Retail & Distribution

Chinese lifestyle product retailer Miniso continues growth in Europe and opts for Cegid Retail unified commerce platform to open new stores in France

For the grand opening of France’s first Miniso store in October 2020, a long line of patient shoppers eagerly awaited the discount treasure-trove for household appliances, cosmetics and Japanese-inspired home furnishings. “Useful but cute”, beckoned the slogans.


The Chinese retailer known for its stylish yet affordable household products, mostly crafted by an in-house team of designers, is forging ahead with an ambitious expansion strategy. In just over six years, the chain has already amassed 4,800 stores worldwide, with 2,600 in China. Europe is firmly in its sights and many new stores have been opened during the last year, including in France, Italy, Spain and Portugal.

According to the three executives we interviewed in France – Jonathan SiboniAriel Wizman and Nicolas Rey – this first French store opening is only the start of the journey.

They believe that shoppers will be lured by the quality of goods displayed on shelves, getting a much better experience than those faced with the ubiquity of so many inferior products viewed online:

When you come to Miniso, you don’t necessarily know what you want to buy,” said Siboni“In our stores, you’re more likely to find something and be drawn by a product’s captivating design and good value for money.

The success story behind Miniso

Miniso was founded in 2014 by Ye Guofu, a Chinese businessman generally put off by the poor quality of mass produced commodities found online. His vision was to open a number of physical stores offering a wide range of affordable yet well-designed household products and toys.

The average price of products is 5,90 euros and the group boasts 16 design centres across the globe to refine the selection of products on offer. Every Monday, between 800 and 1000 new products are put forward as part of the 500 new items offered each week in its stores.

It’s a format that’s proven popular with shoppers and helped establish the retailer on a global scale.

Cegid Retail assists store expansion

Since the first Miniso store opening in France last October, another has since opened its doors in Paris, as well as a concession in a popular Fnac store in Paris. So, even though the impacts of Covid-19 and successive lockdowns have slowed things down for Miniso’s expansion plans across Europe, a further 50 new stores are still expected over the next two to three years.

The company is relying on the Cegid Retail unified commerce platform to help manage its growing network of stores and concessions.

We were looking for an integrated and proven retail solution to cover everything from store sales, CRM and back-office management – for optimising stocks, replenishment, inventories and reporting. We did not want to disparate solutions, we needed a single solution to manage the retail operations, said Nicolas Rey. “It was also easier and quicker to transition to Cegid because it was already being used by colleagues abroad (in Réunion).”

Siboni added: “We handle a large variety and volume of products, so we wanted a strong and agile provider that could grow with us.”

Cloud, M-PoS, Inventory tracking, BI…various tools to boost operational performance

Miniso France has followed in the footsteps of other partners abroad (like in Réunion) and opted for Cegid Retail omnichannel solution in SaaS.

A SaaS solution was an obvious choice for us and gives us the flexibility to add tools as and when we need them for the best options in retail,” said Siboni.

After quickly implementing the core modules of Cegid Retail Y2 – sales, merchandise management, order management, inventory management and store management – Miniso is adding CRM, M-PoS, Inventory Tracking and Business Intelligence solutions.

Then comes e-commerce, with Miniso deploying various omnichannel services that will include e-reservations and click-and-collect. Home delivery is not considered essential, given the low value of most goods on sale:

Most products retail at 5.90 euros and one of our best-sellers is a stuffed teddy-bear the size of a man, which throws up its own logistical challenges.”

The new reporting and BI tools provided by the Cegid Retail Intelligence solution save the company a lot of man-hours. Automated replenishment and mobile PoS devices will also lead to further time savings, as well as increased revenue thanks to better service and availability of products.

The reporting tools allow us to automatically generate dashboards, analyse results and set benchmarks,” said Rey. “We estimate time savings that equate to about 1 month.

3 steps for growth in physical retailing

Miniso France is building firm foundations for future growth and sees a mix of company-owned and franchise stores in city centres and shopping centres, as well as concessions in popular shopping locations like train stations and department stores. It plans around fifty stores within 2 to 3 years, with “the franchise concept likely to take over once things become more established.”

The second stage will see more outlets opening in train stations:

We will soon be opening at Paris Gare de Lyon and Nantes station in France, because we want to be close to consumers,” said Siboni. “Mobile pop-up stores are planned on the subways and we’re working on this with RATP (the public transport operator in Paris).”

The third and final part of Miniso’s strategy of opening more outlets centres on strategic partnerships with core retailers like Fnac and Galeries Lafayette in France.

Miniso will soon be present in around ten Fnac stores in the form of smaller shop-in-shop concession areas; and a pop-up store will soon be added to Galeries Lafayette, the leading department store chain in France.

It’s a strategy that’s sure to win over the hearts and minds of consumers who’ve spent months during lockdown starved of shopping trips on the high street!

#Retail the new way