These small signs that taunt big
Bruno Felix Chazournes Bread and drink Ulrich Lebeuf and Stephane Remael for Management
Living in the shadow of giants of their industry, trade small channels have managed to get a place in the sun. Detailed review their strategies.
To my right, Decathlon 292 stores, more than 60,000 employees and 8.2 billion euros turnover worldwide (including 5 billion in France). A mastodon which accounts for half the French sports market. To my left, the Old Camper, 48 shops (including thirty in the 5th arrondissement of Paris), 450 employees and 140 million euros of turnover. The fight seems uneven. Yet the small Parisian sign (+ 2.66% growth and 1.2 million profit in 2014) resisted for forty years steamroller supermarkets.
His secret? A well thought out positioning, according to Michel Desbordes, sports marketing professor at Inseec “skiing, mountaineering, diving . The brand focuses on popular outdoor activities of a wealthy urban clientele on each. it adopts a high-end positioning, offering a wide selection of prestigious brands and quality service. an elitist strategy that works perfectly. ” The Old Camper is far from an isolated case. In an environment dominated by large signs, a few diehards still resist and always to the standardization of the offer. SMEs or mid-sized companies that have their own strategy to hold their own in the game.
CarGo, a family business operating since 1988 on the car rental market. With 400 branches and 4,300 vehicles, this SME Chambery (Savoie) is not big enough to overshadow the Hertz, Avis and Europcar, which control three-quarters of the market. Therefore, rather than compete head-on with these great competitors, it is working to develop a complementary offer.
“We do not operate in stations or airports, but we are everywhere. We complement their mesh, said Dominique de Saint Leger, one of four brothers who run the company if we have some large accounts, we work mainly with artisans and SMEs, because it is easier to develop with them a lasting relationship of trust We play a lot on proximity. if a customer needs a car down from his home at 7 am morning, we deliver him! ” The concept works CarGo and its 85 employees achieved a turnover of 28 million euros and posting profits.
Upgrade to a higher range
Specialized in the distribution of photo and video products, the company Camara hunt on the lands of Fnac, Darty and Boulanger. The 130 stores in its network to play the card of specialization. “Employees who are content to put a box on a counter, reading a barcode and to cash, there are many. However, vendors able to open the box, to explain the operation of the appliance and give advice, it is rare. it’s what we do. in some stores, we even offer free training to our customers, “said Francis Dupas, President of TAS group that unites the stores.
Since the advent of digital photography (and loss of income related to the development of film and the draw pictures), the network has made a move upmarket. It now targets enthusiasts, experts and pros. And it works: the company (425 employees, 100 million euros of turnover) will grant 25% of market share in the medium and high end devices, those that generate the highest margins and are no competition from smartphones.
More confidential, the company prosperous O’CD a niche neglected by major distributors of cultural products: the opportunity and catalogs funds. “Cultura Fnac and sell 20% of movies and discs that make 80% of the sector’s revenues, summarizes its founder, Felix Drink Chazournes. We, we sell the 80% that generate the remaining 20%. Our business model is not to sell a thousand times a movie, but a thousand movies once. “
Sixteen shops in the center of major cities (including Paris, Lyon and Geneva), from 12,000 to 16,000 references in each of them, sharp and passionate sellers: the concept O’CD works since 1994. The articles are set radius a rate of around 12 or 13 euros. Those who are not sold at the end of three months saw their prices fall gradually to finish at 1 or 2 euros at the door of the store.
“It’s like the stock market, says Felix Drink Chazournes. The dimension of a movie or a CD depends on its rarity or cultural events. The release of a new James Bond, for example, causes a renewed interest in the old episodes. ” The activity of this SME of 70 employees as it suffers from legal and illegal downloads, beating down the sales of CDs and DVDs. But back in vogue vinyl allowed it to stabilize its sales to 6.5 million.
Imitating the great
In some markets, it may be wise to learn from the strategy of tenors. Jean-Louis Petruzzi, boss Menway, has decided to emulate the giants of the acting (Manpower, Adecco, Randstad) expanding its activity in the recruitment and career management. Several acquisitions have made his company a HR group present on these three businesses.
“Without comparing ourselves to great, we try to apply strategic thinking to a local and regional level, he said. Integrating all these skills allows us to understand all the needs of our customers, beyond only temporary. It is a position that few companies of our size to adopt. ” Founded in 2002, the company based in Metz employs 300 people and has a turnover of 150 million euros. It has fifty branches in France.
Attacking the leader
Finally, when you are an outsider, it may be tempting to go tickle the dominant player. This is what seeks to Funecap in the market for funeral services. Since its creation in 2010 by Ophiliam Management, a private fund management, the group achieved a fifty acquisitions. That of the Roc-Eclerc franchise in July 2015 has grown to become number two in the sector.
