By Paul Rasmussen

Improving the retail customer experience is vital

With consumer buying behaviour returning to normal, the chance to significantly improve the physical retail experience over online purchasing is a key opportunity, according to Francois Charcosset, Commercial Operations Director at Orange.

“An excellent customer experience is a basic pre-requisite regardless of what your physical retail strategy is, whether that’s to sell or to provide a service,” he said.

“Orange will need to be a blend of both, with different store formats and locations serving different purposes. For example, large experiential flagships in big cities that enable you to showcase the brand, as well as regular stores in malls, to address large traffic, alongside smaller stores, pop-ups or mobile vans that can offer an assorted range of products and services.”

Of note, Charcosset claims that retail customers now expect to be recognised and rewarded for their value and their history with Orange. “Our brand is amplified when we can demonstrate to customers that we know them, that they don’t need to repeat themselves, and when we can provide them with a personalised experience based on their needs.”

Commenting on how a multinational company such as Orange manages this new retail strategy, the exec acknowledged that it remains challenging to try and deliver a homogenous customer experience. This has seen Orange revamp more than 50 per cent of its retail stores since 2015 to include a “harmonious look and feel across all geographies and they are all designed with different shopping ‘zones’ and universal themes”.

“Across the Orange footprint, we have also communicated a shared commitment to CSR with initiatives like the RE concept - recycle, refurbish, repair, reprise = buy-back – this was initiated in France but is now being replicated across Europe with the same branding,” Charcosset concluded.