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.

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Category Management Series: Travel Retail Case Study

As I explained in my yesterday post, I have visited Malta, a beautiful destination that I recommend to you if you live in Europe. While I was waiting for my plane, I had the opportunity to visit a pretty well executed retail store. And it made me thought a lot about in store category management execution.

The store's purpose
One of the first thing to think about is to understand your store purpose. And when it comes to travel retail, the purpose is clear:
  1. To improve your flight experience
  2. To get the products you will need when you will be at your place, that you might have forgotten
  3. Getting souvenirs you did not have time to purchase.
Focusing on the store's organization
You need to have your largest categories in the back for customers to make sure they purchase things out. That's what this store made: the book category was at the end of the store. Most importantly, I liked the merchandizing and the way the different segments were played: business, historical, cooking, etc...

You also had all the categories represented. Interesting to visit, because once again the products' formats, the book selection, the way souvenirs were displaied, everything was well executed.

Monday, June 27, 2016

Retail In Malta

Not so long ago I spent some vacation on the Island of Malta. Even though it was for leisure purpose, and actually it remained mostly about that, as I have not spent much time visiting stores, I still was able to find out a bit more about the retail landscape.

About Malta
What is interesting about Malta is first its geography. It is at the south of Italy. Therefore, you will find a lot of Italian products and brands.
Moreover, it is an island. There is hence different factors that will shape the retail landscape.

  1. First in terms of products: You will find a lot of fish products.
  2. Secondly, the cost of retailing. Indeed, you need to import a lot of products. Two consequences. A fairly big part of the products are made in Malta, but some international products, especially cosmetics, were pretty expensive.
  3. There is no potable water on the island. And it is very hot. Therefore, the water category is very large in the island, with large formats.

The retailers
A lot of small convenience stores can be find, or small hypermarkets. The roads are small, and the island is small. Therefore, no need to have a big hypermarket. I have found none there.

But another format of retail is thriving there: Lidl. Indeed, Lidl can have a very efficient supply chain, multiplying the stores in order to cover the whole Island. Good strategy.

I haven't visited one (once again, not a long time, and really focusing on the tourism part of the vacations), but Tower Supermarket is really a great store. A big focus on fresh products, with specific concepts, well executed, a large health and beauty section.

A very modern store, that could work in most of European countries. It is always funny to see how local retailer can sometimes be so good.

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Some Features Of The Whole Foods Market 365 Store Concept

Whole Foods Market is obviously one of the hypest grocery store concept in the world. What is also fascinating, is that it has been rarely copied by competition in other countries, even though its international expansion is very limited so far.

Whole Foods Market has recently hit the headlines with its new 365 store concept, dedicated to smaller formats, closer to downtowns. 

Cheaper, with lower operationnal costs: 365 aims to expand the clientale of Whole Foods Market by different means, but also by cutting of the prices. In order to keep its expenses under control, it will cut down the operational costs:
  • Fewer product ranges
  • Less employees
  • Ready to sell products, cutting assisted sales
Will the formula works? It will be interesting to follow, because the competition will be rough on smaller FMCG stores.

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Relation client: Excellente Campagne Allo Resto, le Goal Delivery

Un petit blog en cette période de coupe d'Europe sur une très bonne initiative d'Alloresto.fr. Bien évidemment, la période de la coupe du monde est souvent l'occasion de se faire livrer à domicile, notamment les fameuses pizzas. C'est donc une très bonne période pour Alloresto.fr de communiquer. Ils ont donc fait une publicité intéressante.

Si vous récupérez votre commande au moment où un but est marqué, vous êtes remboursé de votre pizza. Plusieurs choses sont intéressante:
  • Le timing de communication parfait avec la coupe du monde.
  • Le discours, qui est dans l'empathie, et qui permet de "lever" un vrai faux frein à la commande de produit à domicile alors que le match a déjà commencé.
  • Pour se faire rembourser, il faut twitter un Hashtag spécifique, qui permet de faire du marketing viral sur Twitter.
  • C'est très créatif, et donc cela démarque de la concurrence.


Monday, June 13, 2016

L'Ubérisation du commerce: Les places de marché

Les places de marché sont un sujet complexe, où j'ai souvent du mal à me placer. C'est en tout cas très clairement une des tendances de fond du commerce de demain. Elle offre bien des avantages:
  • Pour le distributeur: une capacité à tester de nouveaux marché, à élargir de manière exponentielle ses gammes sans soucis techniques de place entrepôt, mais également de pouvoir avoir de nouvelles sources de revenus pour son traffic.
  • Pour le locataire de l'espace, une manière d'avoir de la visibilité rapidement, de pouvoir bénéficier des outils du E commerçant sans investir dedans, et très souvent, de faciliter son approvisionnement et son offre commerciale, puisque celle-ci n'a pas forcément besoin de répondre aux mêmes impératifs qu'un distributeur classique.

Ces market places ont permis notamment de faire baisser les prix de vente consommateur, notamment en favorisant les importations de produit, et donc jouant des politiques commerciales des fournisseurs souvent bancales entre pays européens. 

