Maisons du Monde: A data-driven approach for customer-focused retail

About Maisons du Monde

Maisons du Monde is a French furniture and homeware company that offers distinctive and affordable interior decor, both online and in-store.

Industries: Retail & Consumer Goods
Location: France

Maisons du Monde personalizes its customer experience with Cloud Dataproc to generate targeted website and mail-out recommendations, creating a data feedback loop and enabling agile development.

Google Cloud Results

  • Supports a data-driven approach to optimizing the customer journey by analyzing each touchpoint leading to a conversion using BigQuery
  • Enables more targeted customer service and the personalization of marketing mail-outs and website recommendations with smart use of Cloud Dataproc
  • Speeds up the integration of customer feedback by analyzing comments automatically using Google Natural Language API and in-house designed clustering

Data feedback helps to identify most relevant KPIs

With a design studio located in France, but drawing on influences from around the world, Maisons du Monde offers its customers distinctive, on-trend interior decoration and furniture, both online and in-store. It has a network of over 300 stores across seven countries in Europe and has experienced strong growth over the past few years, reaching €1 billion turnover at the end of December 2017. In 2018, Maisons du Monde continued its omnichannel expansion by opening four concessions in UK department stores, as well as developing its store network in other countries and focusing on enhancing the customer experience. Twenty-one percent of its sales currently take place online, as of the end of December 2017.

"Our strategy for growth is omnichannel and international," says Karim Louedec, Chief Data Officer at Maisons du Monde. "To achieve this, we need to optimize the journey we provide for our customers from first encounter through to delivery and feedback, and address the increasingly diverse nature of customer engagement. In order to do that, we want to personalize the customer experience."

"We have a data-based approach: it is at the heart of our strategy whether it be for merchandising, improving the web experience, optimizing logistics, or customer interaction. Moving our data services into the cloud aligns with our core business values of innovation and agility."

Guillaume Apostoly, Chief Information Officer, Maisons du Monde

With its previous in-house data servers, Maisons du Monde was not able to undertake the kinds of agile, dynamic data processing it needs to optimize its marketing initiatives and personalize its customer interactions. It looked for a solution that would enable it to experiment without large up-front investments. Google Cloud Platform (GCP) provided the answer.

"We have a data-based approach: it is at the heart of our strategy whether it be for merchandising, improving the web experience, optimizing logistics, or customer interaction," says Guillaume Apostoly, Chief Information Officer at Maisons du Monde. "Moving our data services into the cloud aligns with our core business values of innovation and agility."

Personalizing marketing suggestions

For retail companies operating across physical and ecommerce platforms, providing an integrated, targeted customer experience is key to building brand loyalty and increasing sales. Maisons du Monde's products are designed to work together and are displayed in-store in an immersive environment to inspire its customers, but the company was struggling to translate this holistic vision into its marketing strategies. "Our in-house servers provided very static snapshots of our data, whereas we needed a much more dynamic and rapid view to enable us to optimize our marketing with customer-specific content, amongst other things," says Karim. Maisons du Monde looked for cloud-based data services to create an agile, flexible data architecture and personalize its marketing outputs.

"We were already using Google Analytics 360, so the move to Google Cloud Platform felt very intuitive and the whole digital marketing ecosystem works together. The BigQuery Data Transfer Service, for example, which feeds into BigQuery, enables insights across devices and is integrated with GCP."

Karim Louedec, Chief Data Officer, Maisons du Monde

To do that, it built its data architecture on GCP using Cloud Dataflow and Cloud Data Transfer Services to gather data, with BigQuery and Cloud Storage for data warehousing and structuring, and Cloud Dataproc for automated analyses. "We were already using Google Analytics 360, so the move to Google Cloud Platform felt very intuitive and the whole digital marketing ecosystem works together," says Karim. "The BigQuery Data Transfer Service, for example, which feeds into BigQuery, enables insights across devices and is integrated with GCP."

"With GCP, we can personalize the customer experience in a number of ways," adds Karim. "Using Cloud Dataproc, the website generates item recommendations that correlate to a particular product based on probability calculations. This creates enhanced merchandising via a website that anticipates customer interests and provides an integrated vision across product ranges. We also use it to enhance our targeted email marketing, by choosing pertinent products in our individualized customer mail-outs. Data from those recommendations is fed back into the system, creating a data-driven feedback loop."

As well as generating personalized recommendations, Maisons du Monde uses GCP to understand how customers use its website. "Using Markov chains and feeding all our Google Analytics 360 data through Dataproc into BigQuery, we have developed a model to understand the customer journey better by analyzing all the touchpoints that lead to a conversion," says Karim.

Analyzing customer feedback

Maisons du Monde also analyzes customer feedback provided via post-sales surveys. "We wanted to find a way to sort surveys automatically," says Karim. "Using Google Natural Language API, anonymized user comments are automatically categorized according to whether they are positive or negative. That highlights customer issues for us, so we can be quick to improve any areas that are holding us back, whether it be regarding the customer interface, delivery process, or the products themselves."

"The system doesn't need any oversight so we can focus on improvements and innovations, as the other big advantage with Google Cloud Platform is being able to try things out. We can experiment quickly, and it costs very little to do so."

Karim Louedec, Chief Data Officer, Maisons du Monde

Harnessing AI for BI

Thanks to GCP, Maisons du Monde has built a data architecture that enables personalization of its marketing, creating a dynamic and agile data feedback loop to continuously improve its customers' experiences. "As a result of implementing GCP, we are able to follow our KPIs much more closely, and identify the most relevant KPIs to focus on," says Karim.

Moving to GCP has also meant Maisons du Monde's data team can focus on innovation, not infrastructure. "We have a team of 20 data scientists, engineers, and analysts, but we don't need a data infrastructure expert at all," says Karim. "The system doesn't need any oversight so we can focus on improvements and innovations, as the other big advantage with Google Cloud Platform is being able to try things out. We can experiment quickly, and it costs very little to do so."

Now, Maisons du Monde is planning to move toward even greater integration between the services that are still on-premises and its data services in the cloud, and to continue its deployment of innovative AI technologies.

"We will be expanding our use of GCP to continue providing an ever more personalized service to our customers, particularly in relation to machine learning," says Karim. "AI technology, especially image and text recognition, is the way forward."

About Maisons du Monde

Maisons du Monde is a French furniture and homeware company that offers distinctive and affordable interior decor, both online and in-store.

Industries: Retail & Consumer Goods
Location: France