World leader in small domestic equipment

Fabrice Henry, Managing Partner of Artefact, and Guillaume Planet, VP Media & Digital Marketing of Groupe SEB, discuss the profound impact e-commerce growth is having on the retail sector everywhere, and why the two companies joined forces to build an e-commerce strategy designed to help SEB adapt to this new environment.

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Challenge: Finding ways to help SEB adapt and grow in the evolving e-commerce world

Despite its position as world leader in small electrical appliances, and a consistently healthy turnover, SEB, like other retail giants, was feeling the effects of the global change in consumer purchasing behaviour. According to Business Wire, the French e-commerce market was valued at USD 114.4 billion in 2019 (up from 57 billion in 2014); it is expected to reach USD 203.57 billion by 2025.

This meteoric and constant growth was a considerable challenge for the SEB group: nearly 80% of their sales growth depended on e-commerce. By teaming up with Artefact, their goal was to optimise these results.

“Our three biggest customers in the world today are Amazon, Alibaba, and JD.com. We knew we needed to make some fundamental changes to better understand and meet the needs of these clients, so we called upon Artefact, because we knew they had not only the intelligence and consulting expertise we sought, but the ability to accompany us on operational aspects”
clarified Guillaume Planet – VP Media & Digital Marketing, Groupe Seb

SEB had three major questions they wanted to address:

  • Which platforms should be used, and how much should be invested in each?

  • How could their investments most wisely be spent on each platform?

  • How could organisations and collaborative processes between teams evolve to adapt to this new world?

Solution: Testing each product range on different platforms to evaluate advertising performance

Artefact created a set of identical campaigns for each of the main categories of SEB products: vacuum cleaners, robotic cookers, steam irons… then ran these campaigns on each platform to see how they performed. By targeting shopper data on these platforms, performance increments were easily observed.

Obviously, not all sites have the same strengths: for example, sponsoring steam irons worked very well on Darty and Cdiscount, less well on Amazon.

As to the question of how to spend well on each platform, the solution is: understand how to use your digital shelf (“digital shelf” = all the various digital touchpoints used by shoppers to engage with brands and to discover, research, and purchase products).

On an e-commerce site, the digital shelf is the search bar: that’s where 90% of the buying process starts.

To be well positioned in the digital shelf, referencing is a requirement. There are many  referencing tools: SEO, SEA, content optimisation, choosing flagship products on which to focus promotional and advertising efforts to ensure visibility…

One last rule is to be equipped with the right instruments. It’s easy to measure, but it’s important to have the right tools to be able to control and optimise.

Results: New personalised customer relationships and targeted advertising are showing retail sales growth

Before there could be results, there were a few organisational dimensions to see to.

“We had to address training, education and evangelisation at all levels of the company…not to mention recruitment! Obviously, we needed new talents – data analysts, digital content specialists – to make our project a reality”
said Guillaume Planet – VP Media & Digital Marketing, Groupe Seb

In the last year, SEB has made great advances in fulfilling their organisational needs and recruiting new talents.

Previously impeded by traditional distributors and the media, the company has now become more adept at creating direct and personalised relationships with consumers thanks to their proprietary apps, websites, and tips and recipes that accompany their culinary products, for example.

And through these exchanges, SEB can now capture vital personal customer data to feed their entire value chain.

“We need to strike a delicate balance between productive collaboration with Amazon, Alibaba, and JD.com, while still building direct relationships with our consumers; this is extremely important and strategic for our future”
concludes Guillaume Planet – VP Media & Digital Marketing, Groupe Seb

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