Our vision is to be the trusted advisor for our customers in all aspects of eye care and support their journeys across all our retail channels. Today's consumers are more informed than ever, thanks to mobile devices and the Internet. They browse online and offline channels before making purchase decisions, which depend on on their personal preferences, needs, convenience, category of products, urgency and other factors. We aim to resolve our customers’ problems and we are re-architecting our organizational structure, skills and capabilities to make that happen.
Our channel-agnostic customer experience strategy provides our customers flexibility when interacting with our brands. We call this strategy 'personalization at mass scale.' This means moving towards a more bespoke experience that lets customers shape their own individual eye care journeys to match their preferences and needs.
We achieved positive results from all our digital efforts and omnichannel acceleration in 2019. Global e-commerce sales grew by 66% year-on-year. We also achieved a significant increase in digitally influenced store sales driven by omnichannel tools such as Advanced Appointment Booking, mobile-first website, store locator and advanced CRM.
We achieved these successes thanks to the four pillars of our omnichannel customer experience strategy:
1. Global omnichannel e-commerce platform
Our in-house Global Customer Experience & Digital (CX&D) team has centrally designed and developed an advanced, scalable and modular global omnichannel e-commerce platform. Within 12 months, we rolled out this platform in eight countries across 10 retail brands. These include Vision Express U.K. and Ireland, Pearle Netherlands, Eyewish Netherlands, GrandVision Italy, MultiOpticas Portugal, Synoptik Sweden, Synoptik Denmark, Pearle Belgium and GrandOptical Belgium.
These websites support e-commerce for sunglasses and contact lenses, eye test appointment bookings, store locators, product and promotion pages and more. The advanced CRM system and e-commerce back-office give our markets and their local marketing and digital teams flexibility to run and operate e-commerce business on a daily basis without local IT development.
The Global CX&D team follows the AGILE methodology to deliver rapid customer-facing feature innovations, design and performance improvements in two-week cycles to enhance our mobile-first customer experience across all global e-commerce websites.
We will further enhance our customer-facing platform in 2020 with additional customer features and innovations, and will continue to roll out our enhanced platform to more markets in 2021.
2. Global customer 360 marketing personalization platform
We are adapting our marketing approach to meet shifting consumer trends and behaviors as we look to develop data-driven, highly personalized digital performance marketing and CRM capabilities. Our CX&D team has developed an advanced Customer 360 Data Platform that offers a 360° view of the customer, within the allowed boundaries of privacy regulations such as GDPR. This enriched data will enable personalized digital advertising activities; highly relevant and timely CRM campaigns as well as tailored customer service engagements. This Customer 360 Platform was successfully piloted in Latin America in 2019.
We will continue to develop and roll out this platform across multiple countries in Europe in 2020. It will serve as the foundation for the future and help us use advanced technologies such as machine learning artificial intelligence on our customer datasets and provide actionable insights to our marketing, sales, CRM and customer service teams.
We also use a global analytics dashboard that connects all GrandVision websites. It tracks and monitors a range of KPIs to help us improve our customers' online experiences. Our stores are integral to our business and provide access to our products and expert eye care services delivered by thousands of our GrandVision 'Visionistas' and 'Fashionistas.'
3. Our store experience and retail store concept
Our stores are integral to our business and provide access to our products and expert eye care services delivered by thousands of our GrandVision 'Visionistas' and 'Fashionistas.'
Visionistas include optometrists, opticians and other eye care professionals who deliver services to customers such as eye tests, more comprehensive eye exams, and the selection of optical and eye care products. And our Fashionsitas advise customers about frame and sunglass trends and offer style advice.
We piloted an enhanced retail store concept to incorporate omnichannel touchpoints for our mid-low banners in 2019. Pilot countries included The Netherlands, U.K., Germany, France and Switzerland. Initial customer responses have been positive. We will further roll out this concept in 2020. Our goal is to make glasses and contact lens shopping more enjoyable and engaging for customers.
In addition, we are piloting advanced eye exam machines, cutting-edge eye care products and technologies in stores and online in several countries (where local law permits) to stay on pace with latest trends and innovations.
4. Digital skills and capabilities
We are also investing heavily in digital skills and capability transformation within GrandVision – on a local and global scale. People are pivotal to our growth and enabling them with the right tools and training is key to our continued omnichannel success.
We created a Digital Activation Global Center of Excellence within our CX&D team to spearhead this transformation. This team collaborates with Marketing, People & Culture, Category, IT and Supply Chain teams as well as all our local markets. We identified key digital skills throughout the organization (e.g. performance marketing, omnichannel operations, conversion optimization, online merchandising, experience design) and created a global acceleration program to embed these skills in our markets and functions. We created cross-functional, multi-disciplinary teams that break traditional functional and geographical boundaries and cooperate to achieve a seamless customer experience.
Does our e-commerce goal impact eye health?
European e-commerce revenue is predicted to increase by nearly 30% in the next five years (Source: Statista). As more people shop using their mobile devices, we are expanding our omnichannel capabilities to adapt to this trend. However, ‘screen time’ on our computers and mobile devices has been proven to be detrimental to our eye health. Does this cause a dilemma for GrandVision?
We prioritize the health and safety of our customers and address their various eye care needs. This includes blue light blocking lenses in our stores. For more complex eye care issues, customers can consult our opticians. We will continue to invest in our omnichannel retail experience as we prioritize our customer technology needs, and its potential side effects.