What if Retail’s future was now?

– ” When I’ll grow up … cars will fly in the sky! In ten years from now… we’ll pay for everything on our phone … we will absolutely do everything with it! ”

We are there, we are “tomorrow”, I am older and we are ten years later.

Then, even if all my mini-me’s speculations from ten years ago haven’t been all reached yet. Even if we’re not going to come back from parties in the Fifth Element taxis tomorrow … one thing is sure: consumer habits have changed. Our lives changed and our experiences too. But it is not ready to stop right? Then, what is the in-store customer experience of tomorrow?

Today we’re going to talk about Nike, who for me has already taken a first step in the future. Please, feel free to tell me what you think at the end of this article. In the meantime, I will take you to NY! For this last point, focus, close your eyes there we are … you are in New York City!

Everything started in mid-November in New York with the opening of a flagship where smartphones guide the experience in store. Touch-sensitive screens, personalized lockers, QR codes … Did you say Tech? In the 5th avenue corner, surrounded by Cartier and Sach, this cube with tinted windows becomes the new temple of the customer experience where technology and digital make one. Welcome to the new store Nike “House of innovation 000” 100 % phygital.

Unique prerequisite to live the experience: have a smartphone. Because for those who would not have been able to download for free Nike’s app, a WiFi network in the store makes possible to do it directly in the store. Once the application installed on your mobile, the experience can finally begin declined in 6000 m2 and on the 6 levels of the store. By the way, what is phygital and why does it work so well?

 What is ‘’the phygital’’?

Definition: The phygital is one of the retail trends which regroups the physical world and the digital world. Leaned towards customer’s needs, the objective is to propose him the best possible experience. Real convergence point of the online and the offline, the objective is to pick the best of both worlds to offer simplified, continuous and personalized experiences to customers. This new retail trend makes the implementation of personalized promotional offers possible. It develops and optimizes the simplicity of purchase.

 5 phygital success factors applied to Nike

1- Immersion

People have to live a real experience that changes from ”regular shopping”.

Let’s return to our flagship visit, on 5th Avenue. Welcome to the ground floor nicknamed ‘’Nike Arena’’, with an electro music background. Customers are directly attracted by the central block with its white sneakers, the jars of colors, the colored laces. It contrasts with the employees in white laboratory blouses who come to explain to you how this “workshop” works.

2- The custom-made product

If you want to: you can customize your shoes from A to Z. And it works because customers hurry to take pictures: shoes, window, giant screens… all the Flagship technology goes to pictures!

Involving the customer into the ”creation” process and giving them the possibility to make their product unique is a way to make people feel important for the brand.

3- The community

The customer experience personalization goes even farther and plays on the affiliation to the community “members” of the brand. The fact to belong to a group. Because the last floor, “Nike Expert Studio” is reserved for the members NikePlus. How to become a member? It is enough to have downloaded the application on your smartphone and to have filled your e-mail address. A premium status within reach of your thumb in fact.

In addition to that, a team is available for a personalized shopping session, to customize your clothes even to make of the custom-made product in the studio which is on-the-spot. A real personalized shopping session, dedicated to some elected representatives.

4- Data analysis for a simplified experience

If you are in a hurry, you can come down directly to the “Speed Shop”, located on the floor below, to get back your articles beforehand reserved online. Direction to the black lockers wall, where the usernames are displayed in brilliant letters. Once the unbolted locker and clothes or shoes were tried, you have the possibility, armed with your application, to pay directly with your smartphone by scanning the QR codes of articles before leaving a few minutes later. An express performance where customers and brands find some benefit. Time-saving for some, earning some data for the others. Time is money you said? I believe that it has never been as true.


5- Convenience

In other floors men/ women /children, we notice QR codes presence on labels to the feet of the exhibition model. There also, the wish to simplify the customer experience in the store is present. By scanning these labels, the consumer can know in real time the available sizes in store. He can even try clothes and sneakers via the option “changing room” or ” pick-up area “. The option geo-localization – activated only if the customer gave his authorization beforehand – allows Nike to follow your moves, to know your position in the store and thus to deliver clothes to the wished floor.

