders they were heading anywhere.

The crisis is problematic more about how you communicate on it that the actual potential impact it might get. Biaised information is leading to confusion and panic.

So far I haven't notice much companies able to provide innovative and convincing communication to keep their customers updated and loyal. Still, communication and transparency might be the best way to keep customers buying in this trouble time.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Lorsque le haut de gamme devient Discount

Est-il possible de devenir un discounter de produit haut de gamme? En effet, ces deux termes semblent être opposés. Cependant, de nouvelles entreprises utilise une approche de hard discount dans des secteurs de service haut de gamme. Et souvent, celle-ci s'accompagne de succès marquant.

L'avion: le discount des classes affaires
L'Avion par exemple propose des classes affaires à prix discount en ayant une offre limitée en destination et horaires, mais aussi en dédiant ses avions uniquement à des classes affaires. Finalement, on se trouve bien ici dans une stratégie de hard discount pour un produit qui est haut de gamme, puisqu'il reste, même discount, plus cher qu'une perstation ordinaire.

Le Bio et le hard discount
Est-il possible d'avoir des produits "bio discount"? Le bio se démarque en effet des autres produits par . Grégoire Kaufman, directeur mareketing pour l'enseigne de hard discount ED, évoque ainsi la possibilité de trouver du bio chez les hard discounters.

"Achetez du bio dans le hard discount, comme ça vous aurez les prix et la qualité". Finalement, c'est ce que veut le consommateur à l'heure d'aujourd'hui. Il ne désire pas choisir entre les prix et la qualité. Bien que cela paraisse paradoxale, le consommateur est exigeant, et il est désormais possible de trouver des produits bios dans le hard discount.

Le hard discount et l'industrie de la santé
Trou de la sécurité sociale oblige, l'état de plus en plus réduit le champs des remboursements de l'assurance maladie. C'est ainsi qu'on a vu l'apparition, notamment dans le cadre de l'optique, l'apparition d'enseigne hard discount. Tout d'abord, c'est les enseignes de la grande distribution qui se sont lancé sur le marché, comme E. Leclerc ou Auchan. Mais d'autres entreprises étrangères, spécialisés dans l'optique low cost, sont arrivées, notamment Hans Anders.

Le consommateur veut de la qualité et des prix
Le consommateur est exigeant, et désire tout à la fois. Il devient expert et désire avoir le meilleur service possible au prix le plus bas. C'est pour cela que je pense que le low cost ou hard discount peut arriver dans d'autres domaines appartenant au haut de gamme, et certainement que l'on peut s'attendre à l'apparition de nouvelles entreprises sur des marchés qui se seraient endormis.

Et vous, pensez vous que le discount et le haut de gamme ne sont pas conjugable? Connaissez vous d'autres exemples de low cost dans le domaine du haut de gamme?

About to delete my website

I own the domain name since 2006 and have been hosting my personal website on it since then. The idea was to create a sort of enhanced resume that I could add up to my paper one, in order to show my interest for the web and provide extensive infos about my skills and accomplishments. That was indeed prior to the raise of online business network like viadeo or linkedin, and also the blog explosion (I actually opened my blog before my website in 2005).

But for quite a while now I have been wondering about the interest of my website. It is indeed very difficult to update and to get new content into it, and I fell in love with blogging. Therefore there is right now very few interest in keeping my website, as my audience is erratic compared to my blog.

I am hosted by ovh, and lately I have been receiving some emails warning me they were about to shut down my site because I have over passed the number of visits for the service I have subscribed for. This is the third consecutive month that such a thing happen, and therefore I am not willing to promote a site that I am not sure my audience can access. Moreover, I am not interested in paying more for a product I barely have the use for.

Therefore I am considering hosting this blog onto the domain, which actually will help me to get more exposure in search engines. My only issue is that I liked to own my website to give access to pdfs and documents (thesis, presentations or brochures I have edited) that would demonstrate my professional skills. Therefore I am willing to seek for alternatives to provide the samz kind of service. Probably Iwould use, but still I'd like to have a way to host these documents for free and to provide an easy access via this blog.

If you have any suggestions, let me know, I'd be happy to have your feedback.