Mais demain, la question est de se poser de la stratégie commerciale des enseignes. Comment se différencier si tous les produits sont présents partout, et qu'il n'y a plus de réflexion sur le merchandizing de l'offre commercial?

Comment faire pour sécuriser les rentabilités et la politique prix de son offre, puisque souvent une offre concurrente existe à quelques clicks sur le même site? 
Pareil pour les industriels, qui sont beaucoup plus à la merci de modification soudaine de stratégie qui peut les écarter à tout moment.

Je n'ai pas vraiment de réponse à ce sujet, plus des interrogations sur comment le phénomène va se développer. Néanmoins, j'ai 2 visions:
  • La première sera l'émergence de spécialistes de la market places, des grossistes qui deviendront aussi gros que les clients E-commerçants, car ils auront la capacité à investir, et casser les prix des produits qu'ils pourront proposer sur plusieurs sites différents.
  • Il va y avoir une concurrence généralisée, qui va faire baisser les prix des produits de grande consommation, car des écarts tarifaires entre pays ne pourront plus être accepté ni par les distributeurs, ni par les consommateurs.
Pour aller plus loin, l'édito de LSA sur le sujet.

Thursday, June 09, 2016

Category Management Series: L'incrémental lié aux nouveaux formats de produits

Très bon article trouvé sur Nielsen. Et qui va certainement relancer le débat sur la taille des gammes.

Nielsen nous donne des informations sur l'incrémental générer par rajouter un format de plus grande taille à une gamme de produit. Dans 90% des cas, le nouveau produit génère un incrémental. 
Très souvent également, c'est en ayant un plus gros format que l'on génère le plus de chiffre d'affaires incrémental.

Néanmoins, je ne suis pas forcément très fan de ce genre de constat. Je suis d'accord sur l'impact d'augmentation du nombre de références sur le chiffre d'affaires, et notamment des formats plus stockant. Mais il ne faut pas oublier l'impact sur la chaine de valeur qu'il y a à multiplier les formats.

  • On diminue le chiffre d'affaires au mètre linéaire
  • Souvent en dévalorise, car le plus gros format est vendu moins cher au prix/kg
  • On augmente de manière significative les coûts opérationnels, de mise en rayon, de coût de stockage, et de gestion administrative derrière.
Il est toujours important de prendre cela en compte, car l'efficience commerciale est souvent non présente sur ce genre de décision.

Wednesday, June 08, 2016

Retail Is A Media: How Carrefour Uses Its Store For Advertizing Purposes

Since the First Moment Of Truth concept, it has been a while that POS (Point of Sale) marketing has been developped in order to boost sales in store. Of course, a good advertizing during the shopping experience could be far more productive than advertizing on standard media while customers are not really into the mindset of editing their shopping list.

Carrefour has developped its POS tools in order to convince suppliers to use them. You will have below a very interesting video showing examples on how to use their services. 

Now, what I believe is still lacking while discussing about the impact of point of sales marketing, is the real impact of it. Indeed, in order to really trigger the sales, it is important this point of sales marketing effort is linked with other triggers, especially promotions. We all know how much of an impact it could be to have both leveraged at the same time.

What do you think about it?

Tuesday, June 07, 2016

The Future Of Private Label

Private Label is a very interesting topic nowadays. For years private label has been considered as gold by retailers as it was achieving several goals at the same time:
  • ·         Differentiation with competition by having non comparable products
  • ·         Improving price image, by lowering the prices per unit of standard products
  • ·         Generating higher margins for most of them.

But the conjuncture has changed. Today, retailers in France are fighting in a mature market that is struggling to find growth. There has been two consequences:
  • ·         Cutting prices to keep a competitive advantage.
  • ·         Raising the number of promotions to generate more traffic in stores and get market shares.

Both of them have hurt private labels:
  • ·         The investment in lowering price has been taken on the development of private labels for different reasons including more negotiation leverage with international suppliers but also to compensate some of the lost margins.
  • ·         Prices of international brands are for a longer and longer period of the year at the same price of private label…

But what is the future of private label? I stille believe private label is a great strategic tools. And you can actually see that some of the best performing brands in retailing are still betting on private labels. As said Anders Dahlvig in its book, Ikea has thriven on developing their own products, which allowed them to work on added value better than competition. Anders Dahlvig exposes the fact: when every retailers distribute the same products, there are no other choices but to compete on prices by lowering them to leverage sales.
Now private label must be taken as a strategic tool to achieve its goal, not to be a cheaper me-too. 

Monday, June 06, 2016

The Future Of Pop Up Stores

Pop Up store is for sure a very important trend going on right now in retailing. The Ecommerce boom has created new needs in terms of commercial real estate, and therefore the pop up store concept allows malls to have a flexible solution to fight against store vacancy. 

I read this very interesting article about Pop Up Store. Indeed, the article questions the future of pop up store. I agree with the article, pop up store has blossomed in a market in crisis, benefeting from low renting prices. And it seems landlords are eager now to raise rents.

