Customer: Entrepôt du Bricolage
Number of stores: 38
Number of ESLs: approximately 15,000 /store
Customer since: 2020
An effortless buying journey, bespoke support, a high-quality multi-channel experience, a more efficient employee pathway, and a generally more human-focused approach. The French SAMSE Group’s L’Entrepôt du Bricolage stands out on the market for the excellence of its customer relations—proven when WizVille awarded it their 2021 Retail Customer Satisfaction Award in the Gardening and DIY category. The secret to their success? A management approach based on Symmetry of Attention, in which the adoption of Pricer’s optical wireless communication based ESL system played an essential role in boosting operational efficiency.
Over the past two years, L’Entrepôt du Bricolage in France has been evolving in a restricted environment, which risked affecting its promise of excellent relations and high-quality service. Of course, they didn’t let that happen. The Grenoble-based brand continues to be showered with praise for its ability to maintain smooth and pleasant relations, not only with its customers, but also with its employees, whose work has been significantly facilitated and optimized through the introduction of electronic shelf labels (ESL) in their daily tasks. So, how has L’Entrepôt du Bricolage capitalized on Pricer’s optical wireless communication in order to enable it to uncover the Holy Grail of customer relations, and to succeed in its digital transformation without any compromises for employee well-being? To what extent did Pricer’s electronic shelf labels play a key role? We discovered the answers through our sit-down with Guylène Riera Cochu, Financial and Administrative Director, and Gwénola Riquin, Project Manager.
Flashing labels led to new opportunities
For L’Entrepôt du Bricolage, excellence in customer relations depends on well-calibrated internal organization. In 2010, the company was already reflecting on how it could ensure that its in-store teams were 100% available for greeting customers and best handling their requests. However, the market at the time wasn’t sufficiently developed in technological terms to put the electronic shelf label forward as a feasible solution for such challenges… Until Pricer introduced Instant Flash.
Pricer labels – part of the digitalization journey
New features, new opportunities: L’Entrepôt du Bricolage then spotted the potential which, far beyond a simple price tag solution, would go on to become a company project, forming an integral part of the brand’s strategy with one specific goal in mind: developing high-quality customer relations built on training, team skill evolution, and the implementation of optimal working conditions in stores, all thanks to the optical communication system.
The initial tests with Pricer were carried out in 2018, in the Saint-Martin d’Hères (Isère region) pilot store, not far from Grenoble. However, what really convinced L’Entrepôt du Bricolage to significantly invest in electronic shelf labels from June 2019 was the realization it triggered across the brand: they needed to capitalize on customer relations to carve out a niche on the market. While L’Entrepôt du Bricolage was in the process of reviewing the organization of its stores using teams dedicated to logistics (stocking products on shelves, order preparation, etc.) was the perfect opportunity for sales staff to focus more on advising and serving customers.
Eliminating time-consuming in-store tasks
“Of course, L’Entrepôt du Bricolage couldn’t have predicted that the pandemic and the sudden boom in online orders due to lockdown restrictions would allow them to make the most of electronic labels. We soon realized that, to ensure exceptional customer relations, we would need to offer our in-store teams in exchange the best working conditions possible by eliminating repetitive and time-consuming tasks from their daily workload. This principle of Symmetry of Attention has constantly guided our actions, and was fully reflected through the roll-out of the electronic label project across our entire network”, said Riquin.
32 out of 38 stores equipped in six months
L’Entrepôt du Bricolage’s gamble of accelerating the roll-out of its electronic shelf label project across its entire network paid off. 32 out of 38 stores were equipped in six months, instead of the three-year timeline initially anticipated. The success was due not only to Pricer’s responsiveness, but also to the support it provided in finding pertinent solutions, both financially and strategically. In total, Pricer installed 15,000 electronic labels per store, across an average surface area of 3,000 m2.
“During the establishment phase of the project, we were looking for a solution for financing this investment to enable us to speed up its roll-out. Ultimately, Pricer offered us a long-term rental solution, with a seven-year repayment plan, which allowed us to immediately benefit from electronic shelf labels and to implement them strategically and in a targeted manner across our entire network”, said Riera Cochu.
