FRANCISCO SANCHEZ

PARTNER, MAZARS IN FRANCE

"Omnichannel shopping is growing, and barriers to growth are overcome by innovation and greater use of customer data".

How have French organisations pushed forward with business models based around further customer pesonalisation and differentiation?
 

In 2018, and looking towards the future, one top trend is that of personnalisation and unique customer experience. Personalising customer interactions is guaranteed to ensure a more efficient “shopping decision”. French customers are entirely different from those a decade ago. They seek a personalied and seamless experience, and they want it now.
For French retailers seeking success, one of the most important factors is reshaping consumers’ habits through new technologies and online social interaction. Everyday activities that have driven marketing strategies for decades such as weekly grocery trips and spending a day at shopping centers, are compelling fewer people every year. The traditional path to purchasing is being replaced by a personalised consumer journey, enabled by smartphones, digital assistants and other personal devices, and embedded in new forms of logistics such as click and collect or same day delivery.

On the one hand, customers’ most precious commodity is time, and it should not be wasted. Brands and retailers are adapting to meet the needs and expectations of customers, and offering the right product at the the right time will be a huge competitive advantage.


On the other hand, each customer must feel unique, and the shopping and sensory experience should be enhanced.  Platforms including Facebook and Instagram are increasingly being used as marketing tools to launch and sell new products. For example, Zara has launched their in-store application wich allows customers to see models come to life on their screens wearing selected items. IKEA also has an application that previews what furniture will look like in consumers’ homes.


Consumers are interacting with brands in different ways, with retailers offering an integrated shopping experience across stores and online platforms. Internet and mobile are giving customers greater choices about how, where, and when they shop.  This means that the French retailers are more likely to focus on customer personalisation and differentiation: a more tailored shopping experience is now the new normal.
 

Chanel and Farfetch have worked together to bring their experience in digital and luxury stores together. When looking to the future of retail (both online and brick-and-mortar) in France, do you believe that a true omnichannel approach is the way of the future for the high street?

 

Retail continues to face a significant business model transformation, and one of the most important trend is the confluence of physical and digital retail. The dichotomy between shopping in-store and online is rapidly becoming irrelevant, as consumers see retail as a holistic of both online and offline experiences. A true omnichannel approach is the answer to  adapt to this new way of shopping.


Shoppers are increasingly shunning the high street, in favour of more comptetitive and convenient online channels. But retailers are making considerable investment in technology and innovation to transform and pesonnalise the retail experience for customers through a multichannel strategy.


Leading retailers are revolutionating the in store experience. Some are already digitasing their stores with a walk-in/ walk-out experience. For example, scanning an online application, shoppers can pick what they want and leave the store without ever stopping to pay for the goods. In some stores, sales asscoiates are armed with tablets with a detailed purchase history and can make better recommendations about what to buy. Alibaba’s recent expansion of their supermarket chain Hema demonstrates a successful new trend in retailing, where the distinction between online and offline are being redesigned.

Omnichannel shopping is growing, and barriers to growth are overcome by innovation and greater use of customer data, to enable latent customer demands to be realized. Investing in an omnichannel strategy supports the customer who now expects to shop anytime and anywhere.
 

How can data analytics help retailers adapt their business model?
 

 

A new way of thinking is necessary to adapt to the transformation of the business model. In that context, great insight into consumer behavior plays a key role. Retailers are using data analytics to remember customers’ purchase prefrences and allow them to make personalised recommendations. The stores also provide a data-driven selection of goods.
Progress in data analytics, artificial intelligence, and robotics can help retailers better predict sales, improve inventory visibility, increase product availability, and shorten the order to delivery time.

 


Data analytics programs and expertise will help retailers reduce their shrink significantly, make the operations efficient, give the marketing teams the richest possible dataset to help increase sales, but also bring more financial security.