Supeco launched, on November 23, its first e-commerce website. Carrefour’s discount brand is now offering a wide offer of non-food products through a click & collect service.
But first, let me give you a bit of context. As you may have read in one of our articles about Carrefour’s resilience and acceleration during the Covid-19 pandemic, 2020 was a special and unexpected year. In France, we had a first lockdown where we all had to adapt quickly. For the second lockdown, even if we were better prepared, the French government’s decision to ban the selling of all non-essential products had a direct impact on our business as well as on our customers.
This is why we set up a dedicated and skilled task force that would deliver a click & collect service for Supeco, in record time. It only took us two weeks! It was an incredible experience for all team members: we all worked hard to make sure our customers would be able to order non-essential products through Supeco’s new website.
Let me walk you through how we managed this challenge that only took us a few days!
The situation that led to a new e-commerce site
Lockdown #2 and the ban on the sale of non-essential products
In France, as in many other European countries, we had to face a second lockdown, that started at the end of October. Hence, Carrefour had to adapt, once more, to the situation. A few days later, on November 4, the Government announced a ban on the sale of all non-essential products for retailers. From one day to the next, stores couldn’t sell any flowers, toys, clothes, home appliances, cultural goods (books, CDs…) etc.
This was a hard blow for retailers as most of these non-food categories are being sold at the end of the year, for Christmas. For example, 41% of toy sales are made at the end of the year. Thus, retailers fought hard to find a way to reduce losses related to the ban.
Supeco already had the project of having its own e-commerce site
Supeco (contraction of “supermarket” and “eco”) is established in several European countries and its concept is hybrid. Mixing traditional supermarkets and “cash & carry”, Supeco offers products at reduced prices for both individuals and professionals in a warehouse environment, the size of a supermarket. With a total of 6 stores, the brand envisions to have +50 stores by the end of 2021.
Non-food products represent around 5-6% of Supeco’s revenue. On top of regular non-food categories, the brand also has a category of products called “yapu yapu” (we could translate it by “No more, no more”), a stock of products at low prices and in limited stock, a kind of bargain of the moment.
For Supeco, the lockdown and ban of the sale on non-essential goods was not seen as a constraint but rather as a lever to accelerate. In fact, for their 2021 roadmap, they identified a much needed acceleration towards e-commerce in order to offer an omnichannel customer experience. That is why they seized the opportunity Carrefour Group offered!
Now, let us tell you a bit more on how a mixed team of Supeco and Carrefour Group people embarked in a 2-weeks journey and start a click & collect service from scratch!
From the project’s birth to delivery
Birth of Supeco’s e-commerce
Supeco identified the need to develop new services to their customers. To be pragmatic, they asked Carrefour Group’s Omnichannel & UX Direction to help them in the design of these new services.
This led to a user research, with customer round tables to find out which concepts we were going to implement in priority. The goal of this approach is to be customer centric and develop services that will answer our customers’ needs. If we could give you a piece of advice: challenge your concept with your customer’s reality and expectations. By doing that, the concept you propose will be seen as a solution and therefore useful.
In our case, in order to have a global view on which priorities we needed to address first, we presented the concepts to both Supeco’s customers and store employees. After setting the priorities, we needed to grasp the nettle.
We have to be agile
When the second lockdown was announced, we seized the opportunity to accelerate the development of some of the concepts previously identified. The first concept that we were going to develop is Supeco’s retail e-commerce website.
After discussing it with Supeco, we decided to set up a cross team between Supeco employees and Group experts. We had the kick off on November 9th – we were all looking forward to meeting this new challenge.
In order to be efficient and agile, we made 2 choices:
- We’ll play in tight formation, with a 12 people team: 3 Supeco employees, 2 developers, 1 Product Owner, 1 UX, 1 Analytics, 1 Infrastructure expert and 3 good souls who helped where they were needed 😉 and just a Kanban board to share the information.
- We will organize two short meetings per day: one checkin in the morning and one checkout at the end of the day. This enabled us to quickly identify any issue or area where team members needed help.
New activity: new challenges!
The biggest challenge was to transform Supeco’s business. Although stores were enthusiastic about the idea of being able to sell on the Internet, the impact on their organization was significant. Indeed, stores needed to manage order preparation, stock management taking into account e-commerce sales, management and control of a back office, etc.
Since we wanted stores to be able to manage everything locally, we needed to onboard each store individually despite the rush of adaptation. We had many discussions and we were able to make modifications in record time!
At the head office level, the changes were also significant. Supeco office employees needed training in digital merchandising as well as learning how to enrich product sheets. They also had to rethink how to integrate products into the assortment as well as answering customers’ questions.
One of the biggest challenges we faced was avoiding Carrefour’s traditional “big machine process”, while doing things fast. We wanted to integrate as many functionalities as possible into the existing ecosystem and build a sustainable solution for the future 51 Supeco stores.
Nevertheless, with our task force’s organization, our motivation and all the necessary Carrefour stakeholders (legal, cybersecurity etc.), we “achieved the impossible”: everything was done in a 15-days.
The results: we are LIVE!
We were so proud to launch a retail e-commerce website for Supeco with a click & collect service on November 23.
The assortment of Supeco’s e-commerce site
The assortment was key for the launch. Supeco’s assortment is divided in two big categories: the permanent sub-categories and the ephemeral and super-discounted products labeled as the Yapu Yapu (meaning “no more no more” in English). Both of these types of assortments need to be managed on the business side.
The project team decided to limit the offer to non-food products for the launch. This already meant approximately dealing with 450 items across five different categories, as well as about a hundred products in the “Yapu Yapu” category.
Some CX for happy customers
Of course, launching an e-commerce website also means you have to propose the best and most efficient CX possible, and it is especially challenging when you only have two weeks to do so!
Our aim was to give our clients the seamless and the simplest experience possible. Yapu Yapu products are differentiated to enable customers to benefit from our best deals, and all products are classified in 5 different categories : Yapu Yapu, Home, Beauty, High-tech leisure and toys, fashion and baby and finally garden and DIY.
It was important for us that our customers, when arriving on supeco.fr, were able to see, at least partially, the products without scrolling. That way, they can identify Supeco’s website as an e-commerce website with interesting prices.
Before going through the customer journey on the website, the last UX choice we made is to ask our customers, directly on the home page and even before they can see the products, to choose a store. The list of available products is updated to the chosen store.
The global idea was to anchor the site immediately in e-commerce with a strong focus on non-food items and promotion while putting forward the brand’s DNA.
How does a customer make a click & collect order?
As mentioned above, the design of the website itself was thought to be as simple as possible for the customer. Thus, there is no need to create an account and the choice of the store will update the assortment.
Once the products are added in the cart, customers fill in their contact details and choose the click & collect slot of their choice (amongst 1-hour slots), pay and go directly to the store they chose to pick up their order. It is as simple as that! This simple e-commerce customer experience also enabled us to give birth to this project in a record time.
Supeco’s e-commerce website meets the same criteria as physical stores by combining low prices and product quality. This new digital offer makes it possible to guarantee the accessibility of all the products at the best price! Building an e-commerce platform, from scratch, is challenging. You definitely have to gather the right people around you to make it possible.
What is our next step? Open the new e-commerce platform to Supeco Romania & Spain!
Check our other articles about e-commerce projects.