Retail & Distribution

Discover how French fashion retailer Cotélac puts the customer first thanks to a successful omnichannel strategy across all touchpoints

Interview with Abie Koram, Head of E-commerce and Digital Marketing
The Cotélac ready-to-wear brand has deployed various modules of the Cegid Retail Y2 solution, including the omnichannel module. This, according to Abie Koram, Head of E-commerce and Digital Marketing, was to address the challenge of “satisfying our customers at every point of contact” and improving e-commerce and global sales through better stock management.

To achieve the objective of putting the customer first whatever the channel, the retailer first started in 2016 to overhaul its logistics processes. “At the time, Cotélac was not always able to perfectly match the right stock with where consumers wanted to buy certain products. And e-commerce out-of-stock problems were mounting because store and online inventory were managed separately in silos,” she said.

Cotélac and its sister brand Acoté (created in 2004) have 110 stores – including 70 in France, made up of company-owned stores and franchises – and recorded sales of €38m in 2019.

While the retailer saw an increase in sales as soon as an omnichannel strategy was put in place, it also faced a rise in transportation costs due to inconsistencies in store inventories and in-store preparation errors. “Shipping multiple orders from several stores could multiply the cost of delivery by five,” explained Koram.

The decision was taken to simplify in-store procedures and consolidating orders, transferring all stock to a central warehouse before being sent on to customers. “Our sales staff and store managers have an intuitive tool for optimising online orders.” Working from a single source of stock was clearly a key starting point for developing its new omnichannel strategy, initiated in 2017.

” Now, if a customer sees a product online or on Instagram, we can identify how best to deliver it to them. This has enabled us to increase our online orders and reduce out-of-stocks, especially during special events. Because, if a product isn’t available at the central warehouse, stores can take charge themselves and dispatch goods directly. Daily pickups were organised through our transport provider and we saw really good results that year”

Abie Koram – Head of E-commerce and Digital Marketing

Accessing online stock directly from the store

Another project, launched in 2020, focused on redesigning the website and using an algorithm to ensure unified stock management and thus avoid inventory errors. Now, stores are able to access a much larger range of products available online and organise stock transfers using the omnichannel module of Cegid Retail. Stores can receive transfer requests daily and deal with them in the morning, before opening, leaving plenty of time to focus on customers.

In addition, Click & Collect has been rolled out to boost footfall to stores; and Cotélac is currently testing E-reservations together with automated store replenishment.

“Our customers appreciate the advice of our salespeople. And being able to offer products from the web catalogue allows us to expand our offer in-store,” concluded Koram. “Our goal is always to test and learn and optimise every point-of-sale and every touchpoint to satisfy the customer.”

Abie Koram – Head of E-commerce and Digital Marketing

Cotélac’s omnichannel efforts have certainly paid off, with a 60% increase in online sales from 2018. Its E-reservation service has also helped boost in-store traffic and taken pressure away from the after-sales service, who were often called upon to check product availability.

Today, Cotélac’s omnichannel approach allows it to offer more services tailored to the needs of the consumer and ensure a frictionless shopping experience.

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