Sent from my BlackBerry® wireless device

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Lack Of Customer Relationship Flexibility

I was reading Seth Godin's blog and especially his article called "sorry, you can't be our customer". The marketing guru explains the issue he had while trying to get a specific DVD in a British Blockbuster. As he is an US citizen, the retail did not allow him to get the DVD, probably to avoid any kind of steals.

Seth uses this problem to expose that sometimes, companies should not try to please any customers at all prices, but to focus on their core customers, and not be afraid to refuse to service some customers. I am not totally agree about this fact.

Customer Relationship Management Is About Discriminating Customers
There is no doubt about that. A company should focus on their main customers. Therefore, a company doesn't need to provide a great service to customers with low potential, nor some customers that might even cost more money than what they are purchasing, because for example they would use every day the customer service and send complains every week. This is an actual fact, but nevertheless, forbidding sales personnel to take initiatives in order to please customer, because of too strict company's policies, could have very bad effect on customer relationship, especially because most of the time that creates customer's frustration or the feeling that the company has dumb processes.

Lack Of Customer Relationship Management Flexibility
However, in Seth Godin's case, I am wondering if the company should act as they did. I believe that one of the main problems of customer relationship management strategies is their lack of flexibility. Call center employees are driven by some very strict scripts that avoid any kind of personnal initiative. Same thing for sales persons at retails: their policy is so big that there is no room for improvisation.

Personal Initiative As Motor Of Innovation
Employees ideas and knowledge of customer is very valuable. I actualy believe that customer relationship (CRM) programs should leave some room for personal initiative in its process. By having too standardized process, some customers' interactions seem dumb because it hasn't been thought through a customer mind, but because of corporate issues. CRM should be able to leverage employees initiative and knowledge of customer to build its strategy.
If one customer need to buy a DVD and that it is profitable for the company, maybe it could become an opportunity to create an added value service, and extend the business model of the company.

I think this example shows out well that big companies don't leave enough room for customization of service because of strict corporate businesses. This lack of customer relationship flexibility are I believe one of the main reasons of customer's disatisfaction, as they most of the time appeared during conflicts.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

McKinsey Is Turning Web 2.0

I am a McKinsey Quarterly Newsletter subscriber and received last week an email about new features. Actually, it looks like McKinsey is turning web 2.0. Now you can access to the McKnsey Quaterly's Newsletter via :
What I like about that is the fact McKinsey is using wisely those technologies. Indeed, I find great that the Twitter is a real one, meaning they don't simply post their new articles via the Twitter account, but they interact with the users. Moreover, the Facebook page looks good too.

The real news is that the newsletter is turning multi channel, and by this fact, it enables the user to access faster to it. Indeed, the user might be more familliar with one medium than another. Internet is a complex medium that owns different ways to consume information, and this initiative shows it well. Personnally, the RSS feed works good for me as I can access it wether on my netvibes page or on my blackberry.

Great initiative that shows well what kind of benefits a consulting company could get by using web 2.0 technologies. McKinsey has now more tools to increase its exposure by helping users to get an easier access to the information.

La bataille de Paris de la grande distribution

J'ai repris le titre de l'article de LSA sur son site Internet concernant l'arrivée d'un magasin alimentaire U Express à Paris. Je souhaitais profiter de l'occasion pour écrire un article concernant la nouvelle bataille que les grandes enseignes de la distribution s'apprêtent à mener afin de pouvoir s'installer à Paris.

La bataille de Paris: un bastion à prendre

En effet, depuis le début du développement de l'hypermarché, les pouvoirs publiques ont interdit les enseignes de la grande distribution de s'implanter dans Paris intra murros, afin de pouvoir proteger le petit commerce.

Alors qu'il est de plus en plus difficile de trouver de nouveaux espaces de création d'hypermarché, bien que la loi soit plus souple à ce niveau, et que le commerce de proximité est en plein essort, le marché de la distribution alimentaire parisien semble devenir plus qu'attractif. C'est pourquoi on peut bien parler de bataille de Paris.

Les grandes enseignes sur le coup

Ainsi, comme le souligne LSA, aujourd'hui il existe dans la capitale Monoprix, une enseigne haut de gamme chic, et de l'autre côté Franprix, une enseigne en perte de vitesse avec un concept vieillissant. Au milieu? Pas grand chose, des petits épiciers et quelques ED.

