On 26 April 2021, the Casino brands were in the process of launching their food marketplace. Directly integrated into the Casino.fr site, it now holds more than 25,000 products and should exceed 500,000 by the end of 2022, becoming the leading food e-commerce site in France! Why a food marketplace? To bring added convenience to the lives of current and future customers by giving them greater choice online and access to quality products and a diverse local offering. Cédric Osternaud, Executive Director of E-Commerce, Innovation and Cross Functional Projects for Casino France, presents the keys to a marketplace project's success.

 

Why expand your e-commerce business to a marketplace?

Cédric Osternaud: To give our customers what they want! We realized that they were looking for increasing choice in their online grocery shopping. Buying habits have changed: Drive users have switched from bulk grocery shopping to variety shopping that meets all their expectations. So, the offering now needs to be as broad as possible, even near-unlimited, in order to meet all needs.

The moment was also particularly opportune. The health crisis prompted us to increase our non-food product range and customers quickly came onboard. The logical next step was to expand our assortment as much as possible in other complementary product categories. Only a marketplace could enable us to meet these increasingly broad and varied needs.

 

So, marketplaces are about to revolutionize the market?

All e-commerce players are eager to enhance their ranges with partner products. However, a marketplace's success does not just depend on the possibility of adding thousands of products, but rather the ability to target products that reflect the retailer's basic DNA. The retailer should therefore choose partners that complement their offering and that have a perfect grasp of their customers' expectations of service and quality.

 

How was your marketplace received?

The customers who ordering are very satisfied with this new service! We are currently in the process of ramping up the number of products. We are gradually expanding our assortment and now, since the beginning of July, are able to offer more than 25,000 partner products: delicatessen products, ethnic products, complementary consumer products, childcare products, personal care products. From October 2021, we will continue to develop our offering by promoting access to local products for all consumers, regardless of their location.

We basically want to offer the best e-commerce service possible to help make our customers' lives easier. Without ever compromising on quality!

 

What major changes are required in order to switch to a marketplace model?

There are many. The main change concerns IT. The integration of a marketplace has a fairly major impact on the operation of a traditional e-commerce site and must be interconnected with the existing back office tools. But the technical integration and the connections with the various API systems can quickly become complex.

The second impact is more related to the customer experience. It is essential to ensure that the journey on offer is simple, seamless and understandable. Indeed, the marketplace is clearly a paradigm shift not only for the retailer, but also the consumer. It is not always easy to ensure they understand that some of the products are prepared by Casino, while others are delivered to their homes directly by our partners.

Last but not least, it is important to create a dedicated team to coordinate the marketplace and look for new sellers to keep expanding the assortment.

 

What is the impact on your e-commerce strategy?

The marketplace is part of a major strategic move. Our initial goal was to give our customers access to a near-unlimited offering, while also developing products that we did not have.

Now our marketplace project is part of a wider plan incorporating other major levers. These include developing certain services (Drive, home delivery, collection points), improving customer satisfaction with unique guarantees, and offering the lowest possible prices identically across France.

 

Why did you choose Octopia to create your marketplace?

Octopia is the product of the considerable, long-standing and diverse marketplace experience of Cdiscount, a non-food e-commerce leader in France. It provided us with the opportunity to launch our marketplace with all the best practices right from the outset, and to enjoy the benefit of a leading solution, helping us to avoid mistakes in areas like user experience, operational aspects or the customer journey.

The quality and technical skill of their teams was also a key factor that allowed us to quickly create a marketplace that fits seamlessly into our IT environment.

 

What about the catalog?

Another of Octopia's strengths is its community of sellers. Octopia has a unique base of 14,000 sellers who, if they wish, can be activated on Casino.fr in just a few clicks.

 

How do the Octopia teams support you?

All the IT development was done jointly between the Octopia and Casino brand teams. We started by developing our terms of reference together, setting out the principles concerning operation, user experience and the customer journey.

Next we analyzed our IT environment to understand how and which programs we had to develop, and carried out cross-testing to verify that the marketplace would integrate correctly into our environment. Then, as the last step in the process, we worked to onboard our target sellers.

 

“The Octopia teams supported us right from the start: from the expression of need through to the implementation and results and performance monitoring. We found they were an effective partner who was keen to jointly develop the best possible solution to perfectly meet our needs and those of our customers. Their joint development approach means the benefit of a successful win-win model.”

 

How does Octopia help you make a difference?

The solution perfectly meets our needs and our environment.  It is also easier and more seamless for the customer. But the real asset is the ability to access their network of sellers. We worked with the Octopia teams to encourage sellers to join our marketplace so that we could have a comprehensive range of products that meets the expectations of our customers.

 

The 5 keys to a marketplace’s success

  1. Implement a simple platform for customers, enabling them to easily find what they are looking for (especially across thousands of products).
  2. Display clear and detailed product information, along with customer reviews and recommendations.
  3. Provide impeccable service quality thanks to effective and responsive customer service.
  4. Propose the shortest delivery time possible with the help of a complete fulfillment solution.
  5. List sellers and products that are capable of matching the retailer’s level of requirement with their own customers.