We hear it more and more often: physical retail is increasingly about creating experiences. It’s not for nothing that ‘Live Retail’ was central in Paris Retail Week held in last September. The ever-growing knowledge concerning consumers enables retailers to offer highly personalised shopping experiences, is the idea. A round of the various new shopping concepts in the French capital shows that ‘creating an experience’ can be interpreted in many different ways.
PSA Experience Store
The completely refurbished showroom of PSA, the concern behind Peugeot and Citroën, acts as the location par excellence for these car brands for the entire Western side of Paris. From the outside the store has one appearance, but all three brands have their own, totally different space. Three? Yes, because besides Peugeot and Citroën, DS is presented as a separate brand. It must become the ‘premium brand’ of the French car concern, in the same way that Lexus became great under the wings of Toyota.
Although Peugeot and Citroën have belonged to the same concern for years, what is new is that both brands are presented to the consumer in a joint store. The pilot store, that will eventually be rolled out internationally, covers three thousand square metres. Carpets and the presence of Café André (named after André Citroën) are intended to create a warm, homely atmosphere. Here, customers can compose their car after their own taste on digital screens. For each car over thirty options can be changed, with a large screen showing immediately how these changes will look. A car can be bought directly via the screen, but also through one of the car sellers, who work only for one brand each, for which they act as ‘ambassadors’.
The car concern is none the worse for this new shopping concept. Sales have risen by five per cent since the renovation, so they indicate. The store also meets the wishes of today’s car buyers, who through their own research already know what they do and do not want. This is apparent in the store’s conversion. Whereas previously out of one hundred people who visited thirty actually bought a car, today twenty out of forty visitors buy a new bolide.
La Maison Sonos
Frankly, we cannot really call the Sonos house on Rue de Clichy a store, for nothing is sold there and as a consumer you cannot enter just like that. So what made the electronics producer decide to buy an apartment in the north of Paris? To introduce people – on appointment and at special events – to Sonos equipment in a genuinely homely setting.
Whereas PSA tried to create a homely setting with a couple of carpets, due to the penetrating smell of tyres it could not prevent the real character of the car showroom from clearly shining through. Sonos is actually established in a house, including bedrooms and a kitchen. Worldwide, it is the only place where Sonos has established such an ‘experience house’. On just over one hundred square metres all these spaces have been equipped with the brand’s products, which can be operated with the accompanying smartphone app. During a round of the house it becomes clear that all music can be operated from one app per room. All equipment, from a record player to a TV, is connected to the Sonos speakers via Wi-Fi. The only thread we find is for the power supply.
Regular Sonos customers who want to visit the house can submit a request to the sound specialist by email. When they are lucky they are invited to one of the five Saturdays a year when Sonos opens its doors. Apart from this, the house is used for, for instance, interviews, as a meeting place for artists, but also for cooking events. All this, of course, while enjoying music sounding from the Sonos speakers. According to Sonos, this does not lead to frustration in the neighbourhood: the apartment is sufficiently insulated to keep the sound within the walls.
My little Paris
From scratch to a community of four million people, in nine years’ time. That is, in a nutshell, My Little Paris. It all started when founder Fany Péchiodat sent her friends some tips via email about the nicest hidden shops and secret catering facilities in Paris. In no time she had awakened the interest of countless other women and the idea of a newsletter was born. Within a month two thousand subscribers had been registered. And although a heavily sponsored newsletter is still the basis, My Little Paris now does so much more, in all kinds of collaborations with bigger and smaller brands and retailers. This is done by 150 paid employees in a creative breeding place on Boulevard de Rochechouart.
In 2011, My Little Paris entered the e-commerce world with the introduction of My Little Box, in fact a physical translation of what the newsletter recommends. For 15.50 euros a month subscribers, get a box with products of one of May Little Paris’s collaboration partners sent to their home address. These boxes are compiled by employees of My Little Paris and there are various variants, including my Little Christmas or My Little Detox Box. Within three quarters after the introduction two thousand boxes had been sold, and within 24 hours all boxes that had initially been made were sold out. My Little Box now covers sixty per cent of the turnover.
Various large brands have discovered My Little Paris for a partnership. For instance, Coca Cola and L’Oréal have participated in the organisation of events to, as Péchiodat describes it, ‘re-enter the hearts of the Parisians’. Next year My Little Paris wants to enter in big partnerships again, with a stronger focus on ecology and a healthy lifestyle. In the long term, My Little Paris wants to expand throughout Europe.
A HelloFresh of sorts, but in the physical world. Comptoir des Recettes is not an ordinary supermarket, but sells recipes and the ingredients for them. Each week there are four new recipes: two meat dishes, a fish option and a vegetarian choice. For these, the retailer works with vegetables and fruits that are in season. Dishes cost seven euros per person and can be obtained both in the store itself or delivered at home and prepared within thirty minutes.
Comptoir des Recettes has only just begun and for the time being limits its services to the capital. In addition to the baskets with ingredients for the recipes the store also sells separate products including wine, desserts and herbs. Fruit and vegetables are not sold separately. Occasionally there is an event in the store, where those interested can cook together and see directly how the recipes must be prepared.
On average, the physical meal box supplier can count on approximately ten new customers per day, depending on the season. In summer, when people tend to dine out more, business is somewhat slower. The store with separate products then has a larger share in the turnover, because people go picnicking, for instance, and like a bottle of wine or some olives to go with it. In winter the meal box has a larger share in the turnover.
The 3rd edition of Paris Retail Week ended on 21 September after three days dedicated to Live Retail. Punctuated by conferences and the Paris Retail Awards ceremony, trade and e-commerce professionals who attended the show shared their experiences and viewpoints on future retail trends.
This edition of Paris Retail Week brought together 25,497 professionals and nearly 500 participating companies.
Save the date for the next edition: from 10 to 12 September 2018
Full press release on: https://en.parisretailweek.com/Press/Press-releases/review-2017-edition