Mais aujourd'hui les grands groupes de la grande distribution semble vouloir conquérir Paris, à l'heure où le concept d'hypermarché est mis à rude épreuve.

Carrefour a récemment lancé Carrefour City (un peu copié du concept City Monop' non?), et maintenant, c'est au tour de Système U d'émettre des ambitions pour Paris.
Auchan qand à lui reste en dehors de la capitale, mais à profiter de la nouvelle loi Galland pour ouvrir de nouveaux hypers au Kremlin Bicetre, ou à Nanterre entre autre.

Il sera donc intéressant de voir ce que ces grandes enseignes auront à proposer pour concurrencer Monoprix.

Les clés pour réussir en centre ville
La distribution en centre ville possède des spécificités qui expliquent pourquoi les grandes enseignes ont développé des concepts adaptés à ce genre d'exercice. Voici les principales clés pour réussir sur ce marché atypique.

  • Le service: Le service est clé en centre ville. Monoprix peut justifier de ces prix élevé car il est souvent bien placé, et qu'il propose beaucoup de services (livraisons) à ses consommateurs.

  • L'innovation: Le magasin de proximité se doit de proposer des produits innovatifs, malgré une largeur de linéaire limité. Le challenge réside bien là: des gammes bien choisies, avec le nécessaire mais aussi des nouveautés marquantes.

  • Le prix: Le meilleur facteur pour se différencier reste de proposer des prix plus bas que la concurrence. Chose que Monoprix ne sait pas faire, alors que les autres sont très performant à ce sujet.

Il sera intéressant dans les prochains jours de voir comment se développe ces réseaux sur le secteur parisien, et qui seront les grands gagnants.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

The Myth Of The Long Tail

Do you know about the long tail? The Long Tail is an economic theory designed by Chris Anderson that defines the characteristic of online retailing and why it is so different from traditional retailing.
One of the fundamental idea, is that the Pareto law, is not applicable to online stores.
Instead of having 80% of a store's sales coming from 20% of the products it distributes, an online retailer would have a lot of niche markets that would represent its main sales.

Here is a video of Chris Anderson explaining the Long Tail.

The Register is hitting hard the theory in an article called The Long Fail
. It underlines some approximation of the theory, and points out the weaknesses of the idea with economical facts.

Is the Long Tail a myth? It really doesn't exist. I believe that the long tail concept explains well the differences between what an online retailer can do versus a traditional one. Because online stores can have an unlimited selection of products (since it is not limited by no shelves size), online retails can delevop some niche markets that would provide them competitive advantages. That is the real idea of the long tail.

It might be deceiving to see that the Long Tail is not a concrete economical theory, but, economical theories are anyways no 100% sure. I believe it is still a good indication for online retailers to work on their product selection.

What do you think about it? Do you still have faith in this long tail. Do you know some examples where it is applicable?

Friday, February 20, 2009

Twitter To Charge Companies

Twitter has announces it was considering charging companies using its services. Co-founder Biz Stone has not been much precise on how the company will proceed to start charging companies, nor about the cost it might be.

Actually this announce is very important as it is the first move of the start up toward setting up a true business plan. So far the company was focusing on growing the community and secure a high quality service. But with the economic downturns, Twitter might have had to speed up their reflection on how to monetize the service.

The only problem is that some companies have already started using Twitter for free, and are reluctant to have to pay for something they have for free right now. Therefore, Twitter, in order to make some companies pay for the service need to work on the value of the service.

Indeed, why should a company be on Twitter? Is it for the innovative way to communicate, thanks to this micro blogging format? Actually I don't believe in it. I think it would be very easy for an international company to create its own micro blogging website to give updates to customers.

Now is it about the Twitter's community. Actually, this is one of the main way to evaluate the potential for a web 2.0 company: how many people I can potentially interact with thanks to the service. And that isn't a good news for Twitter that Facebook is aiming to compete with them. Facebook is way more popular so far than Twitter, and has advanced feature that allow a better segmentation than Twitter.

