L’Occitane, a world-renowned brand specializing in pure and natural cosmetics and perfumes, chose Yourcegid Retail software to fuel its international expansion and manage its network of stores worldwide. Today, more than 1,000 stores in more than 25 countries are equipped with Yourcegid Retail. The solution allows L’Occitane to improve the management of its retail activities, improving merchandising, sales and customer relationship management as well as unifying the group’s retail processes into a single core model.
Founded in 1976, in the town of Manosque in the Provence region of southeastern France, L’Occitane developed expertise manufacturing cosmetics and wellness products using time-honored ingredients. Its products are marketed under four brands: L’Occitane en Provence, Melvita, Le Couvent des Minimes and Erborian. Since the beginning of the 1990s, when its international expansion took off, L’Occitane has seen spectacular growth, particularly in Asia. More than 90% of L’Occitane’s sales ($1.43 billion in 2012/13) come from outside France and its retail network is continuing to expand, with more than 2,500 boutiques in total (owned stores and concessions) in approximately 100 countries.
To support its rapid expansion, L’Occitane needed a steadfast international technology partner and an all-encompassing, innovative management solution. In 2010, after studying the solutions available on the market, L’Occitane chose Yourcegid Retail. “Cegid’s international experience and industry-specific expertise ensured that the solution would be implemented on a large scale across the globe in a secure, well-organized fashion,” said Etienne de Verdelhan, VP Process Optimization & Chief Information Officer at L’Occitane Group.
Etienne recalled having been won over by the robust functionality in Yourcegid Retail, as well as by Cegid’s ability to offer retail specific innovations such as customer relationship management, omnichannel integration, optimized replenishment and in-store mobility.
Given L’Occitane’s international presence, large-scale deployment was required, with real-time access to centralized servers in each region (Asia-Pacific, Japan, North and South America, Europe), challenging both Cegid’ subsidiaries and local partners. “We had to automate the processes to keep to L’Occitane’s tight deployment schedule,” recalled Sylvain Jauze, Director of International Operations at Cegid.
Beginning in Australia in 2010, Cegid equipped 35 stores over three months. Then, Yourcegid Retail was deployed in 350 Asian stores (Hong Kong, China, Singapore, Thailand, etc.). In Japan alone, Cegid equipped more than 100 stores with a localized version of the solution. In the next step, the solution was deployed in more than 250 stores in North America. “We finished with 350 stores in Europe, including 220 stores in eight countries in just one night!” explained Etienne. Although priority was given to L’Occitane’s company-owned stores, over the long term, all its sales outlets will be connected to the new IT system. The solution is currently being deployed in Taiwan, Korea and Brazil, and in the near future, it will be deployed in more countries in Latin America, India and South Africa.
“Based on our detailed knowledge of the market and trends, our objective is always to anticipate our customers’ needs and expectations worldwide and to integrate the latest innovations into our solutions. We are very proud to support such an international brand as L’Occitane in deploying a global and powerful IT system,” states Nathalie Echinard, Director of Vertical Markets, Cegid.
Having selected Yourcegid Retail, L’Occitane now has a solution that perfectly matches its store management, CRM, merchandising and inventory management needs. “At the front line of business, the IT system plays a pivotal role in L’Occitane Group’s brand development by improving operational productivity at every level and offering retail-specific innovation,” explained Etienne. The solution is localized for each country (language, tax, regulations, credit card payments etc.) and also includes processes and industry requirements specific to each country.
“We now manage all our stores worldwide with a modern, international IT system. We are now able to standardize and optimize our processes at the Group level. And measuring operational excellence at each site has become easy,” said the CIO of L’Occitane.
In line with L’Occitane’s customer-centric approach, Yourcegid Retail offers new, high value-added Customer Relationship Management (CRM) functions, such as a powerful loyalty management engine adapted to the needs of each country, whether that be complex points programs in Asia, customer relationship programs and special offers in Europe, or something entirely different. What’s more, innovative functions such as in-store mobility, omnichannel integration and biometric identification of sales staff are available.
“We can now enjoy more complex interaction with our customers, manage their loyalty points in real time across all sales channels, customize promotions, and offer services such as web-to-store,” said Etienne.
To see this large-scale project through to completion, Cegid relied upon its international infrastructure of more than 10 subsidiaries worldwide and the significant involvement of its local Value Added Reseller (VAR) network. And more importantly, it worked in close partnership with its client. “Significant synergies were created between our staff and L’Occitane’s management team. Thanks to this collaboration, we were able to swiftly adapt the core model to respond to the business complexities L’Occitane faced in Asia, USA and EMEA,” noted Sylvain Jauze.
L’Occitane echoed this statement. “Cegid is one of the few, if not the only software provider capable of supporting companies worldwide by offering a single, international and localized solution,” said Etienne de Verdelhan.