The key to retail success at Maisons du Monde

xavier-marieWhat are the retail strategies of Maisons du Monde? For company founder Xavier Marie, everything now depends on cross-channel selling and data management.

E-commerce: over 15% of sales and strong growth

E-commerce today represents over 15% of sales for Maisons du Monde and is showing strong growth each year, in France and abroad. “Our aim is to continue to develop this momentum with a cross-channel approach, which today is already off to a good start.” This cross-channel approach actually applies to all the company’s sales networks. “Our customers very often consult our website before going to the shop to see the products and talk to our sales assistants.” Xavier Marie indicates that there will be a lot of work on the website to improve its performance as regards product searches and suggestions. “We want our customers to enjoy a little of the store experience online and be better immersed in the universe of our collections.” Of course, the internet has its own challenges both in terms of deadlines and costs. One of these challenges is delivery, the key to customer experience. “This is an area in which we have decided to invest heavily.” For example, this summer Maisons du Monde offered reduced-cost delivery in pick-up points for some decorative goods in France. “Next year we will extend this option to all decorative goods and to foreign markets.” The company has also started free in-store delivery in some pilot stores, again for decorative goods. “This pilot scheme is showing very good results and we will certainly roll it out rapidly.” To manage sales in eleven countries, Maisons du Monde has a central distribution platform, which optimises flows. “In each country we rely on local transport partners who we meet regularly in order to improve our service levels.”

“Home from home” shops

In order to offer consumers the best possible experience and remaining with the cross-channel approach, Maisons du Monde has developed its stores to increase their connectivity and make them more welcoming. Sales teams now have tablets to offer customers a personalised “decoration experience” with photos and videos which can be consulted whilst “sitting comfortably on the sofas.” “The store remains an experience which cannot be replaced, but which digitalisation can facilitate and enhance.” To make more bridges between its stores and the internet, the company has also developed the store locator tool, which allows a search by postal code and by geolocalisation. “Each product description also has a “Find my product in-store” function.” The figurehead of this store renewal is the flagship store, which has just opened in Paris in place of the old La Halle store, which closed at the end of October. With 2,000 sq.m. of floorspace on three levels, the Maisons du Monde merchandising remains faithful to its successful origins, mixing furniture and decorative goods displayed in a variety of different styles. “Client feedback is already very positive. This differentiates us from other major retailers and offers customers a more intimate visit and a more boutique approach to our product range. Our visitors are also very pleased to discover smaller product groups that are not well known such as bed and bath linen or the very varied junior ranges for babies, children and teenagers.”

Data management and customer knowledge: the cornerstones of retailing today

For Xavier Marie, data management and customer knowledge are inseparable from any retail strategy today. With this in mind, the company recently signed a partnership with SAS, a leader in analytics software. “This partnership has been set up in order to exploit our customer database, releasing us from volume constraints and making the operational teams more autonomous when analysing the database.” Store and internet data were previously analysed in silos. Setting up a single customer database and the partnership with SAS now provides the company with a full 360° vision of its clients. For the Maisons du Monde founder, the real priority is to gain better knowledge of customers and their buying behaviour in order to refine the sales strategy. “Data is analysed for all countries where we have a presence with our physical stores and online sites. This allows us to observe the differences in customers and consumption in countries where we operate, but also to better understand our customers’ cross-channel shopping habits.”

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