Riquin also added: “In this sense, the technology used by Pricer—namely, the optical wireless communication system—was particularly reassuring for us. Not only because, unlike WiFi, it isn’t dependent on the network’s bandwidth, which makes it more reliable, but also because it’s more energy efficient, guaranteeing a much longer lifespan for our labels, extending to up to eight years.”
Instant Flash for geolocation of products
Another determining factor for the speed of roll-out was the accounting for certain store-specific restrictions in terms of layout and merchandizing. Effectively, what use it is to install electronic shelf labels on products located on lower shelves, knowing that between passing forklifts and customers’ trolleys, they’ll be more exposed to breakage risks?
The fact that the project had a focus on all self-service products as a priority didn’t necessarily mean that L’Entrepôt du Bricolage had lost sight of other types of in-store needs, which were particularly pressing in some more specific zones, where worktops, longer lengths, paneling, backboards, and tiling are stored, with a special display system. In this particular case, the brand preferred to focus on the geolocation of the product, rather than on instant price display.
Dark store efficiency
The ultimate challenge faced by L’Entrepôt du Bricolage remained: beyond the in-store aisles, they had a certain amount of excess product stock. How could they be more competitive in identifying and geolocating these items? Besides those displayed on the shelves, the brand also reflected on the logistical optimization of listings stocked in reserves. How could they ensure that employees could find them more quickly? Could Pricer help the brand develop their use of geolocation even further?
“We’re currently looking to optimize logistics in some of these storage areas which aren’t accessible to customers, where there is a high concentration of products across small surface areas. This is where we identified the need focus on efficiency for order preparation. That is why, alongside Pricer, we chose to opt for segment labels which meet our requirements: identifying the exact number of items available in stock, so that our in-store teams can easily geolocate them thanks to the Instant Flash”, said Riquin.
According to Riera Cochu: “The teams at Price understood our challenges and were quick to adapt their solutions accordingly. Together, we’re reflecting on the utility of the electronic label in relation to our specific challenges, which enables us to form a genuine partnership and to set our sights on even bigger projects. They have great suggestions to offer, and we’re not working together in a solely client-supplier dynamic. We challenge each other, and that’s how we like to work.”
Result: boosted productivity and team skill development
Thanks to electronic shelf labels, geolocation allows us to undeniably save time on shelf-stacking, order preparation and product relocation: on average, the time spent looking for a product on the shelves was reduced from 50 seconds to less than 5 seconds, which really gives our team the ability not only to focus on tasks with high added-value, but also to be more attentive to customer relations, which benefits greatly from this availability. The electronic label also helps with communicating a dynamic brand image, while also providing relevant product information (stock levels, open orders, delivery date, product discontinuity, etc.).
“At L’Entrepôt du Bricolage, we’ve noticed that it took nearly three weeks for a logistics agent to be sufficiently familiar with product locations and to navigate through the point of sale. With the Pricer geolocation feature, this same logistics agent can view the store plan on their PDA. It just takes three to four hours of training to get them started and operational, stocking shelves or easily finding products to prepare a customer’s order in-store”, said Riquin.
Enhanced customer relations
At L’Entrepôt du Bricolage, the next evolutions remain driven by e-commerce and the development of perfect complementarity between online and offline channels, online sale sites and physical stores. In this context, the professionalism of teams in order preparation becomes an essential factor, and the electronic shelf labels are now more indispensable than ever.
“We need our customer responses to be increasingly quick, reactive, and reliable, and we’re also becoming progressively more organized with our product returns process for online store orders. This will doubtlessly enhance our customer relations, whether that’s in digital commerce or in physical stores. Those are our main challenges for the future”, said Riera Cochu.
“Pricer labels are fitted with NFC chips which enable communication with an electronic shelf label via a smartphone. For now, that’s something we’re yet to implement, but the support we receive from Pricer allows us to actively think about it, so we’re aiming to trial this device in some of our stores next year. Let’s not forget that most great ideas were found in feedback from our end-users who are in the field daily, and who help us prioritize in line with their needs. It’s this vision, and this collaborative approach, both with Pricer and with our in-store teams, which truly make our brand valuable and unique”, said Riquin.
Want to find out more about how L’Entrepôt du Bricolage bet on optical wireless communication? Head over to an article in French, Republik Retail.
Published in March 2022