Fontainebleau: How a simple geek robot can boost local commerce

Julien Landais, manager of SmartOne, and Cédric Pradel, founder of the Fontainebleau-based start-up, devised an initiative to help Bellifontain merchants work on their social media image ©JVC/RSM77

What is the link between [email protected]a robot – which has become a collector’s item or even an art design item – and the stores in Fontainebleau (Seine et Marne)? The answer to this question can be found at Intelligentthe start-up dedicated in particular to connected objects and fashion technology“, founded in 2014 by Cedric Pradel.

The teddy bear, which collectors are snatching, is for sale in the store, but this initiative is not linked to its sale, but to its image. “Basically, it is a simple decorative object whose limited editions are offered by Chinese company Medicom Toys who produces it, explains. Turned down with artist or film licenses, it has, over the years, become a collector’s item in its own right. »

Social networks, a weapon for traders in Fontainebleau

At the SmartOne store, now managed by Julien Landais, many trainees come to sharpen their weapons to discover the world of commerce. The founder wanted to create an initiative to bring them to the heart of the matter.

“I’m very attached to training, insists Cédric Pradel. It is very important to impart knowledge and skills. A year ago, he started selling collectible bears and then an idea germinated. “The goal was for the interns to go to the Fontainebleau stores with [email protected] and that they ask the merchants to take a picture with him and then post the picture on social networks”, he recalls.

Cédric Pradel sees two advantages in this: putting young people in training – and sometimes shy ones – in the field to train them, but also to make shopkeepers aware of the interest of digital and communication at the local level. “With the difficult economic situation, the war in Ukraine, the price of electricity, the shortage of gasoline or the strikes, these last few weeks have been very difficult for all traders: city centers are emptying. Nobody can do without the image on the Internet, he guarantees. Social networks like Facebook and Instagram are essential tools. ”

What do traders think?

On the side of the Trade Union of Traders, Craftsmen and Industries of Fontainebleau (Ucaif), we welcome the initiative. “I think the idea is very original because social networks are one of the only free means of communication available to us”, underlines Gabrielle Strange, the president who is also the manager of the restaurants Il Primo Baccio and Montebello’s Steackhouse. It’s a different approach and it works! ” Same remark to Brice Sireix, the manager of Viand’Art and Bar’Back: “I’m a little old school, but I really try to start for a year,” he says. It’s a way to reach another audience. The restaurant was also able to see for itself: YouTuber Baptiste Marchais recorded a video about his establishment, titled “I test the best restaurants in France #Fontainebleau”, the video posted in September has over 200,000 views.

At SmartOne, for example, he claims to reach 20% of his annual revenue thanks to digital alone. In particular thanks to Amazon or directly on the company’s website. If Cédric Pradel is also the founder of Proxicommercesthe sales platform created during the lockdown to give local merchants the opportunity to continue selling their products, he doesn’t want to mix genres.

“I just want to raise awareness of digital,” he insists. I don’t know how some companies manage to survive without visibility on the Internet. Platforms like Amazon are tools you need to know how to use, you shouldn’t see them just as competition, but as an additional weapon. »

Videos: currently on Actu

Proof of support: the Smart One store, in the center of Fontainebleau, offers a real bond with the customer, develops their image on social networks and recovers the fruit through direct and internet sales.

And soon TikTok

“By taking pictures and posting them on social media, the idea was to cross-communicate,” adds Julien Landais, store manager. The Internet and social networks are ways to expand the coverage area to go beyond Fontainebleau. »

In a few weeks, about thirty merchants received a visit from [email protected] and were able to share the photo on their Instagram or Facebook accounts. The initiative also caught the attention of the mayor of Fontainebleau, Julien Gondard, who participated in the game with Carole Guernalec, councilor responsible for promoting commerce and the Fontainebleau brand.

As for traders, we welcome the initiative (see box). For the manager of Smart One, the advice is simple: “Having Instagram and Facebook is the minimum for a business. So you have to bring your community to life and talk about your differences: starting a business, even with beautiful products, is no longer enough. You have to publicize new products, promotions and highlight your brand values. »

Proof of this, the Smart One will soon be released on TikTok. The company will continue to raise awareness in the coming weeks and will continue to meet with merchants in Fontainebleau.

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