Retail & Distribution

An Imperative for Retail Brands: Keep the Consumer in Focus and Never Miss a Sale

2 July 2019

5 min
“I’m so sorry,” said Nora, the sales associate, a little breathless from rummaging through the boutique’s tiny stockroom. “We don’t seem to have the swimsuit you want in stock. Could you try back next week? We might get the size you need in our next shipment,” she adds with a hopeful smile, a bit forced because she’s seen this scene play out too many times before. The young couple behind the counter sigh with disappointment, soothing the restless toddler in their stroller and looking around for the older sibling who’s busy trying on hats. They’re holding several swimsuits in their hands, standing at the register. “It just won’t work. We’re leaving for vacation this weekend,” says the female customer wearily. “I had my heart set on matching bathing suits for our special holiday. It was going to be Instagram perfect and now … well, thank you anyway. We’ll have to keep looking.” As they walk out the door scanning their phones for other shops nearby, Nora looks at the merchandise left behind and, disheartened, slowly starts to put it back on the shelves.

Modern Retail

Now let’s fast forward to today: That would not happen for Vilebrequin, a luxury swimwear and lifestyle brand, with 150 stores in 65 countries. The family in search of matching bathing suits for their holiday? They would not have left empty handed. In fact, they probably wouldn’t even be standing behind a sales counter at all. That’s because Vilebrequin sale associates are leveraging Surface tablets to engage with customers on the sales floor without ever having to leave the shopper’s side. They can complete purchase transactions, locate products anywhere in the Vilebrequin universe and place orders on the customer’s behalf. If a product is not in stock in the store, associates like Nora have a real-time view into all inventory and can arrange for items to be shipped straight to the shopper’s home, the store of their choice or even a temporary location like a hotel at the beach. Customers can shop online and then pick up their purchases in the store or have items shipped to their home. Vilebrequin is also working on an ultra-fast delivery option in which some orders can be fulfilled within two hours by courier in select cities. All of this is thanks to the Cegid Retail Y2 retail management platform, built with Microsoft .net, as well as Cegid’s Shopping (point-of-sale) and Clienteling modules — both built on Microsoft’s Universal Windows Platform, running on Windows 10.

We chose to benefit from the latest retail solutions, we already had a strong digital strategy, but we wanted to implement a sales aid in our boutiques.

Christian Roche

Vilebrequin CIO

The results have been amazing:

  • Sales have increased between 2%-5% in stores now that associates are using the mobile-powered Shopping and Clienteling solutions.
  • Customers can purchase multiple items online, including gifts, and have them sent to different locations.
  • Sales associates have a 360-degree view of consumers’ preferences and buying activity, empowering staff with up-selling and cross-selling capabilities.

Microsoft and Cegid: Partners Enabling Retail Transformation

Consumers want a convenient, authentic, personalized shopping experience, regardless of the sales channel. Vilebrequin is one of more than 1,000 specialty retailers, spanning over 75 countries and 70,000 stores, that rely on Cegid’s technology to create this experience. And through Microsoft PODs in Europe, the Americas and APAC, data moves at the speed of commerce.

Yves Rocher, the worldwide cosmetics and beauty brand, is another retailer who is transforming and strengthening its global sales and customer engagement with Cegid Retail Y2 running on Azure Worldwide Cloud. At stores already running the solution, Yves Rocher is supporting dramatic surges in sales activity in response to simultaneous promotions.

  • Sights set on quick ROI, Yves Rocher will have deployed Cegid’s cloud-based solution across 700 stores, including 600 POS workstations in France, by June 2019. The technology is set to roll out to all 1,100 of its stores worldwide.
  • Through its advanced loyalty program, Yves Rocher has run 300 concurrent promotions, leveraging centralized, real-time promotion management strategies.
  • During one sales spike, the business easily handled 90,000 receipts/hour.

Aēsop is another customer that, like Vilebrequin and Yves Rocher, has transformed its retail operations thanks to Cegid Retail Y2 and Shopping, running as software-as-a-service on the Microsoft Azure Worldwide Cloud. The Australia-based skin-care brand has a presence in over 20 countries, across 200 signature stores and more than 80 counters in select department stores, from Asia to Europe to North America. Before rolling out Cegid Retail Y2 and Cegid Shopping, Aēsop store associates were frustrated by blindness to their customers’ sales journeys. For example, an active and loyal online customer could walk into a store looking for his favorite lotion, and the in-store team would have no information about his past shopping history or preferences. Today, that same shopper is catered to like royalty, on the spot, because the sales associates can see a complete picture of the individual’s interactions with the brand, right on their Surface tablets. This allows Aēsop to offer a consistent, personalized and seamless customer experience at each touchpoint. Behind the scenes, all Aēsop inventory information resides in a single, centralized place in the cloud. The retailer uses this real-time data to automatically replenish merchandise as products sell, making sure to keep plenty of skin-care favorites on the shelf and in the supply chain for every shopper.


Revolutionary Retail Times

Within the past decade, the global retail industry has undergone one of the most transformational periods in its history. With the advent of online shopping and social media, consumers expect their favorite brands to recognize them, value them and offer a highly personalized experience — in-store, online, anytime, everywhere. It’s been no small challenge. What’s standing in the way? More often than naught, the bad guys are legacy software systems that were simply built for a different era, before the proliferation of what’s now widely known as omnichannel shopping. Also, many retailers have traditionally relied on customized software run from in-house servers, requiring lots of time and resources for updates or maintenance. Real-time inventory information, now table stakes to play the game, was practically unheard of 10 years ago. Many retailers built separate systems and teams to manage online sales, creating yet more silos and walls between their products and information. Ultimately, this was defeating for dedicated associates like Nora, who want to delight shoppers but don’t have the right tools to do so. And when customers face friction in finding what they seek? They do just what our swimsuit-seeking family did — look for a better experience elsewhere.


But the times, they’ve been a changing. And thanks to Cegid Retail solutions, powered by Microsoft and its latest innovations, retailers around the world can seize new opportunities, stay a step ahead of consumer expectations — and never miss a sale! Instead of apologies, Nora is now empowered to offer fantastic customer service, fulfilling shoppers’ wishes and becoming the hero who saves the day!

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