This last factor is very important to consider when implementing a phygital strategy. Convenience makes the experience doable and easy. Customers are saving time while doing the shopping. It’s like buying in a science fiction movie!



To conclude the future of the retail would be “the personal data analysis” according to Heidi O’ Neill, the president of Nike Direct. The objective for the American group is to create an ‘’alive store, as well reactive as digital’’. In other words, Nike wants to offer an in-store shopping as personalized, fast and easy as the online experience.

When we consider that more than two-thirds of the customers in a phase of purchase in a store consult their mobile (l’Observatoire du commerce mobile -June 2017) we understand why the group wants to democratize purchase and payment via this device. Furthermore, if 81 % of the European millennials admit being satisfied with their experience in a shop (a study of the Monitoring center Cetelem on 2018), 61 % declare to want to experiment playful, festive or surprising experiences in store. A strategy which has a bright future ahead judging by the potential to work on…


Find out more with Cathy Sparks, Global Nike Direct Stores & Services interview:


Is mobile addiction getting us unsocial?

I decided to write on this topic following the previous course I attended at school about mobile marketing strategy. The lecturer was introducing the course with the fact that we were all getting addicted to our smartphones. It is not the evidence, but the consequences over socialization that drew my attention and I wanted to go deeper in my thoughts about the subject.

Almost everyone, at least in European countries, has feelings of being lost or alone when faced with a dead cellphone battery. This same feeling may also occur while you are visiting a new town and you can not access Google Maps to find your way (aren’t traditional paper maps old-fashioned anyway?)

Everyone who has ever been on a subway will encounter a nearly silent car with all of the passengers glued to their phones. Our logical reasoning may lead us to believe that phones are the reason that we are tuned out and not engaging with the other humans around us. But is that really the case? Is mobile addiction getting us antisocial?


Smartphones: a behavioral addiction


You certainly already met people that can’t stop themselves from checking their phones each time they receive a notification. Some others, more often teenagers, are not able to leave their phones in their bags or pockets and need to have it close to hand, within sight. According to a Deloitte survey over more than 4,000 British adults in 2017, 38% admitted they were using their smartphone too much. Worse, 53% of 16-75-year-olds use their phones while walking.

Addiction can be defined as a behavior that functions to produce pleasure and to relieve feelings of pain and stress:  whether it is using a smartphone, social media or gambling, the behavior acts as a reward.

According to Google Trends, the searches for “phone addiction” have significantly risen in the past five years, showing global awareness about this new form of addiction. An experiment of MIT’s Sloan Management Review demonstrated that most of students who did not have access to their smartphones did not know what to do with the extra time. Some others noticed how often their friends were looking at their phones (around 4 times in 10 minutes) and admitted they were probably in the same situation.


How smartphone impacts our relationships…


Nowadays, it is becoming more common to see people spending more time on their phones than with other human beings. Whether it happens during a family dinner, a friends outing or a date at the theatre… there is always a little period of time during which one person has a look at its phone, even if it is thoughtless.

This kind of behavior is though called phubbing: “the act of snubbing someone in a social setting by looking at your phone instead of paying attention”. People are supposed to be spending times together by going to the restaurant, pub or wherever and barely pay attention to one another because of their smartphone in their hands.

Researchers from the University of British Columbia concluded that people who looked to their smartphones while out for a dinner with friends or family enjoyed themselves less than those who didn’t.

So, how to take back control? Several apps were created to alert you on your mobile consumption. Mute, for instance, enables you to track how often you unlock your mobile and the time spent on it. While these apps are great to track our use they may be focusing too much on the symptom rather than the real problem.

