Putting your group online and launching a 100% in-house e-commerce platform in 2 weeks? a house I did. The interior design chain had to respond pretty quickly when its stores had to suddenly close due to the pandemic when it had just stocked up on Christmas items. But Casa continues to reap the rewards today.
In just a few weeks, what was a long-term strategic project has turned into a very practical and tangible reality. When the pandemic hit, Casa jumped on the e-commerce bandwagon, and not just a little bit. “Our strategic plan 20.20 has already been submitted to implement the omnichannel strategy. In the early 2020s, the idea was to primarily offer furniture online and outsource deliveries to an outside service provider,” explains Walter Goossens, supply chain manager.
E-commerce was then seen as consumer-friendly: home furnishing delivery was still a fairly new service at Casa in the early 2000s, partly because physical stores didn’t always have the space for the growing range of furniture and partly To offer a solution for city dwellers who did not come by car. For smaller items, Casa offered a “click and collect” service: in-store inventory was displayed on the website so customers could reserve items online and pick them up a few hours later.
From a pallet to four Christmas balls
“So the omnichannel idea was already there,” Walter Goossens continues, but the company wasn’t ready to create the e-commerce platform itself. But not for long: when the second wave of Covid swept at the end of 2020, stores came to complete preparations for the important year-end period. While they were stocking up on Christmas decorations and party supplies, they had to close their doors again. “We found ourselves with all these end-of-the-year articles on our hands, and decided to put it online. In fifteen days, we had moved on to e-commerce.”
This had a significant impact on the chain, particularly its European distribution center in Olin. While we were mainly doing wholesale and store packaging, we suddenly had to start preparing individual orders. From a pallet to four Christmas balls, in two weeks… Fortunately, we quickly invested in an integrated warehouse management system for central And in a dedicated packer. We entered the year-end period without a pilot project or any testing. »
The improvised solution became a true success story, and Casa has since decided to take charge of the same e-commerce activities in all countries where the brand is present. Walter Goossens: Today, it’s clear that the Internet is still our growth engine, always in conjunction with Click & Collect. Only in Switzerland home delivery is not yet possible due to export regulations, but it will be settled in 2023.”
Customers prefer the store
Online sales have more than doubled since the pandemic, despite a slowdown that is currently affecting the entire sector. We may have to review our ambitions downward, but there is no turning back. E-commerce continues to be a growth activity. The value of each order has increased greatly, as customers combine items as much as possible to reduce the cost of door-to-door delivery. We’ve also found that our customers feel more comfortable with in-store pickup—which, by the way, isn’t limited to store inventory. Today, the customer has a choice: he can deliver it to his home, deliver it to the store from the central warehouse or reserve the stock available in the store. »
“Our customers love to go to stores. But we also see that we can also reach other customers via the Internet: young people, but also B2B customers, a segment that we are constantly expanding,” Walter Goossens continues. Proof of the success of the 20.20 payback plan: From an old and lost formula, Casa has transformed into a trendy and inspiring chain that sells more than accessories and gifts and also attracts young consumers.
“We pay a lot of attention to following trends. We also launched a new marketing department that integrates digital skills and e-commerce professionals. The omnichannel strategy makes a clear contribution and we are now ready to continue our growth.”
Walter Goossens will discuss further Casa omnichannel transformation during trends in e-commerce introductory program for retail tonightwhich will go on sale November 24. The poster will be involved there in particular INNOAnd the New PharmaAnd the eFarmz.