A lot of questions remain unanswered about Twitter's way to leverage its service and set up a viable business plan. I believe Twitter should right now think a little bit more about how to sell its product, to get companies' awareness.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Eye Tracking Study On Google

David Spark
, a good friend of mine, published on his blog this very good eye tracking example on some Google's webpages. Since owning a great spot in a search engine page results is so important, this kind of study should be considered to optimize your emarketing campaigns.

Credit Offers To Boost Sales During Crisis

Best Buy is famous worldwide for using data to make strategic decisions. In the past they've already used some data mining to reorganize their stores's sections, to fit with the local specificities (as presented in Pierre Volle's book about customer relationship management).

As the crisis is still going on the financing question is key. That is the result of a Best buy study on their sales since the crisis has started. Indeed, over 1000 dollars products like TVs and home theatres are impacted by the current economical issues.

Thanks to this study, that pointed out this fact, Best Buy launched a new financing programs enabling customers to buy via a credit.

This article brings up two very important fact. First of all, it shows how customer relationship management program can drive strategic decisions. Secondly it shows how financing is a very important factor of consumption and, beyond it, of customer relationship management.
I have actually dedicated a blog article about how credit could be a customer relationship tool, about 6 months ago. This is even more true right now. As consumption is difficult, companies should emphasizes on how to help customers to consume. I believe financing is going to be an important sales trigger within next few months.

Trader Joe's 2.0 Commercial

Here is a video found on one of my favorite blog, The Social Customer Manifesto blog. This is a commercial that has been edited by Trader Joe's customers that took videos and pictures of their retail. What is great about the video, is that you can see how objective it is.

The key takeaway:

"The video is mostly complimentary but shows Trader Joe's warts and all. Once input has been gathered from across the Web, put together a report with some qualitative findings that can be discussed internally within the organization. Remember, a brand isn't what you say it is—it's what they say it is." (emphasis added)

This kind of initiative remains very rare, but it shows well what kind of benefits a brand could get from working with its customers to create marketing programs.

When customers are involved, they are able to give a good outlook of what a company really is. I wish this kind of ad will be copied by other brands.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Youtube Develops Interactivity With Street Fighter

Check out this youtube video.

This shows new features of Youtube. Now you are able to interact with the video. This is a great news, because it actually create an added value to the simple fact of watching a video.

New great features have come up lately in terms of video content.
  • We have seen with Seesmic that you could interact with communities thanks to video.
  • We have seen you could have dynamic content with new Internet enabled TVs.
  • Tivo demonstrates how you could propose customized content based on previous consumption.
  • Youtube is going a step further, by allowing the audience to interact with it. The audience could actually participate on the go to the program, and therefore contribute to the content.
I believe the perspective of this technology is great. What is sure, is that TV content consumption will dramatically change within the next few years thanks to all these new technologies.

I can't wait to see some new apps based on this technology to see a little bit better what could be the potential of it.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Blackberry Curve 8900

I have recently bought a blackberry curve 8900. If you know me well, you probably know that it has always been my dream to own such a device. I actually had to fight for it as I have explained in this blog to get it, because if some trouble with the phone house, the eretailer I ordered it from. Anyways all of these problems are over, and I actually believe that the phone house has been very understanding and paid me back with no pain.

As I have promessed to Nicolas Clairembault, who actually bought recently the same phone, I thought it would be a good idea to post my first blog note from my blackberry to give you my feedback about this phone.

My Needs
I decided to get a blackberry for different reason. First of all, I wanted an advanced organizer, with easy to use calendar and task management feature. Secondly, I wanted a tool to check my emails at all time, even while I could not access a computer. Thirdly, it was important for me to have a way to blog on the go, and therefore to not forget some ideas. Lastly, I wanted to have an easy way to check my favorite blogs and podcasts.

My opinion
So far everything is doing great. The full keyboard is very convenient to type in emails and meetings. The interface is also very easy to understand. I would like though to change the home page to show tasks and the schedule, but I don't know yet if that is possible.

Also I am very happy about the RSS feed reader, which makes it easy to go through. The web browser is pretty good too.

The great new features are basically the Internet connections: whereas the previous versions were based on the wap technology, this one is equiped with wifi and edge. This is very easy to configure with a local wifi system. Also the phone come with a 1gb memory stick and an enhanced camera of 3.2 mega.