This said, the smartphone is not the first strategy that humans developed to avoid having social interactions. Solitary persons or people who are just looking for a distraction have used books, music players, and even crosswords puzzles to ignore people. My opinion is that we can’t just say that an antisocial person who wants a quiet time will broach the subject of his last holidays with perfect strangers once his source of escape – the smartphone – has disappeared. Some people do like their comfort zone. The question is rather, is the smartphone getting these comfort zones too comfortable?


… But also expands our social world


People are always on their phone: while waiting in a line at a supermarket checkout, commuting to work, eating breakfast – this is true. But can we deny that those persons are socializing, in a different way the “face-to-face” we were used to?

I think that mobile addiction is not getting us less social, this is rather what it means to be social that is changing. Of course, talking to a friend in the same room around a coffee, and texting them in front of Netflix should never be compared. But I support the idea that texting, exchanging comment on social media, blogs, videos, playing games or sharing mobile content is a true way of socializing.

Thanks to social media, you can virtually experience what your family and friends are living with shared pictures, status and localization. Mobile is building engagement, reactions, emotions.


To conclude, even though appearances may denounce the mobile is locking us in a lonely world, I prefer to see this as an evolution in our social behaviours. Granted, too many people are ruining their immediate experience by focusing more on bragging to others. However, the global impacts of mobile addiction over socialization is not as terrifying as we hear it.

Like social media speaker Jay Baer said: “Maybe we should be focused less on making a lot of connections, and focused more on making a few real friends.”

  • Further readings

– Marcello Russo, Massimo Bergami, and Gabriele Morandin. Surviving a Day Without Smartphones, MIT Sloan Management Review, 2017

– Ryan Dwyer, Kostadin Kushlev, Elizabeth Dunn. Smartphone use undermines enjoyment of face-to-face social interactions, Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, 2017

– Alexander J.A.M. van Deursen, Colin L. Bolle, Sabrina M. Hegner, Piet A.M. Kommers. Modeling habitual and addictive smartphone behavior. The role of smartphone usage types, emotional intelligence, social stress, self-regulation, age, and gender

Digital strategy: dare to fail and be proud!  

Digital strategy: dare to fail and be proud!  


Have you already heard about “test and learn” approach, one of the well-known action levers of the Management 3.0 ? Today, we are in an era in which flexibility, adaptation and performance determine success. It is therefore impossible to conceive innovation without going through test phase. This is why you absolutely need to integrate testing in your digital strategy, and your customers have a huge role to play!


In a rapidly changing world where information is increasingly accessible, competition is tough to make your customer loyal. Digital customers have a wide choice of services and products, which increases the effort of companies to satisfy their customers and convince them to buy.

As Pascal Picq points out in his book Un paléoanthropologue dans l’entreprise : s’adapter et innover (A palaeoanthropologist in the company: adapting and innovating), a change of culture is necessary in traditional organisations which still have a vision too linear and hierarchical, especially in France.

You can no longer conceive innovation as it has been in the industrial era with a classic development framework, moving from R&D to sales, with each department operating in silos.

Now you need a demand-driven vision, to co-design with the main stakeholders: your users. You must be fast enough and responsive to find a place in a highly competitive market and adapt quickly to demand. To do this, put aside your certainty and listen more to the users, rely on experimentation rather than purely rational decision!


You certainly know this famous expression which is sure to bring about some teeth-grinding: customer is king! Really annoying isn’t it? But sadly, it is right… Nowadays, even more than ever, customer experience is the key to digital success. With a consumption which is more and more multi-channel and digitalised, integrating the user in your development process is essential! So, be prepared to experiment and interview customers.

Some businesses with a success story have understood it very well. For example, Dropbox encourage their users to take a tour of the functionalities, and send a text of ninety characters of feedback about the service by rewarding them with megabytes of extra storage.

Another example is Décathlon. Since March 30, 2017, in a co-design approach, the brand has set up the Décathlon Creation test platform after using it to allow users to suggest improvement ideas for their products.

Users feel therefore more engaged with the brand. They can help you to find the strengths and weaknesses of your idea. Don’t be afraid to be challenged! Finally,  this way, you take fewer risks, your user experience can only be better.


