Retail software vendor, Cegid, has announced that the French upmarket tea brand, Kusmi Tea, tripled online sales on its e-commerce site during lockdown and used the period to accelerate plans for introducing more omnichannel and digital services across Europe.
Kusmi Tea has detailed the impacts of the coronavirus pandemic after over a hundred of its stores in France and Europe temporarily closed during lockdown. The luxury tea house, which dates back to 1867, said it had been able to survive the storm largely thanks to putting in place e-commerce technology and omnichannel services which helped it continue to operate during a very challenging period. Clients could purchase teas online while stores remained closed and can now choose from a variety of shopping options.
Bruno Contrepoids, IT Director at Kusmi Tea, said that the retailer was able to use the lockdown period to accelerate its digital and omnichannel plans in a bid to strengthen customer service:
“Both our staff and our customers have always forged good relations. By offering a broader range of shopping options, such as Click-and-Collect, things are getting better for everyone.”
Kusmi Tea tripled e-commerce sales during the lockdown period after launching a new e-commerce platform in 2020. It turned out to be perfect timing, given that customers were able to continue to order online from its wide range of specially selected teas.
“Traffic and growth have tripled,” said the CIO. “We are fortunate to be firmly anchored in France, which made logistics a lot easier. Our platform ran at full speed and we were able to deliver to our customers in good time.
“We were concerned that some customers would be reluctant to return to physical stores and we saw this new service as bridging the gap between customers and stores and allowing us to recreate a link between them.
“There are many ways to maintain contact between stores and customers in omnichannel retailing. E-commerce and the physical store no longer live in separate worlds. Online retail, for us, is an add-on benefit for retail that helps drive traffic to the store. We sell products that need to be seen, tasted and experienced. On a digital platform, it’s impossible to get all the sensations that can be experienced in a store - so each complements the other perfectly,” added Contrepoids.
Kusmi Tea relies on the Cegid Retail unifed commerce solution - connected to its e-commerce platform - for real-time information on stocks and sales and to get a detailed picture of its customers. Knowing how, where and what customers consume is vital, he said:
“It’s essential to have the right tools that communicate with each other and all this has to be done in real time. It’s no good having a Click-and-Collect service if the stock isn’t accurate and updates aren’t real time - you’ll only end up disappointing your customers.”
Kusmi Tea is next turning its attention to rethinking the role and organisation of its stores and how digital technologies might transform the checkout, including introducing mobile devices to help staff serve customers more quickly and efficiently.
“Much like brewing the perfect cup of tea, Kusmi Tea is finding added refreshment from being able to offer a wider range of customer services. We’re delighted to support Kusmi Tea in providing new digital services that customers increasingly like the taste of,” concluded Nathalie Echinard, director of the retail business unit at Cegid.