With 250 million euros in turnover, the company is still far from the leader OGF (540 million), which includes general Undertakers, the incumbent. But the fragmentation of this market weighing 2 billion leaves her excellent growth prospects. “We are developing an offer in person and another franchise, with the ambition to match the leader explains Philippe Gentil, one of the partners. We want to become a group of brands targeting different market segments, like Accor in the inn. ” It is possible to get a place alongside a dominant player. Waiting to become oneself a big fish.
Number of stores: 31
Turnover 13.5 million euros
Leaders: Monceau Fleurs, The Garden flowers
Praised Bruno Pain plans to open 15 shops franchise this year. Ulrich Lebeuf for Management
Pain Bruno, founder and CEO
“We offer our franchisees to 100% return more than our competitors”
“After six years to improve and finalize our concept of flower shops we decided to launch our duty. To convince entrepreneurs to join us, we ask them twice less royalties than our competitors. Where Monceau Fleurs (130 stores) and the Garden of flowers (70 stores) require approximately 6% of revenue, we take 3%, capped at 12,000 euros per year. Certainly, this is less money for the head, but franchisees can thus double their profitability and live better. We have also a lot of applications for membership. so far we do not hold fast as 1%. this year, we will double this figure with the planned opening of five new shops. “
Findis (Proxi appliances Comfort DOMIAL, Extra .)
Number of stores: 1,200 (six stores)
Revenues: 300 million euros
Leaders: Conforama, Darty, Boulanger
At the heart of cities, Frederic Jumentier with one of its franchisees Extra, near Nantes. Franck Tomps for Management
Frederic Jumentier, president of the group
“Our most? The customer proximity”
“We operate in cities with less than 20,000 inhabitants, where the impact of major retailers is less strong and direct contact with the merchant, a strong argument. Our customers value convenience stores for the reception, counseling and after-sales service. however, they fear to find fewer choices and pay more than large chains. the group’s mission is to overcome this disadvantage. to offer a wide choice, we store in warehouse 35.000 references available at D + 1. the concept works well: the stores that use our communication tools (e-commerce sites pros and personalized newsletters .) recorded a higher growth of 3% to the overall industry average. “
Neoness (fitness rooms)
Number of rooms: 17
Leaders: Blue Orange, Moving, Nextalia
Celine Wisselink (left) and Marie-Anne Teissier shook the small world of fitness. Stephane Remael for Management
Marie-Anne Teissier and Celine Wisselink, cofounders
“We relied on the low-cost”
“With us, you only pay what you consume! Exclaimed Marie-Anne Teissier. The monthly subscription costs 10 euros. It includes access to the room and our cardio and weight machines . during peak hours of the day to access full hours, customers add 10 euros to attend group classes, another 5 euros 50 cents for a shower, etc.
Even by combining all the options, it is difficult to find cheaper elsewhere. In our clubs, there is no steam or sauna or pool, because this equipment very expensive, would take off the price of subscriptions, as they are only used by 5% of the members. We have to raise 25 million euros to open eight new rooms this year. “
O’CD (selling discs, DVDs and video games)
Number of stores: 16
Chiffresd’affaires: 6.5 million euros
Leaders: Fnac, Cultura
Felix Drink Chazournes surfs the comeback of vinyl. Stephane Remael for Management
Felix Drink Chazournes, founder and CEO
“In the big bestsellers and we everything else!”
“While Cultura Fnac or focus on blockbusters and new developments, we sell the rest: movies and discs that are no longer in fashion, catalogs funds, opportunities, etc. We enjoy the disengagement large signs on products deemed too inefficient to be kept in stock. in doing so, we experience cultural diversity. “
3 questions for Daniel Ray, professor of marketing
Daniel Ray is responsible for the Institute of customer Business School Admission in Grenoble Management School DR
Management: What is the best strategy to withstand a big sign?
Daniel Ray: There are two, mainly. The first is to target a niche in which the dominant player is not or seldom. The second, to differentiate him from building on a breakthrough innovation.
But that does not occur every day. We can then try to offer the consumer a better customer experience.
Management: What do you mean by that?
Daniel Ray: The customer experience is the set of emotions and feelings experienced by a client before, during and after a purchase. It is the addition of many parameters: advertising, in-store ambience, contact with the seller . A player with deep pockets can easily copy a product or marketing concept. However, it will be virtually impossible to reproduce the customer experience of a competitor.
Daniel Ray: Because building a relationship with customers takes time and a particular culture. Certainly, large groups train their employees to practice SBAM (smile / hello / goodbye / thank you). But their distribution channels are, the more these processes become difficult to implement. And, ultimately, the customer goes where he feels most welcome.