  1. Develop a Minimum Viable Product

When you have an idea, you certainly have a global vision of the final solution, whether you want it or not. But how to be profitable before that? This is where the MVP comes in!

It is a first draft of your idea (product, service or else) but a functional version. It forces you to confront your users as quickly as possible at the lowest cost. Step by step, experience will help you improve your solution and add new features or services. No need to spend a huge budget if your solution does not fit to your customers’ needs!

One of the most famous MVP is Airbnb. The two founders, Brian Chesky and Joe Gebbi, validated their product by offering mattresses in their living room during the Industrial Design Society of America Conference (IDSA) in 2007. They found three guests willing to pay for this and validated their first assumption: people pay to sleep in strangers’ house! Not so obvious at first sight… Today, the platform has changed a lot – for the better – since its first roll! You can find a lot of other MVP examples.

  1. Measure and analyse: no test without data

Tests require a certain analytical rigour. Your test must absolutely not rely on your intuition but on reliable data. Be particularly careful to the bounce rate, the conversion rate, time spent on your website. All the data that could help you understand your customer’s behaviour and identify what the factors or elements scrambling their experience are. Assessing these issues can have an important impact on your turnover! Then, you can use, of course, these figures to measure the potential of an initiative.

  1. Organise test

First tip: unlearn everything you think you know and be user centric! A test can verify very different aspects: the value proposition/the landing page/the call-to-action of your website, a customer journey, the usability of your app and many other things…

For this, there are a lot of test methods like the A/B testing, method consisting of comparing two versions of a page or an app to see which one is more efficient.

Second tip: always do the test by small keys so that it is not skewed because the change is due to only one factor.

  1. Learn and improve

A testing strategy is a continuous improvement process. You have to proceed by iterations. These are short development circles that enable to take feedback into account before launching a new one. In this way, you make regular checks on what is valuable for your user and every new cycle helps you to improve your solution. Sometimes tests fail, but do not give up, be perseverant! You can learn about it. Once again, it is better to realise it as quickly as possible in your cycle of development!

Keep in mind: your digital success depends on your capability to forget what you think you know by confronting you to your clients regularly! Small tests can solve important business stakes. So integrate them as much as you can and try new things!

If you want to know how to launch your first test, go take look on the article Getting Started with User Testing for Website Optimisation!


Digital strategy: dare to fail and be proud!  

How marketing automation platforms help marketers do more with less?

It’s 11 am on Friday, Caroline is already taking a break. Why? Because in a short amount of time she schedules different emails to different segments. Lead nurturing, has never been so fast since the arrival of marketing automation. According to Salesforce, in 2017, 67% of marketers rely on a marketing automation platform.

What is Marketing Automation?

Many organizations and marketing departments have to automate repetitive and tedious day-to-day tasks such as emails, social media, online advertisements, and more. Marketing automation is a technology that manages those tasks automatically.

With marketing automation platforms, organizations can target customers with highly personalized automated messages that help convert prospects to customers and turn customers into delighted customers across every channel. Marketing automation helps with lead generation, nurturing, and scoring.

When it is used effectively, employees are free to focus on strategic problem-solving. So, let’s take a deeper look into marketing automation benefits for marketers.

marketing automation definition

How does marketing automation benefit the marketing team?

Marketing automation goes beyond organizational tools, they change the role of marketers. Discover how it benefits marketing teams, thanks to these 7 reasons.

#1. Define or refine your marketing processes

Getting a clear picture of the current marketing process isn’t an easy task. Marketing automation requires you to clearly visualise a customer journey and strategy in order to create processes based on their activities.

Let’s move on with Caroline. She has a famous digital blog and she is trying to sell her inbound marketing services. Caroline generates leads thanks to a contact form, Facebook ads, and a newsletter subscription. She has several lead qualification processes depending on the form completed and she wants to nurture new subscribers. Starting with a marketing automation platform would require her to clearly visualize her current marketing process.

marketing automation - targeted campaign

#2. Ultra-targeted marketing campaigns

Having a clear vision of your audience enables you to design the right content for the right person, and automatically trigger actions based on schedules and lead behavior. Imagine reaching thousands of different leads with thousands of different messages in a fully-automated way. And, as we all know: the more relevant an offer is to a potential or current customer, the more likely they’re willing to pay.