But I believe actually pop up stores will be fore sure THE trend of commercial real estate:
  • First, pop up store will become a real business. It will structure itself, better master the concept, in order to lower the cost of implementation, which will ultimately raise profitability. I believe that the savings that could be leveraged from mastering the concept are far more important than a raise of rents.
  • Secondly, I believe that the real estate landscape will never get back to what it used to be. Digitalization will hit new businesses, Ecommerce will still grow, and will lead to more store shutting down (in a small proportion but still). Therefore, pop up store business will be a key to keep profitability and malls attractive.
  • Thirdly, I believe we will see retailers I believe that will have a 100% pop up store business. This will be a big thing, you shall watch.

Wednesday, June 01, 2016

Big Data and Category Management

I believe category management is on the hedge of a new revolution. A revolution that will be based on big data.

Let's not forget that most of category management steps of innovations have been made available thanks to technology:
  • Walmart has been able to master its supply chain by launching satellites to control data over it.
  • As say Terry Leah, former CEO of Costco, he has been able to launch its loyalty reward program only when computing power was strong enough to deal with the large amount of data.
And today, technology has never been so big. Big data is for sure something that could impact big time retail, because retail owns massive amount of data about shopping behavior, sales, and supply chain.

We all know that there are many factors that could impact sales in store:
  • Product location within a store
  • Product availability : minimizing out of stock
  • The store's traffic: more traffic = more probability one shopper would go by a product, improving the probability to sell it.
  • Stores location: how many stores distribute the product.
  • Other media advertizing: Radio, social media, TV, etc...
  • POS marketing: Animations. 
  • Weather: sun lotion, soft drinks, ice cream when it is hot.
  • Shopping experience
All of these components may impact on one product. And at the moment, it is difficult to analyze those data:
  • You need to register all the components to be taken into account
  • You need high computing powers to process them.
  • Lastly, you need software that will help you get the right information.

So far, I believe not much of those big data have been developped, and I am eager to see how big data is actually leverage in retail to boost sales.

Category Management Series: Good Example Of How To Promote A Category

Promotion is one of the most powerful tools to grow a category. But promotion may have different prospectives:
  • For retailers the main priority at the time is to grow markeshare, for the shopper to get the products at their place instead of the competition.
  • For suppliers, mostly, it is to grow their volumes at specific occasions.
  • It could also be to promote innovation, by cutting down the threshold of price for example.
  • It could be to reward loyal customers.

But in a category management prospective, I believe that there is most of the time very few initiative on the retailer side.

I found this promotion in a Carrefour flyer. I find it very interesting. Indeed:
  • You have tips and advices on how to use the products.
  • You have the right promotions that fit the cocktail proposal.
  • The products are owned by different suppliers. And that is what I like: The retailer take the initiative to grow the category by being the leader of the initiative.

Some good food for thoughts.

Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Costco Launching A New Store Concept : Costco Business Centre

This is a news found in the Canadian newspapers. Costco will launch a new store concept in Canada near Toronto this fall. 2 other locations may be coming soon. 

What will be this concept about?
  • Focusing on business customers. Costco's sales are split in half between standard customers and business customers. But Costco's standard stores have a short limited product range, and sometimes, formats may not be suitable or most suited for businesses. Therefore product range will be adapted.
  • Standard customers will be welcomed. It won't be restricted. 
  • New specific categories will be available: Professional kitchen hardware, office gears and furnitures for example. On the opposite, toys, books, clothings, which are standard categories for Costco won't be available at all. 80% of the product range will be different.
  • New specific services: Costco will be offering 1 day delivery. Deliveries will be held by Costco's staff. 
This is interesting news, because Costco is not really familliar with twisting its original concept, especially as it works great. Nevertheless, they have already innovated by entering the Chinese market by setting an online joint venture with Alibaba. In terms of category management, this is also very interesting as they have really worked on different features to please the shopper:
  • Product range
  • Product categories
  • Services.

I can't wait to see how this strategy will unfold, especially as Costco is competing in different market with Metro which has almost a monopoly in the btob wholesale business. 

Sunday, May 29, 2016

Carrefour Is Strenghting His Board

Very interesting news in French professional magazin lineaires: Moulin familly (who funded and own Galleries Lafayette) has become the first shareholder of Group Carrefour, overpassing Bernard Arnaud & Colony Capital. 

This is a very interesting News. Indeed Carrefour's shareholding used to be divided in very small pieces, which complicated the possibility of the company to have a long term strategy.

Now Carrefour counts 3 main shareholders, counting for about 30% of the votes:

  • The Moulin Familly, which owns Gallery Lafayette, a retailer specialized in fashion and premium goods.
  • Groupe Arnault, which is also in the luxury business with its LVMH company.
  • Abilio Diniz, which is one of the trail blazer and most influential retailer in Brazil, a strategic market for Carrefour.
What I liked about this news is that it gives strength and purpose to the board, which can now focus on the retail business on a long term prospective. Moreover, those 3 shareholders have knowledge about the retail business.

I believe this will be interesting to see how they see the future of Carrefour.

