CUSTOMER: Mondial Tissus
CHALLENGE: Respond to operational challenges by using data to improve customer experience, gather market intelligence, and optimize inventory management
OUTCOME: Improved customer experience and commercial performance, greater ability to monitor sales and inventory in real time across 100 stores.
Mondial Tissus is a market leader and the largest network of fabric and sewing supply stores in France. Portraying itself as a 39-year-old start-up, it operates a network of 100 stores serving eight million customers each year. Its sales floors are conceived as inspirational spaces filled with a large assortment of sewing and knitting products.
It’s notions, yarn, and equipment business has for the past few years experienced a rapid evolution, largely the result of an emerging trend to do it yourself, whether “it” involves simply fixing clothes and home decor or making them from scratch. The store’s digital business became an important sales channel, while new types of customers – younger and less expert – began to frequent its points of sale.
As part of a knowledge-based overhaul of its customer experience model, Mondial Tissus selected InterSystems IRIS® data platform to store all the data in its information systems.
Reinventing Customer Experience by Digitizing Points of Sale
To continue attracting and to retain its new type of customer by improving its in-store sales experience, Mondial Tissus had to digitize its 100 points of sale, where inventory and sales information was still recorded on paper.
Salespeople typically noted length of fabric cuts, stock reference, and price on sales slips, which customers took with them to the checkouts, where the information was reentered. To manage the inventory, they recorded the lengths and stock references of the fabric in paper notebooks.
Digitization would streamline this process and eliminate the risk of error, as information would no longer need to be reentered at the checkouts.
So Mondial Tissus equipped its salespeople with 700 smartphones and 100 Android tablets. There was an added benefit. The data entered from the company’s application into InterSystems IRIS via gave the company a more in-depth knowledge of its customers.
A major reason the company opted to use this data platform was that it embeds its own HTTPS server to run web services and host web applications, REST and SOAP, for example; it can handle structured and unstructured data; and it is compatible with many languages, including SQL, Java, node.js, .NET, C ++, and Python.
“InterSystems IRIS is incredibly powerful,” says Blanc. “Much more than a database, it includes all the intelligence of our application.”
Mondial Tissus, which had already used the InterSystems data platform for several internally developed applications, is capitalizing on its technological investment to program new techniques and functions.
Data is essential for the company, so its entire stock replenishment system is automated based on stock and cash-out data. It needed a digitized process with minimum input to ensure the accuracy of its inventory and therefore its profitability.
Supply Chain Optimization: A Strategic Focus
With its 50,000 products, including at least 10,000 to 15,000 directly available in its physical stores, the company deployed the application in each of its 100 stores, providing its headquarters with a complete, consolidated view of its data. Should there be a stock shortage at the point of sale, a store can order fabric in the online store, which carries all its products.
The digital notebooks include a service that calculates inventory availability in real time, thereby limiting stock shortages. In addition, Mondial Tissus can use the system to query inventory supply in stores and online, so it can rapidly respond to shortages and better manage restocking.
The new architecture gives Mondial Tissus a flexible and agile infrastructure, making it as much a management solution as an evolution enabling supply-chain-optimization. According to Blanc, InterSystems IRIS is a data platform that is particularly efficient as a real-time stock management solution.
Each order is managed by a request that calculates inventory status in real-time, so an in-store customer and an online customer can buy the same fabric at exactly the same time. In this way, since the implementation of digital notebooks and real-time monitoring of inventory, the company has experienced fewer conflicts between in-store and online sales. “This is also important in terms of our brand image,” says Blanc, “because we avoid appearing deceptive by offering a product that is no longer available.”
A Forward-Looking Digital Transformation
For Mondial Tissus, the collaboration with InterSystems had a role in defining three main objectives: modernization of its brand image, improvement of the customer experience, and perfect management of its stock. Because these three objectives are so closely linked, Mondial Tissus realized it had to capitalize on a data management platform combining power, easy deployment, real-time management, autonomy, and cost effectiveness.
In fact, InterSystems IRIS operates independently, with little need for support.
“Our reduced workforce and the lack of in-store IT support have also guided this choice of architecture, because with it, we can do everything remotely, including deploying and updating our web services,” says Blanc.
“InterSystems IRIS does not require any administration, and when there are only four people in the IT department to manage 98 remote databases, this really matters,” he adds. “We do not have IT specialists in our stores, or even a database analyst at our headquarters. With InterSystems IRIS, it is not necessary.”
Thanks to this digital transformation, the brand image of Mondial Tissus is more modern, and employees are delighted to have new tools to improve customer service. Thanks to the digital notebook, they have all the information they need for the smooth running of the sales process and can focus 100% of their time on their core expertise.
Mondial Tissus passed a new milestone in its development and is prepared to prosper in a world that is nearly entirely digital.