The retail environment is constantly evolving, particularly with the digitalization of sales, the diversification of activities and the decline in physical retail traffic in favor of e-commerce. Our client, a large international operator, through its division in charge of customer experience, has initiated a project to redesign the store model by 2025. The latter will have to be in line with the Group's societal commitments and the brand's identity and offer a customer experience adapted to the new consumption and omnichannel purchasing modes.
Our team supported the project during the first two phases. The first phase consisted of developing the vision to define the key axes of the model, taking into account the market trends and needs of each country. The second phase consisted of providing methodological support to concretize the reflection, from the consolidation of data on the current model to the recommendation of a prototype to be tested.
A Vision of the Market Trends Around the Customer Relationship
An evolutionary cycle for reinvention
The store model is bound to be renewed every 10 years to respond to changes in the operator’s business but also to market developments in terms of the desired customer experience in retail. Today, the acceleration of the digitalization of customer relations and the refocusing of the operator's activities on its core business are forcing the group to rethink its model. A rationalization of the number of stores had already been carried out in the previous strategic plan and will continue, taking into account the needs of each geographical area, the distribution mix models adopted and the digital maturity of the populations. Also, the configuration and services available in the store will continue to highlight all the innovations offered by the operator in an immersive atmosphere while offering assistance such as digital coaches to better understand the digital world.
Strong customer expectations
On the customer side, two main trends are emerging. First, there is the gradual migration of customers to digital, accelerated by the COVID-19 crisis (1 in 3 sales will be made digitally in 2023), who have increasingly high expectations in terms of omnichannel. Specifically, customers want a seamless experience regardless of the sales channel they choose according to their needs and the type of activity. But also, they desire continuity in the relationship from one channel to another, such as from digital to store and vice versa. Indeed, we can illustrate this reciprocity through the rise of functionalities such as click-and-collect or real-time visibility of in-store stocks on the website.
Furthermore, customers are increasingly concerned about the environmental impact of their purchasing behavior. They are more and more sensitive to environmental issues, as can be seen by the enthusiasm surrounding the purchases of refurbished and second-hand equipment or the decrease in the energy consumption of devices.
A methodology to solidify the store model to be tested
Manage the Project from A to Z:
Our team of consultants was mobilized to manage the governance of the project and accompany the client with the objectives of:
- Provide methodological support to organize the project in its different phases, pilot the different projects that had been previously defined, collect information and provide a synthesis.
- Consolidate and animate the project roadmap in order to ensure follow-up and the sharing of information for all stakeholders. Also, ensure that deadlines are met to provide recommendations around the recommended scenarios.
- Build a document base as the project progresses, summarizing the analyses carried out on each project site and throughout the project cycle (benchmarks, evaluation grids, maturity grids, business cases, recommendation files, etc.).
Define and Manage the Main Aspects:
To answer the client's question "What will be tomorrow's store model?", our team has defined six key projects constituting the main axes of the store model. These areas revolve around the typology of actions performed in the store; the role of advisors/salespeople; the format of the stores; the definition of omnichannel customer paths; the integration of CSR elements in their societal and environmental dimensions; and finally evaluation, i.e., the ability to effectively measure the value created from both commercial and non-commercial activities. On this last point, the main difficulty was determining a single measurement model that was known and accepted by all countries.
Delivering the Final Scenario and Recommendations:
The finalization of these different projects allowed our team to present a model to the different subsidiaries of the group that could be tested in a prototype version. This proposal was made on the basis of the most relevant three scenarios as determined through the final evaluation, including Level 1, the basic elements that define this new store.
Our team of experts was able to measure how difficult it is to get the different subsidiaries to converge toward a single-store model. This is due to the differences in terms of digital maturity but also to the context of each country. This is why defining the six key axes of tomorrow's store model and getting everyone on board was an essential step in the project. The omnichannel customer relationship axis remains a major convergence and a key trend in terms of customer experience. Regardless of the channels through which the customer is connected, the fluidity and intersectionality of the channels are essential to delivering an incomparable customer experience.