Written by Zoé Baillieux on Jun 11, 2019 1:51:08 PM

In addition to a digital strategy, opening a physical store or partnering with a distributor makes sense for proximity, credibility, and commitment with customers.

Could hyper digitization, often sought after by brands, be altered and turned towards a more human receptive experience? "Placing encounters at the center of our activities, improving the product experience and customer experience through a physical store is clearly an added value for a brand in the midst of establishing itself," says Valérie Piotte, General Manager at Altavia Cosmic. For example, when the American bedding brand Casper opens a "nap shop" in the heart of New York, when Sézane bets on offering its limited stock collections in a "showroom" style apartment, or when online furniture store Miliboo opens a digital shop that provides decoration coaching, the need to live an experience acts as breath of fresh air. "We have to come up with an in-store value-added proposition on the notions of exchanges, additional services, and live product demonstrations", continues Valérie Piotte.
Revolutionizing phygital fundamentals through cross-channel experience - e-shop, pop-up stores and corners within multi-brand boutiques - boosted by a strong will for co-creation, visibility, proximity, and credibility is gaining ground. But where to start?

Pop-up stores to ... draw attention

In an effort to find its place in the sun, the pop-up store is one of the most accessible and profitable levers to create a community and make it grow. Le Bar à Boucles, offers salon services and sells hair care products ideal for frizzy curly and wavy hair- its three pop-up stores were able to successfully yield a profit between June 2018 and January 2019: “Word of mouth and blogger content helped me get my first clients.”

“Pop-up stores can boost online sales and the projects technical credibility”, says Morgane Brisson, the founder. 7 weeks as a pop-up store generated over 349 appointments and 906 products sales.

If launching your own product remains a balancing act, carrying it out with the assistance of a group facilitates its implementation. For example, the Italian olive oil brand Costa d'Oro was able to count on Lesieur (Avril group) and an envelope of one million euros to take its first steps on the French market in April 2019. " To reach French households, we will capitalize on influencers, TV, and also on discounts to secure 1.5 penetration points one year into our launch, this will allow us to become in 7 to 10 years time the 2nd leading brand after Huget, "says Fabien Razac, Marketing Director at Lesieur.

Distribution networks for... visibility

Recognized for its pop-up stores surfacing in national shopping centers organized around numerous concepts (hat bars, sock taverns, towel huts, and backpack bars), Cabaïa will launch in 18 different Monoprix sales locations including Paris, Avignon, Nantes, and Grenoble among others this March 2019. Strongly present on social networks thanks to its fun and offbeat tone, this digital native saw a way to "attract 30-50 year olds". "Being at Monoprix, where the natural flow is strong will guarantee recognition," says Emilien Foirest, Marketing Director of Cabaïa.

The conquest of new horizons is also the new motto of pure player Panda Tea.
While 95% of teas global sales are made in physical stores, the eco-friendly tea brand has been selected by Casino Group to begin a partnership in 50 Franprix stores.
Fresh and dynamic on Instagram, the DNVB (digitally native vertical brand) made a million euros in sales turnover with 3 million bags sold. "After investing in advertising and digital influence, we decided to go above and beyond to gain more awareness, turnover and refine our model. Our goal is to move towards a concept that could be consumed locally”, concludes Alexander Ali, Panda Tea co-founder.

Create your own shop to ... enrich customer experienceCreating exchange and user-friendliness are the parameters that lead previously exclusive digital brands to seize the opportunity and enter the "real world". Dusting off the image of a traditional wine cellar and enriching customer experience is the No.1 argument of Petit Ballon who wants to diversify its subscription-only box of wine business model.

In 2018, they opened a digital store in the 15th district of Paris, an ideal way to get closer to subscribers and attract new customers. A variation of the first store is located near the Saint-Lazare station but was primarily intended to house the start-up’s offices. "We wanted to create links and meet the demands of customers and have a logistics base to be able to deliver as quickly as possible. “If a person wants a bottle within the hour, we must meet that expectation”, says Martin Ohannessian, Le Petit Ballon co-founder.

With 100,000 subscribers and 1.5 million bottles shipped in 2018, Le Petit Ballon aims for even stronger growth, via this establishment in the heart of a family oriented and commercial district: "This shop showcases loyalty, and serves as a storefront, however, online remains our No. 1 channel and concentrates over 90% of our turnover", concludes Martin Ohannessian.

Other brands have opened point of sales, such as online mattress specialist Tediber who are noted for their underlying concept "Nightclub by Tediber". The Deejo storefront has been open since November 27, 2018, they are known for their customized knife concept, ordering a pocket knife online has never been so easy, it's just a few clicks away. Those who are curious enough can now venture into their Parisian shop located in the Marais. The product can be ordered by voice, via the mobile e-commerce site disjoe.fr. The knives are also distributed through a network of qualified resellers (Nature and Discoveries, The Camper). Deejo stepped onto another path, possibly more tortuous and risky but certainly more attractive: "We need to make the brand live more, by putting the client at the heart of the action and which highlights the quality of our products", explains Luc Foin, co-founder of Deejo.A communication tool with much more willingness than to generate a specific turnover: "By word of mouth, social networks, we are betting on bringing foreign visitors, we especially want to arouse interest" he concludes. Ready to jump at the deep end of the pool?

Article taken from emarketing.fr, written by Thomas Loisel

Topics: Retail, customer experience

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