CapitalDroits de vote
Famille Moulin (1)11,51 %15,33 %
Groupe Arnault (2)8,95 %11,92 %
Abilio Diniz (3)8,05 %nc
Colony Capital (2)5,23 %7,70 %
Bank of America Corp. (4)5,15 %4,53 %

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

CVS Invest In Curbside: Relationship Between Retailers & Start Up

It is pretty rare to see the name of a retailer (aside Amazon obviously) hitting the headlines of Techcrunch. But this time, pharmacy retailer CVS has invested in a Silicon Valley startup named Curbside, which allows customer to shop on mobile, and prepare the basket in store for pick up.

Aside of the innovative concept, which provides a better shopping experience, and is capitalizing on the large store network of CVS, I wanted to underline to me another very interesting trend.

Retailing is a business focusing on operations. And it needs to in order to leverage great results. But in our nowadays commerce land that is changing very fast due to Ecommerce, digitalization and mobile devices, using technology both to improve customer experience and to get an edge on competition is key.

We see in a lot of other industries companies acquiring innovative start up to get knowledge and technologies that could not be developped in a large corporation due to its structure and lack of reactivity.

And I believe retailers should really look closely at it. I know Carrefour has participated to a lot of start up events in order to build a bridge. But those investments will really pay off soon.

I believe it is time for start ups to look closely at retailing, and retailers at start up.

Monday, May 23, 2016

The Reason Why Walmart Is Raising Employees Salary

Walmart has always had a low salary strategy in order to minimize the operational costs of its store. Indeed, in a discount retail business model, wages are among the largest expenses. But as a matter of fact, it is also one of the best resources. Indeed, without people to manage stores, to put products on shelves, cash in people, keeping the stores clean and appealing, no much business is possible.

What Walmart has figured out is simple:
Walmart understood its ethic image goes through salary raises
For the longest time Walmart had a bad image because of its low salaries. Moreover, a lot of controversy came from how the government subvention Walmart by giving food stamps and health insurance to Walmart employees because they don't have enough revenues to sustain their familly.
Walmart needs to improve its image because obviously Walmart has a deep impact on communities.

The cost of bad employees
Walmart is known to have beyond 50% rate of turnover. This is big. That means they spend a lot of time and money in the recruiting process, but also on training those new employees, that may not last long.

This is the total opposite of Costco policy, which implies to pay more its employees to make sure of their loyalty and implication on the business growth.

Walmart's move is a big one. It will count for $1,5 billions next year. And in a difficult economy, it is always difficult to make such a move.

Category Management: Comments On End of the Aisle Displays

I got this picture from the Twitter feed of POSInsight. You can see a point of sales marketing display of a brand of milk. But I have several thoughts crossing my mind as I watch this end of the aisle display:

  • First of all, obviously, the display is great. The milk category is for sure one of commodities. It is therefore difficult to create difference between product, as the product is basic, and the way to create added value is difficult.
  • It emphasizes the fact that point of sales marketing is indeed a powerful medium. It could leverage sales at least as much as a TV advertizing campaign. Therefore it is important not to forget about it. It is always powerful to communicate while the customer is shopping. Thus you maximize your chance to be taken into account during the decision making process.
  • Nevertheless, I have a negative comment. I have been the category manager of the milk section. It is a large volume market, especially while you have commercials. This POS marketing has been designed for brand equity building. But end of the aisle display are great sales tool, and you need to generate as much sales as possible. And when I see the few products available on the display, I am sure that they would go fast out of stock.

So just to sum up what makes a great end of aisle display:
  • Theatralization: to be seen from the customer
  • Product availability, which is lacking in this example.

Monday, May 16, 2016

Cérémonie SCOPS 2016 du master Distribution et Relation Client de Paris Dauphine

Traditionnellement je me rends chaque année à la remise des trophées SCOPS 2016. Cette cérémonie est organisée par le master Distribution et Relation Client de Paris Dauphine, Master II spécialisé en distribution que j'ai eu la chance de réalisé. C'est l'occasion de voir plusieurs choses:

L'évolution du master
Que de chemin parcouru... Aujourd'hui le master possède des partenariats avec la plupart des enseignes et des industriels les plus prestigieux, intègre des voyages d'études, séminaire-neige, missions en entreprise, afin de pouvoir 1 - ouvrir leurs yeux sur la réalité du monde des affaires et des innovations, mais également 2- être le plus proche possible de la réalité des problématiques du commerce moderne.

On voit également le niveau de présentation à l'oral qui est juste bluffant...

Les innovations 2016
C'est le concept: voir les innovations de l'année, sur différents aspects, commerciaux, promotions, relations clients, etc... Cela permet de voir les tests, les tendances. Parmis elles, certaines feront l'objet de notes plus longues, notamment l' AfterClick 3.0, le mini dressing Pimkie, ou bien Oups Café au sujet du pricing. Comme quoi il y a toujours de l'innovation dans le commerce.

Revoir tout le monde
Le pot d'après la cérémonie est toujours aussi intéressant, car il permet de rencontrer et discuté les anciens, les étudiants, et les spécialistes du retail, dans un cadre sympathique. C'est bien de sentir toute cette énergie positive, loin du tumulte de la vie quotidienne.

Mais cette année, plus que tout, ce fut l'occasion, totalement légitime de rendre hommage à Michel Choukroun, décédé en début d'année, qui fut très clairement l'un des principaux protagoniste du succès de cet événement.

