Focusing on the customer to create the best retail shopping experience
With approximately 130 stores and over 9,000 employees, Boulanger is one of the largest electronics retailers in France. For more than 60 years, Boulanger has continued to be a leader in this retail space and has extensive experience in selling devices to households across the country along with providing high-quality installation, training, and repair services. Its approach is tailored to helping customers easily discover the right product and providing a unique experience which keeps customers returning to their stores.
Gearing Up for an Urban Challenge
Boulanger’s traditional success has been built on a business model dedicated to operating large warehouse-like stores in suburban areas or outside urban centers in France. Focused on sites that offer less expensive real estate and greater square footage, Boulanger provides their customers the opportunity to browse and wander throughout their stores to discover and experience a wide range of products in a single location.
However, with many of its competitors operating stores in urban or city-center locations, Boulanger made a strategic decision to introduce a big city format store as well. Storefronts in city centers are typically much smaller and more expensive. With less opportunity for finding large sites and the high cost of real estate in urban centers, Boulanger faced challenges to their business model. Boulanger’s new urban store model needed to address higher costs while driving four key priorities:
- Customer: Give customers an amazing in-store experience that also links to mobile and online sales channels for true omni-channel integration
- Product: Make its full product range available within a much smaller physical space and allow customers to still experience and buy from its deep inventory, beyond just the products displayed and stocked in the retail store
- Employee: Empower store staff to drive sales by increasing their understanding of customer behavior, providing easy access to product information, and providing easy access to product information and tools that allow them to engage customers on a personal level
- Physical Store: Transform the store to become more innovative, exciting, and relevant to customers to increase time in-store and help close more sales.
Boulanger needed to find the right combination of technologies to create an engaging retail space; it also needed to achieve results quickly—with a commitment to establish and open a Paris city center flagship store built around the new business model in just six months’ time.
Boulanger approached Capgemini for a digital retail solution that would meet its business objectives and address the challenges, create new revenue opportunities, empower employees, and create a unique customer experience without compromising the product availability and service that customers have come to expect in their traditional stores.
Capgemini’s Applied Innovation Exchange provides a framework for action
Boulanger executives were invited to visit the Applied Innovation Exchange (AIE) Lille, France, part of the Capgemini’s AIE Global Network, to experience “first hand” the latest in digital retail technologies and demonstrations of how they could be applied to meet Boulanger’s specific needs.
The AIE is Capgemini’s global innovation launch pad that leverages a framework for action, a network of exchange locations, and a high performance engagement experience together with a broad community of designers, technologists, sector experts, business and technology companies, academics, research organizations, and startups to enable organizations to proactively plan for and respond to the various technology and business shifts confronting them on a daily basis.
The AIE Lille is a key space for collectively creating innovative ideas and concepts through collaboration between Capgemini and its clients, covering e-commerce offers, big data/business intelligence, mobile, digital in-store, creative, and Customer Studio 360. AIE Lille provides a coherent and comprehensive vision of the value that can be delivered to brands and retailers. In addition to its geographical location in the biggest digital cluster north of Paris, the Exchange is designed as an open innovation workplace; a meeting point between Capgemini employees, clients, and the most innovative startups in the area.
Using the Capgemini Smart Digital Store framework, Capgemini consultants worked closely with Boulanger at the AIE Lille to help identify the most appropriate combination of technologies, both hardware and software, to achieve its goals and objectives quickly and effectively.
Boulanger chose to implement 24 high performance kiosks across its first city-center store in the Paris Opéra area. The kiosks feature interactive display units powered by Intel® Core™ i5 processors, and customers can use the kiosks to browse product categories, read reviews, and compare prices across a range of brands and products.
Four of the kiosks also feature a larger display in the form of a Virtual Wall, powered by Intel® Core™ i7 processors. The Virtual Wall enables customers to explore larger items such as oversized electrical appliances, even if they are not physically in the store. Customers can view various styles, models and even color combinations in “life size” formats.
The additional element in Boulanger’s strategy to become a Smart Digital Store is the use of tablet devices by its shop-floor assistants. These tablets allow staff to bring up details on specific products for customers and even process purchases from anywhere in the store—facilitating customer purchase decisions and personalized product recommendations, as well as improving the efficiency of sales staff to order and schedule product deliveries.
All three components (virtual wall, tablet, kiosks) are integrated using software developed specifically by Capgemini, enabling seamless sharing of data across Boulanger’s digital offerings. By linking the solution with its back-end systems and online presence, Boulanger has built a foundation for a growing number of Internet-of-Things (IoT) use cases in-store, and the use of business-wide big data analytics to enhance operations, better understand customer behavior trends, and create an omni-channel customer experience.
Delivering Results: Boulanger Gains New Customers Through an Urban Footprint that Creates a Unique Experience and a Powerful Competitive Advantage
- Enhanced Customer Experience: The Paris Opéra store offers customers a unique experience with an almost unlimited choice of products and features through the benefits of virtual walls
- Competitive advantage: Engaging customers with virtual walls helps the company gain competitive advantage by uniquely offering its full range of products (including those not stocked in-store) to city-center residents as well as enabling the retailer to compete effectively with its competitors in the same location
- Urban footprint: The Smart Digital Store solution helps Boulanger establish a solid footprint in the urban landscape with stores that offer much more in less space and creates a new store model that is being expanded to other cities.
The Smart Digital Store merges the benefits of online and physical stores to create a distinctive proposition that enriches the customer experience and empowers employees while unlocking savings, fueling new services, generating new revenue streams, and creating a competitive advantage.
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