Put your assortment online and launch a 100% internal e-commerce platform in fifteen days? House made it up. The interior design chain was forced to react very quickly when its stores had to suddenly close due to the pandemic when they ran out of Christmas items. But the House continues to reap the rewards today.
In just a few weeks, what was a long-term strategic project turned into a very concrete and practical reality. When the pandemic hit, Casa jumped on the e-commerce bandwagon, and not just a little bit. “Our 20.20 strategic plan already provided for the implementation of an omnichannel strategy. In the early 2020s, the idea was to mainly offer furniture online and entrust deliveries to an external service provider,” explains Walter Goossens, Supply Chain Director.
E-commerce then came to be seen as a convenience for the consumer: the delivery of furniture at home was still a relatively new service at Casa in the early 2020s, partly because physical stores did not always have the necessary space for the growing variety of furniture and partly to offer a solution for city dwellers who didn’t come by car. For smaller items, Casa offered a “click&collect” service: the store’s inventory was displayed on the website so that customers could reserve the items online and pick them up a few hours later.
From a pallet to four Christmas balls
“The idea of omnichannel, therefore, was already present”, continues Walter Goossens, but the company was not ready to set up its own e-commerce platform. But not for long: with the arrival of the second wave of Covid, at the end of 2020, stores came to complete preparations for the important period of the end of the year. While they stocked up on Christmas decorations and party supplies, they had to close their doors again. “We found all these end-of-year items in our hands and decided to put them online. In fifteen days, we had switched to e-commerce. 🇧🇷
This had a considerable impact on the chain and, in particular, on its European distribution center in Olen. While we were primarily doing bulk and store packaging, we suddenly had to start preparing individual orders. From one pallet to four Christmas baubles in two weeks… Fortunately, we quickly invested in an integrated warehouse management system to centered and in a custom packager. We entered the year-end period without a pilot project or any tests. 🇧🇷
The improvised solution became a true success story and since then Casa has decided to take over the e-commerce activities itself in all the countries where the brand is present. Walter Goossens: Today it is clear that the Internet continues to be the engine of our growth, always in combination with click&collect. In Switzerland alone, home delivery is not yet possible due to export regulations, but this will be resolved in 2023.”
Customers prefer the store
Online sales have more than doubled since the pandemic, despite the slowdown currently affecting the entire industry. “We may have to revise our ambitions downwards, but there is no backing down. E-commerce continues to be a growing activity. The value of each order has increased enormously, customers consolidate items as much as possible to reduce the cost of door-to-door delivery. We’ve also found that our customers are clearly more comfortable with in-store pickup – which, by the way, is not limited to store inventory. Today, the customer has a choice: he can receive at home, receive at the store from the central warehouse or reserve the stock available in the store. 🇧🇷
“Our customers like to go to stores. But we also see that we can also reach other online customers: young people, but also B2B customers, a segment in which we are constantly expanding”, continues Walter Goossens. It proves to him that the 20.20 recovery plan is a success: from an outdated and loss-making formula, Casa has turned into a trendy and inspiring chain, which sells more than accessories and gifts and also attracts young consumers.
“We pay a lot of attention to following the trends. We also launched a new marketing department that integrates digital skills and eCommerce experts. The omnichannel strategy is making a visible contribution and we are now ready to continue our growth. 🇧🇷
Walter Goossens will speak more about Casa’s omnichannel change during the Trends in e-commerce pre-program of RetailDetail Night, which will be sold out on November 25th. He will share the poster there with privately INNO🇧🇷 newpharma🇧🇷 eFarmz🇧🇷