Interview with Christophe Ferlat, general manager of the MODIS group
This month, we interview Christophe Ferlat, general manager of the Modis group, a technology consulting firm in the ICT, Engineering and Life Sciences area. He explains us about Espace Emeraude, about his role within the company and about the technologies that are changing the retail paradigm all over the world.
- Hi Christophe! Could you tell us about Espace Emeraude and your role in the company?
It all began in 1980, when Claude Batardière founded the Espace Emeraude Company, opening the first store in St-Léger-Sous-Cholet, in the French region of Maine et Loire. Nowadays, our ninety stores are spread all over France, and, mainly, we sell products for professionals: farmers, construction personnel, etc.
Espace Emeraude sells practical and useful products. In our stores, customers have the opportunity to buy quality materials for professionals at competitive prices. Furthermore, to adapt to their needs, we are pursuing a total transformation of our stores: this process affects all our points of sales and will end in March 2019.
Regarding my role within the company, I am the stores’ director, and my job is to manage 25 point of sales throughout France, mainly in the west of the country. I have two main responsibilities: on the one hand, to ensure that the stores I manage get good results, on the other, given the current phase of digital transformation in progress in our stores, to make the transition to this new store-concept more smoothly.
- What are the sales channels used by the company?
Our main sales channel is the physical one: our stores are meeting places for professionals in the agricultural world, a sector in which we are leaders in dozens of cities. Private customers, who represent the majority of store visits, seek advice on durable and eco-green solutions to realize their projects.
From 2017 then, we are present on the internet, through the Click & Collect service. All our product range is available for pick-up in the store within 2 hours of purchase.
- What are the criteria used to determine the location of a new store?
To make this decision, we rely on population density and pedestrian flow, in addition to the position of the competition.
- Why measure your store data in real time? What is the goal to be achieved?
This decision, taken at the beginning of 2018 with TC Group Solutions, represents for us the guarantee to know with extreme precision the pedestrian traffic of our stores, to discover the global external traffic and to measure our commercial performances.
- What are the most important metrics (KPI) for Espace Emeraude, and how does this data help you improve store results?
The pedestrian traffic and the average value of the ticket, very relevant for certain specific products, are the first data that we analyze. We are also very interested in revenue and the evolution of the number of customers who are buying.
- How does the company use TC Group Solutions Retail Intelligence’ tools and what kind of benefits does it get?
Personally, I believe these tools represent a real revolution in customer loyalty. Thanks to loyalty cards, we already have a lot of information about them, but these tools allow us to know with precision what is happening in our stores.
Nowadays, after collecting information for several months, we know the conversion rate of each store and we are able to easily identify the weak points of each one. Plus, we have data on repeat frequency of regular customers and traffic, among others.
This data allows us to have a perspective on how we are generating revenue in each store, managing the schedules of commercial teams and communicating in different ways in those stores with less frequency of visits or sales.
This last point was a real surprise for me, because I discovered something that I did not know: there are shops with more turnouts than others, but with a much lower conversion rate. In this way, we could study targeted communication for these stores.
This system is of fundamental help in our path of evolution and understanding of consumer needs.