A children’s fashion designer from birth to age 14, and an expert in maternity and childcare accessories, the Orchestra-Prémaman group is busy on all fronts. It is developing its network of mixed stores and megastores in France and abroad at full speed, backed from the start in this by Cegid. To accommodate new consumer habits, it is also offering state-of-the art services in its outlets, such as iPods so customers opening birth lists can select their items in a jiffy. Other projects are underway with the launch of new ‘web in store’ services.
Just like its customers, Orchestra-Prémaman never stops growing. The childcare and children’s fashion group, celebrating its twentieth anniversary this year, has completely outgrown the small children’s brand called Orchestra created by Pierre and Chantal Mestre in 1995 near Montpellier. Though its store fronts may still welcome customers with a bubble-blowing bear, it was just a few years later that Orchestra became an international leader in the children’s clothing and childcare market.
To achieve this, Orchestra started by opening small city-centre stores and went on to develop through franchises. Soon, large ‘everything under one roof’ stores were opened in city outskirts to capitalize on the lure of retail areas. Charging on, it also gained ground internationally and acquired businesses, buying Dipaki and Kazibao in 2001, then getting a foothold in the childcare market by acquiring the Swiss-based Babycare network. In July 2012, Belgian-based Prémaman, also specializing in childcare, joined Orchestra to give birth to a new children’s fashion and childcare powerhouse: Orchestra-Prémaman. Finally, in 2013, the group took over Baby2000, the Belgian specialist in baby-product distribution, then Home Market, the Belgian subsidiary of the Saint Maclou group, adding some thirty stores to its network as a result.
Now equipped with multi-channel distribution (i.e. 600 own-brand or partner stores, about a hundred multi-brand outlets and three online stores) as well as multi-format distribution (sales areas covering from 3800 to 32,000 sq. ft. (350 to 3,000m²) in town centres, shopping malls or retail parks), Orchestra-Prémaman is doing business in 40 countries and is continuing to develop at full tilt. New stores are opening, either large ones of over 10800 sq. ft. (1,000m²) – and up to 5200 sq. ft. (4,800m²) megastores – where customers can discover the entire range of clothing and textile, childcare products and toys grown out of its ‘cross-world’ experience, or textile in smaller catchment areas of 4800 to 6000 sq. ft. (450 to 550m²).
The constantly changing range is one of the widest and fullest on the market. A team of about thirty fashion designers and pattern designers, and four purchasing offices across the globe devise 3,500 new models every season with over 100 new products per week based on different themes for boys and girls from birth to age 14, babies 6 to 23 months old, and new-borns from up to 6 months. Expecting mothers have their own specially designated area with the Prémaman label. In terms of childcare items, Orchestra lists 10,000 top-brand products as well as its own-brand range. This huge selection is ideal for one stop shopping. To do their shopping, parents will take a walk through ten clearly marked sections, and there are surprises every step of the way, such as a real car used to demonstrate how to set up a car seat or paving to try out the pushchairs.
The success of the concept is also due to a far-reaching customer-loyalty strategy and to the implementation of a multi-channel policy developed with Yourcegid Retail in particular. Starting in 2009, facing the rise in endless promotions, ‘floating sales’ (any time of the year) and consumers’ loss of fair-price benchmarks, Orchestra decided to revolutionize consumer habits by offering the Club Orchestra program, an ongoing loyalty system for customers. For a small $35 membership fee, customers will enjoy discounts up to 50% all year long on textile collections. The Club now has 1.7 million members around the world (15 countries, including Italy, Germany, Canada, Mauritius and the United Arab Emirates).
The data collected on customer behavior and experiences also allows Orchestra to launch ambitious and targeted CRM programs across all sales channels. ‘Our CRM strategy is based on purchase analysis’, explains Agathe Boidin, General Manager of Orchestra-Prémaman. ‘It’s carried out on a multi-channel basis. We offer birth lists on the Internet, for example, enhanced by in-store services. Recipients can collect the items they purchased on line from points of sale (POS). The list accessed online can be retrieved in-store with the Yourcegid Retail solution.’
Orchestra is also focusing on its digital in-store services. For more than two years, the brand has been offering customers the possibility of drawing up their birth list themselves or with the help of an in-store salesperson by scanning the items with iPods. When checking out, the list contents are automatically synchronized on the Internet with Cegid’s store-management software and the product catalogue is directly updated. Other projects are currently underway. While 70% of Internet sales are already click & collect-enabled, the group is working on providing this service with centralized stock management (in a ‘click & reserve’ mode) for childcare items. ‘Web in store’ services with tablet-based sales assistance and mobile payments are also on the agenda.
Meanwhile, Orchestra-Prémaman continues to broaden its international network in Europe, but also in North America (Montreal, Philadelphia), Asia (Shanghai) and Russia (Moscow). The group has been backed in its expansion from the outset by Cegid and Yourcegid Retail, providing a real-time overview of its turnover and customers, and allowing the group to manage its high volumes of stocks and collections with precision. ‘We are finalizing the rollout of Yourcegid Retail in all countries’, says Agathe Boidin. ‘We started with France Spain, Belgium, Greece and Saudi Arabia and are moving on to other countries like Morocco and Switzerland.’