MaxiToys: omnichannel with marketing automation !Translated from French - French version by Philippe Vandooren
MaxiToys has shifted its omnichannel strategy into a higher gear. The Belgian toy chain is focusing on customer centricity and marketing automation to become more efficient, providing information to customers that is adapted to their individual preferences. To achieve this, MaxiToys has decided to use tools that were developed by ACTITO and which it is currently implementing. The story of an exciting adventure…
Two years ago, MaxiToys took the first steps in its transformation from a successful retailer into a full-fledged omnichannel player. "We had an online shop but we did not make good use of it. Our approach led us to develop a roadmap with a dual objective: to increase our digital presence as well as our notoriety. We soon realized however that we did not know our customers sufficiently, which is why we decided to implement a customer-centric strategy for a successful transformation.” Gwénaël Berthouloux, the omnichannel director at MaxiToys, relives the company’s first steps in digital.
“We had to ask ourselves two questions. How could we get to know our customers better and how could we engage in a dialogue with them, to offer them a unique brand experience. Ultimately we decided to apply the principle of marketing automation, without therefore abandoning our tried and tested mass communication methods”, Berthouloux explains. MaxiToys’s greatest strength is its well-known print communication. The chain published a catalogue twice a year, at the end of the year and in spring, which is very popular. MaxiToys also published a monthly folder, highlighting promotions and a dozen or so brands with which MaxiToys has an exclusive distribution agreement.
In the digital omnichannel environment, this strength is also a weakness however. The data you need to distribute a printed folder are basic. The target group is determined based on their zip code, which MaxiToys requests from its customers in its shops. “The online shop is different in that we can tap into all kinds of data. We were not prepared for this new situation. The data we collected in our points of sale was rather rudimentary. So we needed a tool that would help us rise to this challenge. We also wanted our mass communication to be more targeted, allowing us to improve our ROI”, Berthouloux says.
“The tool had to be simple and reliable, reassuring and understandable for our personnel. It also had to cope with a rich and complicated data stream. In addition to addresses and amounts, it also had to register purchasing behavior in the shops, through our digital channel and through social media. It also had to be a plug and play tool. We had to be able to control the data streams without having to deal with an avalanche of unnecessary data. At the same time, we also didn’t want to lose too much turnover during the transitional period. And we wanted to implement it quickly”, he concludes.
Collecting customer data
Ultimately, the company chose Belgian company ACTITO’s marketing automation platform ‘ACTITO for Retail’. “We built a two-stage rocket together. We started by developing a CRM strategy. We collect data about our customers through our online shop and through our employees in our points of sale, which we then combine. We convinced shoppers to leave us their details by organizing pre-sale events that are only available to customers who are registered in our database.”
“The rocket’s second stage consists of personalized offers to our VIP customers. A good 15 to 20% of these customers are already omnichannel customers. They generate the highest turnover, on average 20% more than customers who only buy toys in our online shop or physical points of sale. Obviously we find these customers more interesting than customers who only visit our shops once or twice a year during the sales. We are currently importing this data into the ACTITO tool. We also organize workshops with customers to get to know them better”, he stipulates.
MaxiToys did not rest on its laurels, implementing the ACTITO for Retail in record time. Berthouloux explained that the company launched a tender at the end of 2016 after making the strategic choice and defining the role of omnichannel. The ACTITO tool was implemented just six months later. “ACTITO for Retail is a vertical product. When the company has the basic structure to use the tool, then it can be implemented very efficiently and seamlessly. The data model, the scripts and the dashboards were formatted beforehand”, says Eric Godefroid, CEO of ACTITO Belgium.
One of the system’s great advantages is that the entire journey and scripts are formatted beforehand. In MaxiToys’s case, this means that four scripts were included from the outset: the welcome script, birthdays, a second purchase and shopping cart abandonment in e-commerce, where customers are encouraged to complete their purchase. In each of these scripts, the MaxiToys customer is automatically sent a personalized message, based on the customer’s purchasing behavior, at the right time.
A process of continuous improvement
Another advantage of ‘ACTITO for Retail’ are the predesigned dashboards. Godefroid: “MaxiToys can use these to check whether the campaigns achieve their goal and to examine the quality of the turnover they generated. This allows them to initiate a process of continuous improvement and decide to change the frequency of the communication for example.”
“Automating your marketing has plenty of advantages when implementing an omnichannel strategy like at MaxiToys. You can follow the customer online and offline, consolidate the individual data about their purchasing behavior and use it launch an efficient dialogue with your customer. Thanks to this dialogue, MaxiToys can encourage people to make purchases and improve the relationship with the brand”, he adds.
MaxiToys is installing a new tool and evaluating whether it fulfils the needs of the company… and its customers. “In the next phase, we will examine whether the data we collected in the ACTITO platform can be used for other purposes, to improve the supply chain for example. This is a major challenge for omnichannel as the logistics have to keep up. We need solid and fast logistics, that are also profitable”, Berthouloux explains.
“Currently MaxiToys is going through a transition. Print continues to be our main communication channel. The impact of our catalogue on our turnover is substantial. At the same time, we are developing an increasingly personalized communication using e-mail, text messaging and social media”, says Berthouloux, explaining that ACTITO is always on hand to assist. “We organize monthly workshops with them, evaluating the results but which are also used to make our customer database more ‘powerful’”, he concludes.
The Gondola articles are available in Dutch and in French !