I am still figuring out the different advanced features but so far I really enjoy this device.
Sent from my BlackBerry® wireless device

Retail And Technology

You probably know how important I believe new technologies (Internet and mobile devices) will impact traditionnal retail. Here is a video found on PPC's blog, showing the vision of Microsoft on how customers will shop thanks to new technologies.

Retails are becoming bigger and bigger whereas suppliers are expanding more and more their product ranges. This makes it difficult to shop, and technology can for sure improve the grocery shopper's experience.

Also, a very interesting point of this video, is about the checkout via the cellphone. There is a lot of room for improvement in this area, as it is common in Japan to use such a payment, and it is not developped at all neither in Europe nor in the US.

In France, a service called keyshopping launched a new service for customers. Shoppers can log on line and edit their shoplist, then print out the retail's map with the most efficient way to go through and get all the products they need.
This service has been already implemented in Auchan Velizy hypermarket. I will give you further details about the service will they will provide me with the videos explaining the concept you can find on their website.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Guinea Pig's movie

I know that might seem ackward to speak about guinea pig on this blog. Actually I own a guinea pig. But I found this very funny video on youtube I wanted to share it with you.

Facebook To Compete With Twitter

Facebook has recently announced it will opens its status API, which will enable him to compete with Twitter.

"Tonight Facebook has made a number of updates to the Facebook platform one of which is the opening of status updates. In order to get Facebook statuses, you no longer need to use a session ID to access statuses. This is a huge update and one that I think is going to take Facebook to the next level. There are additional updates listed in the Facebook blog post:

Specifically, your applications can now directly access all of a user’s status, links, and notes via new methods and FQL calls. Your application will have access to any status, notes, or links from the active user or their friends that are currently visible to the active user. In addition, we’re opening new APIs for you to post links, create notes, or upload videos for the current user, and we’ve made setting a user’s status easier."

I believe this is a bad news for Twitter. Indeed, Facebook owns a greater community than Twitter, which counts 150 million users in the world, and therefore have more opportunities to develop. Also, let's not forget than Twitter have shown some technical problems many times, which actually bugged me for a while. Twitter still owns the leadership as they have created the concept and was able to create a great buzz around it, but Facebook has a bigger brand and legitimacy on the web. That will be interesting to see if Facebook is actually able to catch up.

The only problem I can see in this announce is that it might raise up the privacy concerns Facebook already had. Now anyone can now what you and your friends are doing... This is going a step forward, which is actually scary.

As Facebook is celebrating its 5th birthday, it shows they are eager to expand, and to challenge other web 2.0 actors.

What do you think about it? Does Facebook has a chance to challenge Twitter?

Monday, February 09, 2009

Souvenir du Minitel a consacré dernièrement un article sur le Minitel. Il est en effet très intéressant de se repencher sur cette formidable aventure. N'oublions pas que le Minitel a été l'un des premiers système d'information grand publique, avec une importante activité mercantile.
Retour donc nostalgique sur cet appareil que les français ont chéri pendant longtemps.

Le Minitel toujours en vie
Le Minitel reste toujours en activité contre tout attente: encore quelques 4000 services sont disponibles, même si le 3611, le premier annuaire électronique au monde, va disparaître d'ici peu.
L'utilisation reste centrée à quelques PME s'en servant pour leurs communications avec fournisseurs.

Le Minitel: premier Internet
Le développement fantastique du Minitel n'est certainement pas étranger aux difficultés de développement des débuts de l'Internet. En effet le taux d'équipement en France du Minitel était très fort, et au début les avantages du web étaient limités.

Les atouts du Minitel sont multiples, mais surtout, ce qui ressort de cette article, c'est de la robustesse du système, à la foie du système d'exploitation mais aussi de l'unité principale. De plus, le système a une sécurité prouvée, car il n'est pas assujetti aux virus, et assure une confidentialité totale.

Même si à l'heure d'aujourd'hui, le Minitel est en train de vivre ses derniers instants, on peut avoir une pensée pour cet Internet préhistorique, qui a certainement montré la voie à bien des sociétés lors de l'arrivée du web.

