Gerstaecker is the European leading art supplies retailer and is established in nine countries at the beginning of 2019: Germany, France, the United Kingdom, Austria, Switzerland, Italy, the Netherlands, Belgium and Spain. Acting as a major mailorder company in France and the United Kingdom since 1999 and 2001 with an e-commerce website, a catalogue and several prints, Gerstaecker wanted to strengthen their online presence and embrace a digital transformation strategy. Alongside this strategy, the plan was to launch the business in Belgium and Spain.
Gerstaecker wanted to consolidate their status on these two historical markets and develop tools and a marketing team allowing them to grow internationally and especially in Belgium and Spain.
Gerstaecker rapidly capitalised on digital retail and started their digital transformation beginning of 2000's. Since 2009, a full in-house digital marketing team has been developed with the recruitment, coaching and training of a community manager, traffic manager, marketing assistant, country managers and eCRM manager.
From an e-commerce team, Gerstaecker has evolved towards a digital marketing team, open to all distribution channels of the business. The following actions has been taken to allow this transition:
launch of the online magazine l'Atelier Géant;
launch of the community management strategy, with over 50,000 followers at the end of 2016;
integration of physical stores in emailing campaigns;
launch of click and collect and click and reserve from 2012;
unification of products, images, customers databases between all distribution channels from 2012;
launch of the new e-commerce website, shared by several countries, in 2013;
launch of the eCRM management strategy with emailing campaigns automations and texts campaigns;
online visibility and e-reputation of physical stores (4,25/5 on Google Reviews at the end of 2016)...
A truly challenging and fascinating work with carefully tested and challenged actions and decisions, weekly and monthly dashboards, training and regular awareness campaigns with the sales and store teams... As always, it has been crucial to stay ROI oriented.
The digital transformation started in 2000 and particularly intensified between 2009 and 2016 definitely contributed to Gerstaecker current leading position on their historical markets. It also facilitated the launch of the activity in Belgium and Spain.
The early adoption of omni-channel strategies and the decision to start the transition of an e-commerce team to a digital marketing team, professionalised and empowered with transversal skills have been a key success factor to achieve the goals and to answer the challenges of the different distribution channels and of course of the customers.
It has been and still is a key success factor allowing Gerstaecker a steady growth on these four markets: France, the United Kingdom, Belgium and Spain as well as a competitive advantage.
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With mkngconsulting, I act as an Off- & Online Retail Consultant.
What do I mean by off- and online retail?
Over the past decade, we heard a lot about adopting a "multichannel" or an "omnichannel" strategy. More recently, we have been using the terms "new retail" or "phygital" or even "smart phygital". In the long run, it seems we are trying to label in a new way what is retail and what retail has become over the years: global and interconnected.
Offline on one hand, with every tangible elements, materials or human ressources: a catalogue, print materials - promotional or not -, employees, a retail store, a pop-up store, presence - mercantile or not - on a fair...).
Online on the other hand with all the elements of a digital strategy: with a website - ecommerce or not -, an online store on a marketplace, a blog, emailings campaigns, an affiliation programme, presence on search engines - paid or organic -...).
I truly believe there is a need to highlight those two aspects - off- and online - as part of a retail strategy, now and in the future.