Ci dessous, vous retrouverez une vidéo de l'événement, que vous pourrez retrouver sur le site Carrefour un combat pour la liberté, ainsi que le live tweet que j'ai réalisé.

Practive Your Emotional Hygiene

We all encounter difficult time in life that affects our emotional state. We actually don't exactly know how to react at it, and the effects could be disastrous. You should watch this video I find very interesting, on how to train your emotional hygiene to prevent those stages.

Friday, May 13, 2016

Le discount joyeux: "pas assez cher mon fils"

Je voulais revenir sur un excellent article que j'ai lu sur le blog de DIA MART. Il discute des profondes mutations du commerce du discount. En effet, le discount, historiquement est associé à des concepts austères, la plupart de temps renforçant l'idée de bas prix auprès des consommateurs.

Le concept développé dans l'article est qu’aujourd’hui les gens ne veulent plus être complexés d'aller chez un discounter. Il veut pouvoir avoir des concepts joyeux, car ils affirment leurs droits à payer moins cher.

Cela m'a fait penser à une publicité, qui je pense à marquer beaucoup de gens: La publicité clio (Ci dessous). En effet, la publicité illustre bien l'idée. On peut avoir de l'argent, on a aussi le droit de choisir où dépenser l'argent, et donc d'acheter des produits discounts. "Pas assez cher mon fils".

C'est un peu la même chose que le concept de "everyone loves Walmart". Le client à le choix, est de mieux en mieux informé de la répartition de la chaine de valeur, et donc a besoin de plaisir également lorsqu'il achète peu cher.

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Thoughts On Victoria's Secret Opening In France And Its Consequences On The Market

US retail chain Victoria's secret has opened its first store in France, at the Orly airport. It had already launched its retail chain in Europe, I believe it was in Belgium, and I remember to have seen one in a Hungrarian Airport.

Actually, Victoria's Secret don't communicate much about its International expansion, leaving commentators wondering what is next.

I actually believe that Victoria's Secret is simply executing a strategy implying a travel retail expansion, which ultimately means they need to open in several big airports to grow their network. Which would mean very few ambitions abroad.

But let's imagine Victoria's Secret open really in France. I believe it could be a big game changer. I have bee, a fan of the concept since I have visited my first store in the US: 
  • Focusing on the shopping experience
  • A great marketing with its events mixing great music superstars and top models
  • A large product range
  • With low prices
If Victoria's Secret would really like to come to France, it could be compared to the development of Kiko on the make up market.

The French market is a high price market, with actually very few changes. When Kiko came in, it proposed new innovative products, with a cool concept and low prices. Exactly the offer of Victoria's Secret.

It would therefore be interesting to see how it would grow because the historical actors would need to adapt to keep their market shares.

I will definitely cover for you the story if it unfolds.

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Le marché des cosmétiques face à la révolution digitale

Article intéressant sur le site Les Echos. Il met en perspective tous les bouleversements que le développement des réseaux sociaux a imposé au secteur de la beauté. Aujourd'hui, effectivement, les acteurs historiques de la distribution de ce type de produit se retrouvent en face de challenges très important à relever.
C'est la raison pour laquelle j'aime le secteur des cosmétiques: il est en pleine transformation.

Néanmoins, je pense qu'on peut mettre un bémol sur ce constat:
-10% de part de marché pour le online (au UK)), certainement 15% à moyen terme, cela reste dans la moyenne des parts de marché du Ecommerce dans le marché global. Donc on n'est pas forcément sur un marché si propice au E-commerce.

- Par contre, ce qui a profondément changé, c'est la prescription, qui est un enjeu fondamental de la beauté: Avant les médias, et les conseillères sur le point de vente. Aujourd'hui, clairement, les blogs, Youtubeuse, avis conso en ligne. Et cela change profondément les raisons d'aller en magasin et l'experience shopper.

Friday, May 06, 2016

Kohl's Digital Strategy To Be Followed Up

I wish the best of luck to Sona Chawla, the new chief operating officer of Kohl's. She has been hired from her former Walgreen's E commerce chief position.

Why is it a great move from Kohl's?
  • First I always like woman to have executive positions as they bring a new vision to the business
  • Obviously, Kohl's is eager to move on with its digital strategy. Therefore, they are not affraid to hire someone who has accomplished most of her career in the Ecommerce business
But today, especially if you are Kohl which competition comes from both the brick & mortar  and the Ecommerce business, you need to be able to provide a true shopping experience blending the online and offline world. 

It will therefore be interesting to see what Sona Chawla is able to bring to Kohl in terms of digital strategy execution.

Tuesday, May 03, 2016

Etude sur le commerce en 2030

Intéressante infographie sur la manière dont les français se voient faire leurs courses en 2030. Le retail est au milieu du guêt d'une révolution digitale qui a déjà commencé depuis pas mal de temps:
  • Le développement de vrai concurrent online: Amazon et cdiscount en France
  • Le vrai multi canal existe chez la plupart des distributeurs: Drive, click & collect, activité e-commerce, etc...
  • La révolution du mobile et son utilisation en magasin pour prendre des décisions d'achats.
Mais où en sera t on en 2030? La question est intéressante. Car aujourd'hui, je pense que nous avons une vision un peu plus clair de ce que sera l'avenir du retail. Très clairement, le retail off line restera en général (et là je ne parle pas de certains marchés qui seront totalement en ligne) la majorité.
On peut voir également les problématiques du big data: le consommateur a de vrai réticence à avoir des informations communiqués sur leurs profils pour des fins commerciales. 

Monday, May 02, 2016

Amazon is Pushing Its Print On Demand Service To Limit Out Of Stock

We have previously discussed on this blog how bad out of stock could be for a retailer. Even though stocks could be pricy and have a deep impact on retailers results, out of stock creates customer insatisfaction  and missed sales.

Amazon is pushing its Print On Demand Service. The concept is simple. If a book is missing in the stocks of Amazon, instead of missing the sale, Amazon is printing the document once the customer has paid the document, and will deliver it at no extra costs, following the same terms.

Now, will Amazon push this system to print on demand a large part of its book offer? I am not so sure. I believe it will still remain more costly to print on demand than to stock books.

This is an interesting case study where technology allows Amazon to be more efficient to respond to customers demand.

Friday, April 29, 2016

Book Review: Grande Conso 2016

Avec un peu de retard, le débrief du livre Grande Conso 2016 que j'ai gagné sur le tweet d'Olivier Dauvers. 

Le livre est un peu un résumé de ce qui s'est passé en GMS sur l'année 2015. Il est fait en partenariat avec IRI, donc beaucoup d'informations chiffrées précises très intéressante. J'ai beaucoup apprécié notamment la première partie sur les chiffres du marché en général, notamment les parts de marché, les chiffres d'affaires enseignes, les catégories en promotion, etc... Toujours intéressant pour la culture générale.

Ensuite une partie détaillant les différents rayons, avec notamment une analyse d'un responsable IRI. Le commentaire est intéressant, mais par contre pour les chiffres, pas forcément assez complet pour rentrer dans l'analyse, mais en même temps pas assez généraliste pour donner une vision claire de ce qui se passe. Par contre, ce que j'ai beaucoup aimé, c'est que les évolutions annuelles sont mises en regard de l'évolution sur 4 ans. Cela permet de bien comprendre la tendance globale du marché sur le CA, les volumes, prix etc...

Ensuite une autre partie sur ce qui se passe dans les autres pays. Une nouvelle fois très intéressant car on peut voir que cela bouge au delà de nos frontières.

Je recommande le livre pour les décisionnaires en centrale qui souhaite avoir une vision sur ce qui se passe au delà de leurs rayons.

Et une nouvelle fois, merci Olivier.

Thursday, April 28, 2016

De la proximité en France

La proximité est devenu au fil des années un axe stratégique de développement des enseignes en France. En effet, aujourd'hui le parc d'hypermarché est saturé, et la population est de plus en plus urbaine, sans voiture (ou avec de petites voitures). C'est la raison pour laquelle nous avons vu le développement de cet axe stratégique de la part de toutes les enseignes:
  • Carrefour rachète en 2015 l'enseigne DIA principalement pour son parc de 150 magasins parisiens et dans les grandes villes, et développe ses concepts City, Express et maintenant bio.
  • Casino en 2013 rachète 100% de Monoprix, et développe depuis 2016 le nouveau concept "Mandarine" chez Franprix
  • Auchan a développé depuis plusieurs années le concept A2Pas, et bénéficie des restructurations récentes (rachat Monoprix et DIA) pour récupérer les magasins cédés via l'autorité de la concurrence.
  • Intermarché également avec Express.

Néanmoins, la proximité est très certainement à un tournant. C'est sur, le format est en train de se structurer, via des concentrations, des développements de stratégie spécifique (assortiment, concept magasin, service etc...). Mais pour l'instant, la croissance tarde à se voir nettement. En effet, selon Nielsen, la croissance provient uniquement d'ouverture de magasin (ou bien de magasins passant dans la catégorie "proximité"). 

Aujourd'hui, ce qui est sûr, c'est que le potentiel de croissance est là. Mais pour moi, elle passera principalement par le développement d'une réelle synergie omnicanale avec le Ecommerce: livraison à domicile, commande en ligne, casiers etc...

Et là, il y a beaucoup de chose à inventer, notamment d'un point de vue logistique, afin de répondre aux 2 défis de la proximité:
  1. Diminuer le coût du dernier kilomètre
  2. Travailler sûr la fraîcheur du produit.

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Réflexions sur le rachat de Darty par la Fnac, et perspectives sratégiques

La saga du rachat de Darty semble finalement terminée. La bataille que se sont menée Conforama et la Fnac afin d’acquérir Darty a clairement fait l'actualité de la presse professionnelle et boursière ces dernières semaines. Il y a plusieurs points très intéressants que nous avons pu voir lors de ce feuilleton:

Le rapprochement de Vivendi et de la Fnac
Début de semaine, on nous a annoncé la montée dans le capital de Vivendi dans la Fnac. Au delà de l'intérêt stratégique de Vincent Bolloré dans la Fnac afin de distribuer ses services de production audiovisuelle et les réelles synergies dans le monde de la culture avec la Fnac, il semble clair que le rapprochement avait aussi pour but pour la Fnac d'améliorer sa capacité à offrir aux actionnaires de Darty une offre concrète et meilleure que son concurrent.