For example, Caroline can schedule different social posts to different segments of her audience, based on data from the CRM system. It helps her to create a successful social media strategy.

#3. Facilitate campaign creation

As she now has a clear view of her marketing processes and audience, she wants to put the customer first. To encourage them to move to the next stage of their customer journey, a personalized and relevant content is necessary.

Depending on their current stage the content and channels are different. Hopefully, marketing automation tools have a drag and drop interface, enabling her to build email campaigns, social campaigns, and landing pages without technical expertise.

#4. Target potential customers across multiple channels

The different personalized campaigns will enable you to truly engage customers across different online and offline channels such as email, social media, phone calls, Youtube, blog and more!

Those platforms also track recipient responses to various marketing campaigns across multiple channels. They measure the results to determine the returns on the marketing investment in each channel.

marketing automation - lead nurturing

#5. Easier to nurture leads

Nurturing your leads is crucial in a marketing strategy. According to Marketo, 96% of visitors who come to your website aren’t ready to buy.

Automated content will help you nurture your leads more easily. For example, Caroline triggers an automatic email 1 week after subscribing to her newsletter to propose her latest content. Depending on their reactions another email will be sent with a case study attached. These predefined instructions are called workflows.

#6. Increase customer lifetime value

No more revenue lost because of human omission. Automated rules can be used for your up-sells and cross-sells. Automated campaigns will be sent to the right customer at the right moment, for example 30 days before their birthday.

#7. Less repetition, more effective

Replace manual repetitive tasks with automated rules and campaigns will free up marketers to focus on strategic problem-solving and creative tasks.

Finally, by implementing a marketing automation system you not only speed up your marketing process and increase employee productivity, it also allows you to perform a better management of your resources and reach more effectively.


The limpid and floating “Privacy by design” concept

The European General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) has been enforced since 25 May 2018 and applied to organizations across the world. In a data-driven society where analysing and understanding data is a competitive advantage for companies, GDPR serves as a legal safeguard to protect the privacy of all European citizens.

The “Privacy by Design” framework is one of the key concepts of this regulation and was developed by former Information and Privacy Commissioner of Ontario (Canada), Ann Cavoukian, in the 90s. She proposed a model that can be seen as almost medical, which would favour preventing privacy “diseases” over curing them.

Five years after E. Snowden’s surveillance disclosures about the NSA’s wiretapping, companies are more than willing to embrace this concept to regain customer trust. But is the concept of “Privacy by Design” as limpid as it seems?

“Privacy by Design”, 7 principles

The “Privacy by Design” framework is introduced in article 25 of GDPR: companies  should design every project in such a way that they ensure personal data privacy. If a project is “designed by privacy”, then the risk attached (data breach) to any personal data will become very low. To appreciate its scope in the best possible way, this concept relies on 7 principles:

Proactive, not Reactive; Preventative, not Remedial

By anticipating, companies should be able to ensure the highest level of privacy for every action that will collect, process or destroy personal data. In this way, they will also ensure a high level of security.

Privacy as the Default

Individuals are automatically protected. They do not have to ask or carry out any action to ensure they and their personal data are private and protected.

Privacy Embedded into Design

A product should be designed to respect the privacy of personal data that it will process. Ways of ensuring privacy for personal data are fully integrated at the beginning of the creation process for a new project, product or service.

Full Functionality — Positive-Sum, not Zero-Sum

The goal is to build a balanced relationship where users and companies benefit from the situation (win-win model). It is possible to create this situation with a high level of privacy and security where no parties will suffer any loss.

