I have written a considerable amount about e-commerce and its meteoric rise and significance for the future operations of retail shopping in many different countries. However, most of my writing has concentrated on the US and European markets, and for this piece, I will look to the French e-commerce market, one that has received attention from me just recently with a blog post on French shoe retailer Spartoo.
Although, e-commerce has been widely popular in developed markets, some retailers have been slow to make the transition to an online platform. Often this is a case of managing resources and being able to concentrate on this transition at the right time for the company given its own unique time-frame and goals. Usually, when retailers do end up making the transition, it is clear that they did so when they were ready and could do it effectively instead of entering the online market without all the necessary pieces in place risking their reputation in the process.
The French retail giant Galeries Lafayette Group, which runs brands BHV, Monoprix, Louis Pion Royal Quartz, and Galeries Lafayette has traditionally steered clear of an online platform, according to an Internet Retailer interview with the head of e-commerce for the company. In 2008, they launched an online shopping platform for Galeries Lafayette and since then have seen a push from their customers towards the platform. As they started to recognize the true potential and put more of a focus on it, web sales started to pick up and they are now investing more resources into their online operations. They want to ensure that they are doing all they can to strategically improve the platform and its capabilities and grow online sales. Online sales for the company were $71.2 mill last year, and their goal is to have the online sales represent 15% of that from their physical stores over the next five years.
E-retailers can enlist the services of online marketing experts, SEO companies, and consultants to advise them on the best design for new platforms in order for them to take advantage of optimal functionality for their customers as well as SEO for search engine marketing. Being able to address both aspects is important for retailers that are expanding into new markets, not necessarily for companies like the Galeries Lafayette Group who have brand recognition and are staying in their respective country.