Ce rapprochement est finalement aussi important que le rachat de Darty, car sur la partie "culturelle" de la Fnac qui a été très vivement attaquée ces dernières années par la dématérialisation de la culture (Kindle, Netflix, Deezer), permettra certainement de mieux lutter avec ses nouveaux concurrents.

L'intérêt de la concentration
Aujourd'hui, le marché de l'électronique grand public se contracte. Moins d'innovations créant moins de valeur ajoutée font baisser le chiffre d'affaires de la plupart des catégories de produit. Il y a donc mécaniquement moins de place, et un besoin de grossir ses parts de marché pour croître. La Fnac, ainsi que Conforama,souhaitait anticiper cette concentration afin de pouvoir faire les synergies nécessaires pour rester compétitifs. 

L'intérêt de pouvoir bien travailler les concepts Darty et Fnac
Aujourd'hui, l'alliance va permettre aux 2 groupes de pouvoir dominer un secteur que ses principaux concurrents ne connaissent pas vraiment: le brick & mortar. Et aujourd'hui malgré les challenges, on voit bien l'intérêt de controler le magasin dans la relation avec le client.
Cela va donner les coudées franches au nouveau groupe afin de pouvoir mettre en place une réelle stratégie Internet, avec, pourquoi pas, le lancement d'une nouvelle plateforme commune? 

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Amazon To Win Its Bet On Amazon Prime

Amazon Prime is one of the cornerstone of Amazon's strategy to expand in its retail business. The purpose is simple: propose a membership for people to pay in order to get extra services, especially in terms of fast delivery. I see different benefits looked for by Amazon:
  • To get the delivery paid upfront
  • To have a loyal base of customers to expand their new categories of products.
  • And it will probably help them out with their goal to enter the grocery business with Amazon Fresh.

Google has pushed the service a lot.

  • Publishing specific ads on their websites
  • Having TV commercials in France
  • But also by promoting their special promotional days, the Amazon Prime Day
It seems the strategy is working, as the promotional rate is growing in the US. Today, 38% of penetration is actually a lot, showing that Amazon has really worked well its strategy to grow its data base.


Tuesday, April 19, 2016

How Make Up Forever Used Digital To Reach New Customers

Make Up Forever is a make up brand designed for professional usage. That has always been its core business. This is the reason why it has very few diffusion in retail networks. It basically sells only through its website, Amazon and Sephora, which is owned by the same company, LVMH.

I love the health & beauty business, because it is one category that has been the most impacted by the changes in consumption trends. I read this very interesting article about Make Up Forever Digital strategy.

You may all know that with the rise of social media, a lot of new experts of beauty showed up, thanks to blog firsts, then now Youtube & Instagram. They count for some of them several millions of followers, and could have a deep impact on how consumers will shop, thanks to their tutorials and tests.

Make Up Forever has provided a lot of content to those experts in order to provide tutorial on their products. Once again those products are difficult to use because specifically designed for TV sets or modelling.

But because of these new media, Make Up Forever has been able to reach new customers that would have neither bought their products nor knew how to use them properly.

Monday, April 18, 2016

Category Management Series: When Technology Lift Point Of Sales Marketing

So far, in the FMCG world, not a lot of technologies have been used in terms of marketing of point of sales. What is important to calculate, is how much investment you need in the technology and how much extra margins you will get in order to figure out a return on investment. And on products with so much sales with a very low profit, it is difficult to implement new creative technologies without having a negative impact in terms of profit.

Nevertheless, it is always interesting to see when an initiative work. And that seems to be the case for Nestlé in the UK, where they have tested specific POS to make its Quality Street brand stand out of the crowded category.

And it seems to work: they have increased their sales by 41% thanks to the POS. Obviously the candy category is a good one to benefit such an initiative: a lot of those sales are made by impulsion, so when you make them stand out, the increase can be pretty high.

But still, it is interesting to notice those initiative, because I believe technology is not implemented enough in stores in general.

Friday, April 15, 2016

Le combat Mc Donald's Burger King

Bon, cela fait certainement longtemps que vous avez du voir cette publicité de Mc Donald's, mais je voulais absolument revenir dessus. Pour 2 choses:

  1. Le choix très bizarre de stratégie de communication de Mc Donald's
  2. La très bonne réponse de Burger King (qui plus est rapide, assez hallucinant, comme si c'était préparé par Mc Donald's).
La première vidéo de Mc Donald.

Pourquoi est-ce que je la trouve mauvaise?
Elle s'appuie sur une comparaison d'un désavantage que son concurrent possède avec Ronald: Mc Donald's possède un réseau homogène dans toute la France de magasin. Mais comment ignorer la stratégie expansioniste de la firme Burger King? Ils prévoient d'implanter rapidement dans les prochaines années plus de 300 Burger King, notamment en convertissant le parc de Burger King.
Cet avantage ne tient pas, et ne tiendra pas longtemps. Surtout qu'en plus, à l'inverse, aujourd'hui Burger King joue à fond l'attente du public français, faisant de l'ouverture de ces magasins une attraction.