End-to-End Security — Lifecycle Protection

Personal data should be highly protected during its entire life cycle. Each action that collects, processes and even destroys the data should ensure the highest level of security for individuals.

Visibility and Transparency

A user should be able to verify their data, how it is stored, processed and secured.  Thanks to this, trust between the user and the company should be strengthened.

Respect for User Privacy

In a user-centric approach, the companies’ first concern should be to protect the users’ personal data as much as possible.


All these principles should be applied to companies, according to their purposes of processing personal data.

GDPR briefly presents some measures that can lead to implementation of the “Privacy by Design” concept into businesses. Here are some examples:

  • Data Minimization (article 5), the concept of collecting only the data that is needed
  • Pseudonymisation (article 25), the technique that replaces the identifying fields of personal data collected to ensure that a user cannot be identified by an external individual
  • GDPR also establishes specific deadlines for the conservation of personal data depending on its type


A floating implementation


Nevertheless, the instructions presented in GDPR are not sufficiently detailed and cannot be simply applied. Even if companies apply these measures, it will not be enough to consider a project as compliant.

The concept of privacy by design is not a checklist that can be ticked quickly and easily. There is no handbook or detailed process to follow.

For R. Jason Cronk, Author of “Strategic Privacy by Design” and Privacy and Trust Consultant, there is an explanation behind this vagueness: “Unfortunately, part of the strength of her 7 Foundational Principles of Privacy by Design are also their weakness. She (editor’s note: Ann Cavoukian)  purposefully made them robust and flexible to allow organizations to find their own methods to achieve them. However, privacy by design has remained frustratingly vague – its flexibility might be a virtue in some respects, but it is a curse in other respects.”


A case-by-case application

Privacy by design is a concept that must be applied case-by-case. Organisations should study and apply measures to comply, according to their use of personal data. In this case-by-case application, companies can sometimes feel “overwhelmed” and willing to turn to a qualified third-party if they have the financial means or they can count on their personal search or on associations (i.e. the AFCDP in France) where they can share their experience and practices with other companies. In France, the CNIL provides a guide for SMEs, to lead them up to a GDPR compliance.

The concept therefore remains vague and difficult to apply for companies. But if they have the opportunity to work with a qualified third-party or already have the structure to find a way to apply it properly, they have an incontestable asset.


The DPO, the weakest link?

The challenge can also be human. Indeed, applying this concept during the creation process of a project that aims to process personal data implies an organizational effort at all levels. “Privacy by design” should be the first and not second thought for every service implicated, at their respective level, in order to ensure that Data Protection Officers or relays are designated at key point services whose role it is to verify and advise the company on how to collect, process and store personal data to comply with the GDPR. Being compliant with GDPR is an ongoing process in the life cycle of a project and the DPO follows the evolution of the project and the legislation. The designated DPOs must be, above all, motivated. They oversee the application of GDPR in the activity of their service and its relay.

If one of the DPOs or relays does not feel concerned enough by applying it, then the creation process designed by privacy is weakened. When a relay is not applying it properly at their level, then there is a certain risk that some data is not processed properly according to GDPR.

One of the DPO’s main tasks is to advise his company. In order to advise it in a better way, the DPO should develop and “grow” a legislative culture around the regulations in force. A DPO should be curious and interested in the subject. If the DPO does not care enough about his responsibilities, the company will suffer because of this lack of knowledge.


Implementation and awareness are keys


“Privacy by Design” may be easy to understand but companies that try to apply it may feel like they are walking on eggshells. Because it is in the experimental stage, it remains hard to know where to begin but over time the best practices will emerge from this experience and will lead to a simple implementation.

Also, raising awareness is necessary and essential for ideal application. Malakoff Médéric’s DPO, Johanna Carvais-Palut, explains that in her company DPOs receive a formation from the CNIL, a monthly informative newsletter on the legal evolution and participate in monthly meetings.
Today, “Privacy by Design” is essential to ensure the life privacy for all individual but it is up to companies to make sure it happens, thanks to the resources they will gather.



Further reading: