The retail brand is growing in Brazil by investing in technological transformation, with VTEX solutions driving business on all fronts.
Founded by Aristóteles Santanna in Feira de Santana, Bahia, Brazil, in 1968, Le Biscuit began as a notions store. The family business grew, the company expanded its operation throughout the country and became one of the leading retail chains in Brazil, with 150 stores and over 2,400 employees. One of the main characteristics in its trajectory was to be a pioneer in the Brazilian retail market, betting on the model known as General Merchandise (variety retail), when few brands knew how to operate in this market.
In the last decade, the brand, a VTEX customer since 2019, has been facing new challenges alongside its investors, such as expanding operations through its own stores and franchises and presenting itself as a business attuned to the trends and innovations demanded by the market. By investing in the modernization and expansion of digital platforms and in an omnichannel experience, Le Biscuit is consistently growing their digital presence through multiplatform sales and customer service while integrating different online sales channels: app, portal, and social media.
Le Biscuit's goal of becoming part of the home of Brazilian families all over the country has been successfully achieved by offering customers a customized service and a digital, interactive, and engaging experience across all channels.
"We are consistently investing in new technologies, omnichannel and operations digitalization, because we want to offer our customers a differentiated shopping experience, providing excellent service and a connected environment."
David Lee, CEO at Le biscuit.
The plan is aligned with current market demands. Research on omnichannel conducted in 2021 by All iN and Social Miner, in partnership with Opinion Box, shows that 60% of Brazilians already have a hybrid behavior when it comes to consumption. This is because they use different channels (digital and physical) to search for products, see their details and make their purchasing decisions.
Recent results validate Le Biscuit's optimism. In August 2021, the brand set a new 12-month cumulative revenue record and recorded an astonishing growth to the tune of 619% compared to 2020.
This growth was leveraged by the technology team's engagement, which supported the digital transformation project, and the sales associates, who kept the brand's spirit alive every day in customer service.
"Le biscuit is a brand that constantly surprises because they effectively offer innovations and different solutions to overcome the barriers of online and offline sales. With the increasing adoption of inStore, the growth of ecommerce and telesales, and the in/out marketplace, we see solid and sustainable growth into the future."
Eduardo Donato, Success Account Director at VTEX
inStore and the omnichannel culture
A new feature that has been showing good results within Le biscuit since its release in June 2021 is the inStore app, available for smartphones and tablets. This is VTEX's flagship solution for unified commerce operations that allows you to integrate physical and digital sales channels, putting the customer at the center of the business.
One of the inStore features that most impact the business is the endless aisle, which Le Biscuit presents as "Le+" to its customers. It works as follows: in the store, in addition to buying the products in person, customers can access the entire stock available on the ecommerce website (including marketplace items) and even from other stores.
"Since 2020, we have been accelerating the modernization of our stores and promoting the integration of physical and digital environments through unprecedented solutions, such as inStore, in-store pickup, and self-service. With this, we are managing to evolve our business on several fronts."
Cláucio Detoni, Operations Director at Le Biscuit.
This performance model collaborates positively for one of the biggest retail pains: stock-outs. This situation occurs when the customer wants to buy a product but does not complete the purchase because the size, color, or model is unavailable. With inStore, the store's revenue becomes more sustainable since it can offer countless alternatives to satisfy customers' needs, reducing sales losses as much as possible.
"Here at the Tietê Plaza Shopping store, in São Paulo, we have been using inStore for five months. Two sales associates use the solution with the support of a leader, and it has shown us, daily, the value of our effort in trying our best to meet the customer's needs. For example, if the customer needs 20 yellow plates, and we only have 10 in our inventory, the team can complement the purchase via inStore. It gives them more autonomy and empowerment."
Charles Franca da Silva, Store Manager at Le Biscuit.
Sales associates are empowered and close to customers
One of the main features of inStore is precisely to empower the sales associate and allow them to complete the purchase anywhere in the store, just by adding the customer's delivery address (or choosing another store as a pickup point, the so-called "Click and Collect"). Finally, they have to carry out the payment option chosen by the customer directly at the card machine.
They can also sell using inStore through Social Selling, a feature that allows remote interaction with the customer. For example, the sales associate can send a cart ready for purchase, filled with products that have synergy with the customer's consumption habit and history. Besides, they can send a payment link for a product the customer has already seen in the store and, for some reason, has not bought in person.
Social Selling also aims to maintain closer contact through social networks, making it easier to gather information about the consumer, disseminate brand news, generate leads, and interact in a more comfortable and customized way.
