Since the end of May, the La Prairie SME Signé Local has opened pop-up stores in 14 branches of the retailer La Baie. (Photo: Courtesy)
Since the end of May, Signé Local, which has committed itself to introducing Quebec products to the general public, has opened pop-up stores in 14 branches of the retailer La Baie. It is the latest initiative of the new management team to focus on made and design in the province.
Dawei Ding, Louis Lespérance and Charles Lespérance, all trained lawyers, plan to rely on an arsenal of well-oiled marketing tools to enable the La Prairie SME to accomplish its mission. “We saw the huge growth potential of the banner, which had grown tremendously since its inception. In two years, sales have increased by 40% to 50% annually, without any marketing effort,” underlines the president, Dawei Ding.
First project: customer experience
For example, in recent months Signé Local has renewed both the layout and the visual identity of its online store, as well as the space of its four sales points in Saint-Bruno. , Quebec, Montreal and Brossard for “the quality of the service offered”.
At the same time, the banner team set to work to eradicate certain irritants, for example by ensuring that all items in the store were also offered online – this was not always the case in the past – while maintaining existing strengths.
“We have 6,500 products in stock. Coordinating delivery, pick up at the store, is a huge headache, says Dawei Ding. We are working to standardize the process so that consumers have the same level of service as they do on Amazon, with fast customer service and an intuitive site.
The lawyer, who has mainly worked with start-ups, is not fooled: Some of the precedents Amazon Prime has set for online commerce cannot be achieved on their scale. Since Signé Local does not have a warehouse in the four corners of Quebec, it instead uses its current outlets, which have been redesigned accordingly, to pack and ship orders earlier.
Open the locks
Although the company made its debut on the Internet, it had put little effort into its social networks, the president estimates: “In the beginning, we only had 500 subscribers per platform. We had over a million impressions per month on Pinterest, but it wasn’t really capitalized,” he said.
The new leaders have therefore surrounded themselves with three experts in graphic design, community management and content creation to generate enthusiasm around the Signé Local ecosystem, which has been in existence since 2015.
Step by step, their broadcast schedule and production pipeline are being adapted to provide “quality content” that will attract clicks to the platform, while promoting partnerships with other Quebec brands such as Lufa Farms, a strategy that has paid off so far, confirms Dawei Ding .
This inevitably rhymes with ‘substantial sum’, agrees Dawei Ding. You don’t have a choice, and that’s okay, because it generates revenue.”
Indeed, sales for the first week of 2022 have reached the level recorded for the entire month at the same time last year. In May, they are up 40% in one year. If the economic situation might have something to do with it, the man who took over Signé Local is not minimizing the effect of the many changes made to spark consumer interest.
A human touch
The company has also invested in training store advisors and adding floor workers to meet demand. “It’s not like a gas station where you fill up, pay and then leave. Behind every article there is a story, it takes a person to tell it. Our employees lose 5 to 10 minutes per customer.”
Although their different management can present him with some additional pitfalls, Dawei Ding is convinced that these two points of contact are essential for the business model of the SME. “Our customers love the experience of discovering in-store, touching and smelling the product, even developing gift baskets for our corporate sales. We send 10,000 a year.”
It is this very special feeling that a visit to a store gives, which allowed them to seduce La Baie, he believes.
In addition to showcasing their products and gift baskets, these pop-up stores will also allow them to reach markets where the signboard has not yet gained a physical foothold.
“Especially newsletters, social networks, targeted advertisements and posters are the best ways to inform the public that our articles are now for sale there,” says the lawyer.
If this test goes well in Quebec, Signé Local could end up in the rest of the country, not ruling out the possibility of settling elsewhere in Canada.