LDLC, the e-commerce Gold Family
This site, set up by two brothers and their sister, became a reference in the sale of computer equipment online. It all began in Lyon, in the family apartment .
“Shhh, listen,” Remi whispered Helmtsetter. Perched on a stairway filled to observe a ray maze of high-tech equipment, we reach the ear for long seconds. Perplexed. The warehouse manager of LDLC.com, large brown to jovial, insists: “You hear? Nothing, not a sound! “And yet we did it ensures the site of Saint-Quentin-Fallavier (Isère) in full swing. “The air of nothing, today we will ship 3500 package.” In fact, it’s an automated system that performs most of the work by routing cartons through a warehouse of 16,000 square meters. Miracle of technology .
The success of LDLC.com is comparable to its logistics center: a deafening silence. In a few years, Lyon has quietly established itself as “the” expert in computer products on the Internet. Its virtual hypermarket has already attracted 1.6 million customers (60% private, 40% of professionals), including 600,000 who provide it regularly. And are willing to pay a little more to be sure to find the gadget of their dreams.
“Today, a computer component on ten sold in France come from us,” says Laurent de la Clergerie (box bears his initials, LDLC), founder and CEO, in his modest office in Ecully, in Lyon suburbs. This grand shy of 41 years runs the business with his sister, Caroline, Executive Director, and his brother, Olivier, CEO. With 169 million euros in revenue in 2010-2011, up from 14% a year ago, this family business is starting to worry his opponents, as RueDuCommerce (€ 353 million), the founder ensures power up to three years.
Valued at 40 million euros on the stock market, LDLC.com saw its increase over 127% in three years. Its history began in 1996 when the Web was still in its infancy. Laurent de la Clergerie, 26, all fresh out of engineering school, then niche chooses as his lifelong passion: computing.
The trio has not yielded to the siren song of the investment fund
In the family apartment in Saint-Didier-au-Mont-d’Or, he set up a sales site, one of the first of its kind. Convinces his father, an executive at Renault to invest 8,000 euros (50,000 francs at the time). It even fits in a scavenger hunt organized by “Paris Match”, is 400 kilometers away and landed 70,000 francs paid to the initial Business School Admission. The material is piled in the garage. “The first clients, I received the pajamas,” he recalls.
Two years later, joined by his brother and sister, he opened a shop in the university district of Lyon for five years, it showcases, warehouse and headquarters. While the internet boom continues, the investment funds are knocking on their door. The trio keeps a cool head, preferring to place 30% of the Business School Admission stock. “When the bubble burst in 2000, our independence is our strength, because we had to be accountable to anyone,” he recalls.
With its 20,000 references, the next treasure trove of LDLC, he has not changed. We can both unearth a battery or a new screen for an ancient computer, the most powerful hard disk or tablet last cry .. “It offers 500 different memory modules, against fifty in others trumpeted the Lawrence Clergerie. People come to us because they know that one has absolutely everything that exists in the market. “A Ecully, a team of ten buyers, one of which is in charge of China, spend the day on the phone with Suppliers. The founder, who love snooping on geeks forums (he has his own, HardWare.fr, the pioneer of the genre, which has 850,000 subscribers), puts his hand to the dough.
But LDLC not content to let its customers in this large virtual bazaar. Although minimalist (unchanged since 2001), its website offers a series of tips to guide the buyer: a module allows to check in three clicks if accessories are compatible with his computer. “Even the experts sometimes need guidance,” says Yann Benoît, in charge of Lyon Shop (LDLC into account another in Paris), where customers can test the equipment and order a custom computer. The service, charged 60 euros, is also available on the website. Since 90% of sales are made online, especially LDLC heals on time delivery. To ensure that customers receive their products within 24 to 48 hours, the site prefer to store a maximum of references. The warehouse is managed by a software designed by ultraperfectionne house experts.
“Logistics is too important to be outsourced,” says the officer. Loïc Bouffard, a used computer expert customer LDLC, confirms: “The state of the stock listed on the website still reflects the reality, there was never any bad surprises.” The highlight of LDLC also shows the limits of its model, which requires to store thousands of references to low spin and charge prices a bit higher than elsewhere. Once a year, besides destocks LDLC in part, in a large market.
Call center, customer service, nothing is outsourced
Last cog in the machine: after-sales service. The company employs about thirty technicians, divided between a call center and a repair service. All experts, recruited after a battery of ultrapointues issues. Example: “A radiator provided to cool on a processor 1156 can it be reused on a socket 1155? Why? “In case of failure, LDLC promises to return the unit one week later against more than three in most competitors. If the repair drags on, it sends a new product: Once repaired, the damaged device used to help another customer. A smart system, which avoids accumulating complaints.
Now the main goal of the family is to increase profitability, still modest (1.8 million euro net profit last year). It has diversified in 2008 in equipment for home with Maginea.com (€ 2 million turnover). “The goal is to build on the existing logistics to distribute products with higher margins than hardware,” said Laurent de la Clergerie. As for the family Business School Admission, “it is not about to touch it,” insists the young CEO. This great online poker player ranked in the top ten in the Poker Stars tournament may well be a follower of the bluff was well want to believe .