Leroy Merlin creates omni-channel advantage with ROPO strategy

shutterstock_85315798Leroy Merlin, a worldwide leader in the home improvement market, has revealed the secrets behind its successful omni-channel strategy, with help from European on-site search, navigation and e-merchandising specialist FACT-Finder.

Maintaining global leadership in DIY commerce

Leroy Merlin is a worldwide leader in the home improvement market with a global footprint in France, Spain, Italy, Poland, Brazil, Russia, Portugal, Greece, Cyprus, China, Ukraine and Romania.

The company opened its first Italian store in 1996. Today, it operates 49 stores across the country offering a wide range of DIY items spanning construction, decoration, bathrooms, furniture and gardening.

Product discovery starts online

The ROPO (research online, purchase offline) strategy is significant for DIY retailers like Leroy Merlin. The store’s customers usually plan and think about what to buy at home, before going to the physical shop to make the purchase.

“In our business model there is no cannibalisation between e-commerce and the physical store. Indeed, e-commerce is a valuable alternative way for us to answer customers’ needs and this is why the online channel is so important,” says Giambattista Cerri, head of e-commerce solution and technology at Leroy Merlin, Italy. “Therefore it is crucial for us to be able to show the full extent of our catalogue to our customers.”

Delivering the right data to the right customers at the right time

With an online catalogue of more than 80,000 products grouped across 1,000 categories, Leroy Merlin knew that in order to step up from a simple presentation website to a full e-commerce store, it needed to not only display its products in the right way, but it also had to find a solution that would help visitors easily search for products and then display the items in a way that would reflect customer needs.

In order to cope with its challenge, Leroy Merlin turned to search and navigation specialist FACT-Finder in 2012.

“Compared to a custom solution developed by our team on an open source product, FACT-Finder definitely had a lot more features ready for use or which and required minimum effort to configure and integrate,” says Cerri. “This was a key consideration for us when looking at other products on the market.”

“The FACT-Finder team has implemented its search, navigation and merchandising features in more than 1,500 online-shops and is therefore quite experienced in the process,” he adds.

Focus on omni-channel experience

Taking a smart approach to providing long-term value for the business, Leroy Merlin has since started to develop its e-commerce offering further.

Omni-channel is core to Leroy Merlin’s strategy over the next five years, says Cerri: “Many e-commerce pure players are planning to open physical stores to try and implement an omni-channel strategy but we start with an advantage: we already have a chain of physical stores. And on top of that, a very professional online sales channel.”

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