EDHEC Lille, one of France’s top four business schools, organized a conference on March 5th in honor of the founding of the Strategic Retail Management Club. The conference addressed the digital transformation that is taking place within the retail industry. Experts on distribution, e-commerce and digital marketing solutions shared their current vision and insights about the marketplace.
The situation today
In this time of crisis, there are many challenges. These include the need to adopt a differentiation strategy without becoming overwhelmed, attracting consumers who are becoming more and more unpredictable, maximizing visibility throughout all communication channels, gaining proficiency in new digital tools as they appear on the scene, and more. Choices must be made for a company to get the best ROI. It’s not easy to have a long-term vision in this era of instant gratification. The consumer is more educated and more demanding, and, therefore, more difficult to hold onto.
Creativity in both the product and communication strategy is needed to evoke an emotional response in the consumer. Furthermore, the digital world offers many possible approaches.
Eric Dubois, CEO of 3SUISSES, headquartered in the Lille metro area, carefully examined all of the various possibilities before coming up with his brand’s new strategy.
The challenge was to bring together transactional and behavioral data, says Eric Dubois, CEO of 3SUISSES
In reaction to the appearance of numerous competitors in the mail order space (Asos, Zara, Camaïeu, H&M), the paper catalog and various discounts gave way to a complete brand makeover. Previously lacking clear focus, the transformation is now complete and the company has a new single-channel multimedia business model. While maintaining close contact with its customers, going forward, 3SUISSES will focus on its products’ uniqueness as well as multi-platform campaigns. Magalogue (a magazine highlighting articles and advice from 3SUISSES stylists), interactive lookbooks, TV advertising spots and a Youtube channel are the new tools that will lead the return to profitability. As a result of its new positioning as an ultra-connected fashion clothing store, the mail order giant revamped its teams and created new positions that had not previously existed, including Director of Client Experience and Digital Web Analyst.
That Little Extra
The consumer who has an emotional connection with a product has a unique experience that makes a strong impression. This was André Tordjman’s goal. The president and founder of the Little Extra stores and professor of Strategic Retail Management at EDHEC, wanted to use his brand to reconcile pleasure and price by offering various trendy but inexpensive products. They would encourage the consumer to make a fun impulse buy, like buying flowers on a whim. To maximize the experience, the company’s 80 employees are responsible for maintaining close relationships with their customers, and accompanying them while they shop. This allows them to personalize the customer’s experience while following the Little Extra’s 16 sales rules.
We wanted to contribute to the market by celebrating the “little extra” things in life that can’t be quantified by price, but, rather, by the emotion that the product elicits.
André Tordjman, president and founder of the Little Extra stores
Betting on the “educated generalist”
Strategic problems are now the norm: you have to be everywhere to capture the client’s attention, proficiency in many different formats is required, originality is prized, and you must also maintain a close relationship with the customer while retaining a global view of the marketplace. Members of the younger generation have been raised as digital natives and have the flexibility required to succeed. During their university studies, they have been exposed to many different approaches as well as to the effects of globalization.
Digital transformation in the retail sector will offer new perspectives to students who were not originally attracted to the industry and allow companies to refresh their approach as they learn to adapt to new tools in the Internet age.