To assure the development of a brand, we must go above and beyond the simple opening of new brick and mortar stores. The physical retail market is highly competitive, it’s market so populated that many commercial zones in the suburbs of big cities are contested, such as the L’iliade project, the Europacity project, Val Tolosa, Inter-Ikea.. the list goes on and their profitability is often not taken into account.
In order to develop their activities, certain brands have made the choice to give their point of sale a makeover, a makeover that will change and strengthen their concept. This change focuses greatly on the customer experience, testing new and innovative ideas and injecting new life into the brand. The main ingredient for this reform is technology,the use of digital media to engage and meet all needs of the customer and to of course consider how ‘going digital’ can make a salespersons’ job more dynamic and efficient.
“You cannot settle with your last innovation. You must constantly seek the new, because you must surprise your customer.”
Lorie Buckingham Development Director Coca-Cola
Long-winded projects call for an input of time, reflection and adequate financial means. Nevertheless they provide worthwhile managerial experience that allow for cross field collaboration between marketing and IT teams, not forgetting the teams on the ground. As Adobe highlighted in a recent study – IT and marketing : the yin and yang of the digital world – the success of such a project depends greatly on the collaboration of teams that do not usually work together.
Lets look at the case of brands such as Tape-à-l’Oeil, Franprix and Sephora that are taking steps towards creating an entirely new and dynamic experience in store.
“The advantage of the phygital,is to bring the best of the digital to the physical”
Karine Motch from Extreme Sensio
The concept of Tape à l’Oeil, “the best of digital” is to give the brand the vision of the customer. From the point of view of the consumer, if the digital and the physical exist in harmony, this plurality should not effect the buyers route. It’s a seamless experience, materialised by e-reservation, the digital in-store and RFID chips -Radio Frequency Identification-.
E-reservation: Customers are encouraged to begin their browsing online and to reserve a basket, and then to come pick it up in store, try on and see the products ‘in the flesh’ and complete their purchase at the point of sale.
Customer advantages: the benefits of ordering online, that is saving time with a prepared order, and the benefit of purchasing in-store : testing the product and receiving professional advice.
Brand advantages: when we know that 20 to 40% of online purchases are returned by customers and 70 to 80% of online baskets are abandoned (figures from Fevad),e-reservation is an innovative solution to reduce returns and their associated costs, improve conversion rates and make the customer experience more fluid.
Digital-in-store: Thanks to tactile tablets and digital terminals the customer can order and have particular products delivered to their home, such as clothes that are out-of-stock in the store or particular models, sizes or colors.
Customer advantage: the client is satisfied as they obtain the product that was not in the shop at the moment of their visit without having to return.
Brand advantages: optimisation of surface space for the store by reducing stock whilst at the same time keeping their variety large. Sales, this way are not lost and the brand can occupy a smaller premises,leaving more room for investment in the center of cities where the most traffic is generated.
RFID : RFID chips on each product allow for an efficient management of stock with real time updates of available stock in-store and in storehouses.
Brand advantages: Besides precise information on stock, with all round availability of this tool, synergies will be created with the stock of other stores for more co-operation. This allows us to raise the bar of innovation.
Mandarine Concept – Franprix
“We are only beginning the digitization movement, all is still to be done”
Jeremie Herscovic Founder SoCloz
If everything is still to be done, certain brands have got a step ahead. Franprix, for example, who with their Mandarine concept offer a whole new environment to their clientele.
Photo credit: Olivier Dauvers
Portable cash register: with points of sale being often in the center of cities, at the busiest times we often see customers opting to buy just a few articles for lack of time or patience. As a remedy to this, Franprix has put in place portable cash registers. It is an all -in -one payment facility (including a scanner, an electronic payment terminal and a petty cash fund) that allows the salesperson to move from customer to customer in the queue and cash them.
Customer advantage: customers buying few articles are served much quicker and do not have to wait behind customers with a larger amount of goods.
Brand advantages: the cost of a portable cash register is far less than that of a static one (2000€ as opposed to 7000€). It also allows for more space in-store to propose more choice, to avoid a cluttered environment and to install various corner stands such as butchers, bakery, juice machines etc..
Static cash registers :the cash register design was remodelled to break the barrier between customer and cashier. This new layout allows for extra floor space and a more open approach to the customer.
“In the phygital world, we give too much importance to technical support, with regard to content. We must put the focus back on the customer.”
Julie Hermann fondatrice de Focus Shopper
Sephora has not fallen into this trap. Event though the digital is the core element of the concept Sephora Flash, all tools were put in place with a goal to satisfy the customers needs.
Concerning the need for information, not only do these stores have more sales advisors to help than traditional Sephora stores, they also provide connected tactile screens on which the customers can scan their product to obtain more information about it.
Photo credit : Sephora
A “shop & collect” system was also put in place. The client is invited to pick up their digital basket at the entrance of the store. Their digital basket exists in the form of a small card with a NFC chip. Customers can then add items present in the shop and also products available on the digital catalogues in-store . When paying,the client can choose to have ‘out- of stock’ products delivered to their home or to return to the store to pick them up the next day.
With only 100m2 surface space at their disposable, the brand offers just as much in their Sephora Flash store as in a classic store, even the additional Make Up Bar and Make Up School, not forgetting the complimentary perfume tester at the end of the purchase.
Thanks to point of sale digitisation and these three concepts, Sephora, Tape à l’Oeil and Franprix have fulfilled two very important objectives :
(1) Occupying the smallest surface possible without reducing their services, which in turn lowers cost and increases profit.
(2) Responding to the modern day needs of customers, that is their need for a more fluid purchasing experience and a harmony between different sales channels.
The proof is in the pudding, the mandarine concept brought about a 20% rise in turnover for Franprix’s orange points of sale. In terms of image improvement, today Sephora has become a brand close to its customers, offering them an innovative way to shop and Tape à l’Oeil have succeeded in buying their customers time with their system of e-reservation.