La réponse de Burger King

Parfaite, sur tout les points:

  1. La réalisation: Elle reprend le ton, la mise en scène de la publicité Mc Donald's, ce qui renforce le sentiment de mimétisme.
  2. Le ton: Il est finalement assez provocateur, tel que l'enseigne le veut. 
  3. La réponse: En effet, les gens sont prêts à aller plus loin pour aller voir un Burger King car la réputation de leur Burger est nettement plus forte que celle de Mc Donald's.

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

CRM: Mc Donald's Planning To Launch A Loyalty Reward Program by 2017

This is a very interesting news. Mc Donald's would be on its way to launch by next year a loyalty reward program
This is obviously a big news for 2 reasons:
  1. First, Mc Donald's is a large global company, represented worldwide. It will hence impact a large number of the population if it is a success.
  2. Secondly, it is not common to see the launch of such a loyalty reward program. We have seen the news of Lidl working on some kind of CRM in Scotland, but to see the implementation of such a loyalty reward program will be fun to watch.

Mc Donald's have a real challenge in the loyalty reward program system: they have a huge number of transactions a day with a large population, and hence need to have a very efficient way to check customers in. If not, it will obviously have a deep impact on the operations.

There is a lot of hype on how Mc Donald's will process its effort, but there are a lot of ways Mc Donald's could benefit from CRM:
  • They could know better their customers, and therefore adapt to local demand in terms of offer, pricing, etc...
  • They could also cross merchandize efficiently throughout the day: Coffee in breakfast, lunch, afternoon break, dinner, etc...
I hope we'll have a lot of news to come about it.

Monday, April 11, 2016

Carrefour Mons In Video

Carrefour has been focusing those past few years on store execution in order to seek growth. But Carrefour is on its way to develop new cutting edge store concept. Carrefour Mons is probably the most advanced vision of what Carrefour's hypermarket will look like in a near future.

What to underline:

  • Non food business is surrounding the food business.
  • They have worked a lot of their visual merchandizing for the non food departments, in order to have more appealing categories.
  • They made weird cross merchandizing decision: for example flour are near the pastry section, canned fish near fresh fish, ink cartridges near the paper and book section. I am not so sure about those choices, and that they are really good category management strategies. 

Sunday, April 10, 2016

500K visits On My Blog

Once again, it has never really been a motivation nor a real goal to have a large traffic on this blog. The purpose of this blog is to write out some of my ideas, to share my vision of how retail, marketing, CRM is evolving. It was also to meet interesting people that share the same interests in business than I do. And I have been very fortunate about it.

But still, 500 Ks, that is a lot of visits. Of course, obviously, it may seem small compared to other blogs or websites, but as a small personal initiative, this is still a milestone to celebrate.

My audience keep on growing at a slow pace, thank you for your support and your time!

Thursday, April 07, 2016

Category Management Series: Out Of Stock Still One Of The Worst Thing That Could Happen To Retailers

We have already discussed about how important out of stocks are for retailers. Indeed, most of the time, a product missing implies a lost sales. In France, it is 1,2 Billion € the cost of out of stock in 2015.
Inventory is a very important part of the strategy of one retailer. It cost obviously a lot of money, especially when it does not rotate, but also it is what allows retailers to attract customers. I always loved the philosophy of Anders Dahlvig, former CEO of IKEA about stock. Instead of considering it as a liability, because it costs money, it considers it as an asset, as the stock is what empowers sales.

Here is an up to date chart about the impact both on results and shopper experience of out of stock.

Hommage à Michel Choukroun

J'ai appris ce jour, avec beaucoup de tristesse, la disparition de Michel Choukroun, expert en distribution et commerce et professeur du master II à Paris Dauphine en distribution et relation client.

Je n'ai jamais vraiment eu l'opportunité d'avoir Michel Choukroun comme professeur personnellement, mais connais bien la personne pour m'être investi beaucoup dans la vie du master, et le souhait de développer son activité notamment des anciens. 

Je tenais à lui rendre hommage

Un passionné de commerce
Michel était un réel passionné de commerce. Il aimait les commerçants. Il aimait leur capacité à innover, à pouvoir répondre aux attentes des évolutions de consommation.

Il avait une réelle capacité à conceptualiser les nouvelles tendances du commerce, afin de pouvoir nous faire réflechir sur les stratégies du futur pour rester dans la compétition.

Un vrai pédaguogue
Michel animait depuis des années la cérémonie des SCOPS pour le master distribution et relation client. Au delà de ces talents oratoires évidents, ce qui m'a toujours marqué, c'est la vrai empathie qu'il avait pour ses étudiants, sa capacité à les mettre dans les meilleures conditions pour performer dans un exercice difficile, devant des professionnels. 

Une énergie positive
Au delà de tout cela, ceux qui l'ont connu, de près ou de loin, auront certainement remarqué sa capacité à dégager des énergies positives autour de lui. 

Merci Michel Choukroun, pour tout.