The brand also made QR Codes available in different sections of brick-and-mortar stores. Thus, customers can scan, access, and navigate the ecommerce using their smartphones, which creates a more private and autonomous experience.
All this mobility and connectivity breaks down the boundaries of store walls, enabling new sales increments in every service. In addition, the team has the opportunity to take the lead in the cultural transformation expected by the brand, while contributing even more to the business numbers.
Efficiency and management gains
Besides sharing the same inventory, customer data, and ecommerce engines, inStore's easy navigation is another plus point. Now, Le Biscuit store managers and sales associates can:
Have access to other stores' inventory and DCs to increase sales.
Find products quickly and easily with Intelligent Search.
Close the sale anywhere in the store.
Access the customer's history to offer customized service.
View all orders from any channel in real time.
"With all this, Le Biscuit's sales management is being largely optimized, with no blind spots, since all orders are processed by VTEX's OMS (Order Management System). Therefore, the retailer's team can analyze how many orders were placed via inStore in each store and by each sales associate, the transactions' value, the number of products sold through this channel, among others."
Leonardo Santos, Head of Growth at VTEX Physical Stores.
inStore relevance at Le Biscuit
Le Biscuit is expanding throughout the country and currently has 150 stores, of which 140 are company-owned and 10 are franchises, operating in 14 states in the North, Northeast, Center-West, and Southeast regions of Brazil. However, their digital solutions serve the whole country.
As for inStore, the tool has been expanding its operations every month. In August, the total number of orders placed through the solution represented 30% of their ecommerce sales, and more than 10% of the customer service was via inStore.
Digital education and people
Le biscuit believes that the customer experience is not only about buying products, but also a process of digital education and relationship building.
"The entire digital transformation project at Le biscuit is primarily based on people. We are improving our sales team's profile and training because they must be familiar with our omnichannel model. We want to offer a special and competent service to meet all customer needs."
- Murilo Candido, Omnichannel Manager at Le Biscuit.
The technological expansion of brick-and-mortar stores
The project also intends to expand brick-and-mortar stores' role by using key stores to showcase high-volume products (such as stoves and refrigerators). In other words, these stores can showcase items currently sold only online without having them in the store's inventory. They can buy the product via inStore, increasing the revenue of both physical and online stores. In this context, logistics is increasingly gaining the brand's attention.
"The integration of technology with logistics is constantly evolving, and VTEX has been supporting us on this front as well. We are obsessed with a streamlined customer journey, and to offer that, one of the next steps is to make more stores available in the "ship from store" delivery option, which may reduce our lead time by more than 60% by the end of 2021. VTEX's collaborative work in the project is certainly a factor that contributed to the project's success, especially by promoting constant and direct feedback between the operation, technology, and product teams."
Mario Sales, IT Manager at Le Biscuit.
Le Biscuit's secret in diversifying its business
For Le Biscuit, investing in out-of-the-box tech solutions was for scalable and fast growth. Using VTEX IO gave the brand a competitive edge in ecommerce, as using VTEX's simplified development platform granted increased flexibility and agility when creating new interfaces and integrating systems. With this tool, Le biscuit has complete autonomy to create and perform A/B tests, as well as integrate the brand's on-premise systems in a secure and scalable way. These features were decisive to the unification of channels and offers, the foundation of omnichannel.
Another fundamental component focused on by Le biscuit was financial management. For this, the brand relies on VTEX Payment, which integrates features of four financial services: acquiring, banking, ecommerce platform, and reconciliation.
Focusing on marketplaces
By operating with VTEX's native marketplace, Le biscuit has considerably expanded its brand reach and generated new revenue streams. That's because the ready-made headless technology VTEX offers allows VTEX sellers to integrate into the platform and with external retailers easily.
For example, in the brand's marketplace, inStore brings a pioneering solution to retail, which is to present 3P (third-party) products to customers in brick-and-mortar stores.
So the online marketplace available in physical stores makes it possible to offer more SKUs to consumers, which can lead to a growth in the average ticket and the average amount of products purchased per transaction. Mondial, Prime, Multilaser, and Mercado Fácil are some examples of sellers already operating in Le Biscuit's ecommerce.
Regarding external marketplaces, Le Biscuit has expanded its partnerships with major ecommerce brands, such as B2W, Magazine Luiza, and Via Varejo.
"In all these business fronts, VTEX has been a great partner with ready-made and scalable solutions, making sure our company will undergo an evolution based on data security and accelerated growth. In September 2021, we opened our 150th store, and in this journey, it is fundamental to count on partners that are aligned with Le biscuit's expansion objectives."
Murilo Candido, Omnichannel Manager at Le Biscuit.
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