During their quest for a tool to accelerate the internal decision-making processes – and above all make them more objective – Proximus ended up in Ghent. With 212 Proximus points of sale, assessing the impact on the existing network was a vital strategic requirement. And a question to which RetailSonar could provide the answer.
Nancy Dierick, Channel sales analyst bij Proximus: “Where should we open a new Proximus shop? Where should we close one? In the past, we made many of these decisions based on gut feeling, which sometimes gave rise to very long-winded discussions. Thanks to RetailSonar, I can calculate an endless number of impact scenarios and present my best results on one slide to the decision-making committee”.
Proximus has a customer of RetailSonar since 2014, although it took some convincing. “We had compared three market players, but we always felt as if they wanted to sell us standard software with a standard approach and wanted to make money off it. So we thought, let’s develop the software ourselves”.
And then they met RetailSonar. “We made the appointment reluctantly, with the idea that there’s no harm in trying. Soon we realised that this was an interesting solution. Because they start from our strategic questions. You also immediately felt that this was a very strong team of people, who are knowledgeable, who are really passionate about what they do. They are very solutions-oriented, very driven and very enthusiastic. I also tell everyone who is interested that what I mainly appreciate about RetailSonar after three years, is that they continue to innovate. That they really listen to the customers’ needs.”
“We can make decisions much faster and this also freed up some margin for strategic decisions.”
Proximus has a large network: 110 own shops and – along with 30 partners – another 102 exclusive partnership shops. Nancy makes up to 100 simulations a day sometimes, using the RetailSonar platform, which help her make choices about where to open a new location. “In the past, I would have spent an entire day analysing the viability of a location, but now I know after 5 minutes whether it’s worth analysing a location in more detail or not. This saves me a lot of time.” It also allows her to adopt a more strategic approach. “We also use the tool to assess whether we should open one of our own store or choose a partnership instead. We can also better assess which store concept will work best there and we use the platform to benchmark all our locations and see whose performance is as expected and whose is substandard.”
She also makes a more conscious choice now for a specific location. “In the past, we believed that if we could open a store in a neighbourhood with other stores, people would drop in. Now we use the traffic data in the RetailSonar platform to see where there is natural footfall, where people naturally converge. And we can also take into account the effective travel times instead of just taking a 2-km radius around the store into consideration. Here you can really see the difference between gut feeling and making decisions based on specific data.”
The tool has in any event facilitated the decision-making process. “In a sense, the tool has confirmed what we already knew – we are experts after all – but it offers us additional insights, more objective data and a different angle, compared with our internal data. For example, we love the fact that we can make an accurate estimate of the sales, can calculate potential cannibalisation or how many sales the other locations recover when we close a location. All our internal decision-makers really trust the platform, because it generates objective, substantiated results. Our decision meetings have become significantly shorter (laughs), there is less of an endless palaver, and we arrive at a consensus much faster.”