Sunday, February 08, 2009

Loic Lemeur Interviews Seth Godin: Tribal Marketing

Loic Lemeur has posted on his blog an interview of Seth Godin he made at Ted. Seth Godin, for those who don't know, is one of the most popular marketing guru, and one of the most influent blogger in the world.. He wrote 2 main books that marked the marketing industry: Permission marketing and Tribes.

In this video Seth explains mainly the new concept of tribal marketing, which is inspired by all the social media that is happening on the web. It reminds me actually that as a student of Paris Dauphine I have attended a conference about tribal marketing held by Bernard Cova. Bernard Cova is a sociologist specialized in tribes and wrote several books about this topic. Tribal marketing consist in creating some tribes or using existing tribes of fans of a brand. Brands can leverage these tribes in order to promote or even to create new products that would fit customers' bid.

I will probably read this book pretty soon, and you should check this video, if you are interested in new forms of marketing.

Friday, February 06, 2009

Les offres de téléphones hybrides peinent à se développer

Le site Internet du Point réalise un état des lieux des offres de téléphones hybrides en France. Vous connaissez les téléphones hybrides? Se sont des offres de téléphonies utilisant un seul téléphone portable, pouvant être utilisé aussi bien comme portable, mais aussi comme téléphone fixe. En fonction d'où vous vous trouvé, vous utilisez le service de téléphonie mobile hors de votre domicile, mais aussi les appels illimités gratuits en vous connectant en wifi lorsque vous êtes chez vous.

Cette offre, qui a été lancée en premier par Orange en 2006 avec "Unik", peine à se développer, et ceci pour plusieurs raisons:
  • La technologie n'est pas forcément intuitive à utiliser, et ainsi beaucoup de clients peinent à se retrouver entre la connection wifi et la connection sur le réseau mobile.
  • Des téléphones peut attirant, souvant au design ringard.
  • La généralisation des forfaits "home zone", qui permettent d'appeller à partir d'un portable des téléphones fixes d'une zone proche du logement de l'abonné, ce qui rend obsolète le concept de téléphone hybride.
Cependant, le concept reste intéressant, vu qu'il matérialise parfaitement les stratégies des opérateurs de téléphonie mobile dans leur stratégie de convergence technologique. Est-ce la fin de la téléphonie hybride? Je pense qu'on la reverra très prochainement, certainement avec des offres d'abonnement mieux adaptées à l'utilisation des consommateurs.

Wednesday, February 04, 2009

Michael Jordan and Failure

Here is a commercial with Michael Jordan talking about failure. I watched it randomly as I was going through some basketball games on Youtube. I think this commercial is very inspiring as it is exposing a key factor of success: trying. My grand father used to say "if you are never taking the shot, you will never know if it would have got in". This is actually very true. There is a long history of people that have failed prior experiencing great success.

Here are some examples:
  • Steve Jobs has been fired by the company he's created. At this point most of the experts were considering Apple was going in limbo as Microsoft was dominating the market with Windows.
  • French businessman François Pinault, one of the wealthiest man in France, has failed as a student, quitting school at age 16, before being hired by his wife's father. He is know ruling the biggest luxury brand holding in the world.
  • Silvester Stallone was totally broke and has never been able to launch his actor career before he wrote Rocky, which became one of the biggest international blockbuster of the 80's.
  • Donald Trump has gone many times broke.
In the American culture of entrepreneurship, failure is actually considered as a good thing, because it shows the ability of someone to undertake projects, but also they believe that a failure is a great experience in order to not make the same kind of mistakes.

That is the reason why I like the speech in this commercial, that emphasize the importance of failure sometimes to become successful.

Le site ecommerce de The Phone House

Je viens récemment d'acheter sur le site The Phone House un Blackberry curve. Cela fait maintenant plus de deux semaines que je l'attends, et il ne m'a toujours pas été livré. C'est pour cela que je voulais partager avec vous ma mésaventure, pour un peu mieux comprendre le process et le suivi de commande sur le site.

Acheter un téléphone avec abonnement en ligne
J'ai commandé en ligne mon Blackberry il y a de cela plus de deux semaines déjà. Je pensais (peut être naivement), qu'au moment du règlement du téléphone, et surtout après avoir donné mes coordonnées bancaires sur le site, j'aurai été capable de signer un contrat en ligne. Cependant, il n'est pas possible.

