Sostrene Grene: “We want to increase our market share in France” – Interview > Retail

Where are you in your network in France?

Mikkel Grene. We have been present in France since 2014 and it is one of our most important and growing markets. This summer we opened our 40and store in Aix-en-Provence. We want to continue to open new points of sale in the coming years. Let’s see by their number: there’s still room in France!

In how many countries are you present?

Mikkel Grene. We are present in 16 countries: Germany, England, Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Spain, France, Faroe Islands, Ireland, Northern Ireland, Iceland, Japan, Norway, Netherlands, Sweden and Switzerland.

How was the first half of 2022?

Mikkel Grene. The results are quite positive. At our points of sale, we offer a calm and welcoming shopping experience, where customers can forget about the “turbulence” and take advantage of our low prices. A very important point today. We aim to absorb most of the price increases we experience from our suppliers to give buyers a boost in this difficult time. We want to increase our market share in France in the coming years.

After Denmark, Germany and the Netherlands and after France in 2020, where are you in e-commerce?

Rasmus Skjott. We currently deploy commercial sites in Denmark, Germany, the Netherlands, France, but also Sweden and Norway. All markets have local distribution and payment solutions. Each site is translated into the language of the country and has a local customer service. All of these platforms were set up during the first 12 months, when the health crisis had a major impact on our business. We are currently using new markets to develop our online activity. We see that there are many positive synergies between a strong online presence and a physical presence. That’s why we mainly focus on opening e-commerce sites in markets where we are already physically represented, as this creates much more trust in the brand and therefore conversion.

We plan to roll out e-commerce sites in all countries during the first half of 2023.

What does your commercial website represent in France?

Rasmus Skjott. The French market is one of our biggest markets and we generally have a loyal customer base. It is not uncommon for the French site to have the highest number of visitors, which shows the brand’s strong connection with our French customers. However, we also found that many Internet users use our site “only” for inspiration. There is, therefore, a strong commercial potential: converting more interested French customers.

Do you see any specificity in online shopping?

Rasmus Skjott. We observe that there is a stagnation in consumption trends. We still get a lot of visitors to our website and our products generate a lot of interest, but consumers are more hesitant to buy. We lack conversion. This is a phenomenon that we see in all markets, not just in France but across Europe.

You launched your app last June. Can you tell us more?

Rasmus Skjott. We launched our app on August 31st. The application aims to be inspiring, our customers can explore a large number of different contents. We try to create a loyalty app that is not based on monetary benefits, but on a close relationship with our customers, through rich and diverse content. We will continually implement new features that will create an even stronger customer experience. For example, we are working on several functions that will bridge our physical stores. We have already recorded 150,000 downloads. To date, France is the market where the app has been most downloaded.

How do you explain your success in France in a very competitive market?

Rasmus Skjott. It is difficult to say 100%, but we are convinced that there is a good correspondence between the values ​​of our brand (aesthetics, “hygge”, beauty, constant evolution, joy and discoveries), which corresponds very well to the French market. We believe that the design of our products, the sensory experience of the stores and our important work of storytelling and inspiration are very well suited to the French.

What is the number of your references and the average price of your products?

Rasmus Skjott. Our assortment changes every week. That’s why there is so much difference in the composition of our assortment depending on when the customer visits our website. On average, we have around 5 to 6,000 product references on our website, but we are continually working to expand our online assortment. The average price of a product depends a lot on the season, but in the last period it was around 5 euros. Most of our products cost between 1.50 and 4 euros.

Which segments do you want to develop?

Rasmus Skjott. We want to work even harder on our loyal customer base. Our omnichannel customers have significantly longer lifetime value. Therefore, it is essential to ensure that we provide them with a strong brand experience across all channels.

What are your CSR commitments?

Mikkel Grene. Our mindset is focused on the circular economy. It should be the foundation of our design and acquisition phase. We must strive to ensure that products and materials can be sustainable, minimizing waste. For example, in 2022, we will eliminate almost all single-use plastic products from the Sostrene Grene assortment. This means that you may not be able to find the products you are used to. However, there will be exceptions where good alternatives such as duct tape do not yet exist. On the other hand, we want to offer alternative products such as satin ribbon and jute string that can be reused over and over again, unlike disposable plastic ribbons that end up in the trash. In addition, at Sostrene Grene we work actively to ensure that products do not contain substances that are harmful to the environment and health. We critically evaluate chemical substances and materials in our products and set strict requirements for chemicals we don’t want in our products.

How would you describe the customer experience in your stores?

Mikkel Grene. Whether you visit us in our stores or online, we want to create a space where the pace of everyday life slows down a little. Our stores are designed to inspire body and soul with classical music, creative displays, hygge aisles and surprises to discover around every corner.

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