How real estate Carmila (Carrefour Group) helps merchants in its centers to digitize

Carmila celebrates its fifth anniversary in 2019. Created in 2014 to promote the shopping centers adjacent to Carrefour hypermarkets, it publishes its annual results on Thursday, February 14th. For real estate, which is the leader in 87% of its sites, the digital strategy is, as for all traditional retailers, more than an issue. With an additional constraint: without selling products, in physics or online, how to use digital tools to stimulate growth?

"Our goal is to bring visitors not to the centers, but to the shops, that is to say, where the purchase occursQuentin Jonas, in charge of the marketing, innovation and digital strategy, explains why the real estate company relies on its local presence – 128 shopping centers in France – and its links with retailers, including many franchisees and independents. , "a guarantee in terms of stability and investment"Principle: support them in the use of digital levers to improve shop traffic by positioning themselves alongside traders.

A local digital strategy B-to-B-to-C

The third largest listed shopping center in continental Europe capitalizes on a number of levers, including marketing, to help the 6,280 retailers in its centers to improve their traffic and turnover. These solutions "come in addition to the marketing tools of the banners, who sometimes do not have the necessary data to develop their campaigns"They take the form of a digital service hub (called The Kiosk) and allow, for example, help merchants launch their email marketing campaigns.Email is collected via various devices, such as digital terminals. inviting to gaming operations, or via wifi via a simple form Today, the customer database includes 1.95 million qualified contacts (+ 77% in one year), which allow professionals to target the right customers and prospects.

The Kiosque also offers stores to follow the Boost program, a 12-month personalized support. "The stores concerned show + 11.2 percentage points of outperformance sales growth on the CNCC panel of their activity categoryCarmila advances.

Projects in open innovation mode

In addition to these mechanisms, created internally, Carmila works with start-up companies specializing in drive-to-store issues, such as Armis (digital advertising), Fidzup and Vectaury, both specialized in data. geolocation. She also works with Notify, a message management platform (mails, sms …) that relies on artificial intelligence. If it does not have an incubation program of its own, the real estate company has forged partnerships with local programs such as IoT Valley in Toulouse or LAB'O in Orléans. "We are continually looking for industrializable actions, especially around local micro-influence and payment"Quentin Jonas says, the goal is to provide tenant brands with local databases as catalysts for growth in their turnover.

The property company is also working with Facebook and Google to measure the influence of digital campaigns on in-store traffic. This considerable data allows him to better understand visitor behavior and flow, up to conversion. "We do not have cash data but the shops provide the evolution of their turnover, which allows us to know if these tools have an influence on the act of purchase".

Center directors are closely involved with these devices. More able to know the customers of their catchment area, they manage the communication of the center on social networks by relaying special operations and store events. "Each center is specific, we can not duplicate a centralized modelQuentin Jonas continues. We realized an Instagram post on the local level was more engaging than a post from a national entity".

Take advantage of the flow of Carrefour drives

The challenge of innovation at the service of the store is all the more essential for Carmila that it operates as part of a profound transformation initiated by Alexandre Bompard, head of the Carrefour group since 2017, a leading shareholder of the real estate company, which itself relies mainly on the distributor's sites. Partnership with Google, acceleration on e-commerce or connected stores, the first French distributor did not skimp on innovation. And Jacques Ehrmann, who has been managing the real estate business since its creation, is also, among others, Executive Director Innovation of the Carrefour Group.

For Quentin Jonas, the two partners also learn from each other, with the heart of this geographical proximity, data, grail for all actors. "We found that 30 to 40% of Carrefour drive customers were traveling during the withdrawal of their order in the adjacent center.Quentin Jonas continues. The Drive customer wants to optimize his time, and the drive frees up time for the pleasure purchase. We push information to the users of the drive that allow them to prepare their visit, such as the possibility of booking from the website of the mall an appointment with the hairdresser or beautician, to consult the catalogs of the signs, their promotions or to reserve products"This is more value for the brands in the online shopping journey, Carmila brings its expertise on drive to store and local devices."We have a digital DNA since our creationQuentin Jonas adds. We are a small structure … therefore faster and more agile than a large group".

This year, the development and adaptation of these tools will be the subject of an investment of 5 to 7 million euros. "We will also continue to focus on deploying a culture of innovation locally and supporting the digital transformation of sales outlets.", concludes the commercial real estate.

Aude Chardenon