Tech For Retail: Customer data at the heart of transformation in retail

Tech For Retail, a brand-new event in France for technological innovation in the retail business, took place from November 30th to December 1, 2021. This first French edition dedicated to technological and digital innovations for retail and online sales, welcomed Anne-Brisce Grasset, Rexel’s Digital & Data Factory Director, who detailed the Group’s approach to data, one of the key axes of the company’s digital transformation.

During the roundtable “Customer data at the heart of transformation in retail”, Anne-Brisce Grasset presented the digital tools and solutions deployed by the Group to accelerate its digital transformation, and exchanged with Marion Gardais (Capgemini), Etienne Sanquer-Foing (Les Mousquetaires Group), Grégoire Fremiot (Mediarithmics), and Stéphane Sun (Frog Data & Analytics, part of Capgemini Invent).

Present in 25 countries, Rexel has deployed an omnichannel approach, which is a major asset for maintaining proximity with its professional clients across the globe, and continually optimizes its level of service, while strengthening the resilience and innovation capacities of its value chain. With 9 distribution channels, both physical and remote, the Group intends to meet the needs and specificities of every one of its customers.

Towards a data-driven company

To accelerate its innovation capacities, ensure its competitiveness within the sector, and maintain its high level of performance, Rexel is leading a digital transformation project, in which employees are key players.

Since 2018, Rexel, driving its business model towards a data-driven services company, has dedicated 2/3 of its investments to Information Systems and digitalization. Its objective: Optimize the efficiency of its operations and increase the added value of its services, by developing new tools adapted to the specificities of the BtoB environment. The Group has therefore implemented a dedicated, data-driven organization that has gradually been made available to all the countries in which it is present.

Over the past two years, more than 45 data projects have been launched within the Group. For example, to better manage customer relationships, Rexel has developed a predictive analytic AI model to reduce customer attrition [or churn]: it identifies at-risk customers to allow adapted, even personalized, commercial reaction. This solution has, to date, been deployed in 8 countries including France, and allows salespeople to benefit from an anticipated estimate of changes in the life cycle of their customers.

Data also helps to offer better support to customers, especially in terms of services. For example, the Next Best Offer (NBO) tool recommends the best product, for the right customer, at the right time, and on the right channel (physical, phone, or e-mail). The solution, currently being deployed in France, demonstrates the increasingly inseparable nature of customer data and product data, even more so in the context of continually increasing demands from end-users regarding ESG issues.

Digital & Data Factory: Entities dedicated to technological emulation

The launch of the Digital Factory in 2018 was a crucial step in the Group’s digital transformation process. In close collaboration with subsidiaries, the Digital Factory teams provide them with common tools (webshops, apps and digital tools in branches, etc.) to facilitate the adaptation of user interfaces and functionalities to their markets and local specificities.

To strengthen its data expertise, Rexel launched its Data Factory in 2020. Founded on a logic of industrialization of data collection, processing, and analysis, it relies on a Data Platform, a true internal information bank.

Through the Data Platform, countries provide transactional data (site visit reports, sales, purchases, etc.) and referential data (customer, products, and supplier data). The Data Factory collects this data, harmonizes it, and verifies its quality. The data is then used by Data Science teams to develop their algorithms. They also make it possible to deploy various reporting solutions for Rexel teams at country-level as well as for customers or suppliers via digital portals.

This work allows all teams to offer technological solutions adapted to local challenges.

It is by sharing a global data culture within the company to guide employees throughout the transformation that we will keep performing,” concluded Anne-Brisce Grasset at the end of the roundtable.

To watch the replay of the roundtable