Le jour d'après la commande, je reçois un email de la part de The Phone House me prévenant que le contrat de l'opérateur m'avais été envoyé, et qu'ils menverraient mon téléphone au plus vite lorsqu'ils auront reçu les informations dont ils ont besoin avec le contrat signé.

J'étais déjà de prime à bord déçu, car je me doutais bien à ce moment que la procédure serait plus longue que prévue. Une semaine après, je n'ai toujours rien reçu... On m'envoie alors un deuxième email de The Phone House, s'inquiétant de n'avoir toujours rien reçu. Je leur répond bien sûr que je n'avais pas reçu le contrat. Il me réponde alors le lendemain qu'ils me renvoient un exemplaire du contrat... On en est déjà à plus d'une semaine d'attente. Je reçois donc mon contrat. Cela fait une semaine que celui-ci a été envoyé, et je n'ai depuis plus de nouvelles de The Phone House, qui ne m'a ni prévenu s'ils avaient reçu mon contrat (pas de nouvelles, bonne nouvelle??), ni que mon téléphone était parti et le délai restant avant de recevoir mon téléphone.

Un procédé non automatisé
Je pense que le principal problème de ce site est que les procédés de gestion de commande n'ont pas été optimisés. En effet, le fait que la plupart des contacts se font par email montre bien que le système requiert la présence d'une personne se chargeant manuellement des différents envois des courriers. En effet, je pense qu'il est primordial de développé un système permettant la signature en ligne du contrat, afin de limité le temps d'obtention du téléphone. Cela passe, bien évidemment par un partenariat entre l'opérateur et ThePhone House pour héberger ce type de service.

De la difficulté du site marchand
Cela prouve tout de même que le commerce en ligne n'est pas forcément si facile que cela pour les enseignes de commerce traditionnelle: en effet, on pourrait penser qu'une enseigne comme The Phone House, qui reste tout de même jeune, et positionnée sur les technologies, serait capable d'avoir un service irreprochable pour son site marchand. Cependant, comme nous le montre cette exemple, les procédés de relation client et de suivi des commandes restent artisanaux, et il semble manquer d'information claire sur le suivi des dossiers.

Je pense qu'il serait judicieux pour The Phone House de repenser son site marchand afin d'améliorer son service client, car en tant qu'enseigne spécialisée dans le commerce de téléphone portable, elle se doit de proposer un site irréprochable sur ses différents canaux de distribution.

Tuesday, February 03, 2009

Meetic To Buy Europe

French leader of the online dating market Meetic is about to buy the activities in Europe. This is a very important news as it is very rare that an European company is able to beat a US based company. Most of the time it is the opposite that happen, with US companies buying successful European start up, like Ebay buying Skype, or Yahoo buying Kelkoo. entered in the European market couple of years ago whereas Meetic was already leading in the market. They have never been able to find the keys to become competitive.

Here are some lessons we should think about in this headline.
  • Local adaptation matters: has never been able to adapt to the different European market. Meetic however has been able to adapt its site to the different cultures of dating, and to spread all over Europe.
  • Barrier of Entry = community size : I believe that the reason why has never been able to grow in Europe is because at this time already had a large community of users. Social network's interest is based on the size of the community it has. That is the reason why Facebook is getting so big: The more users, the higher the interest. Also, the bigger the community of your competitor is the harder to get in the market. Indeed, it will be difficult to come back if the gap is too wide.
  • European's style of start up financing : US companies tend to be more impacted by the current crisis than European's ones. US firms might have a greater access to fund raising than in Europe, but Meetic set up a secured business model right from the start which helps it to keep on earning money despite the bad economical conditions.
  • 1.0 business model is safer: Meetic's revenues are based mainly on subscription, which is less and less common nowadays. Most of the 2.0 companies bet on their ability to generate revenues by advertising than by making their users pay. is the opposite and right from the start, secure the business model in this way.
Here is the interview Meetic's founder Marc Simoncini gave to Loic Lemeur (seesmic) during Le Web 3 conference in Paris. A great lesson from a master of the Internet.