Interview / Bigship:"We strongly believe in the physical store on the ports."

Emmanuel Supiot, President of Bigship

Emmanuel Supiot, president of the Bigship network of hardware stores, gives BoatIndustry an update on its strategy at the opening of its new logistics platform.

You have just opened a new logistics platform in Rochefort. What advantages will this new tool bring you?

Bigship has been in existence for 30 years and since 2012, we have been working on developing a multi-channel strategy. This new storage building offers a floor space of 3500 m▓ against 1000 m▓ in the one we occupied in Yves since 2002. We will be able to improve service, reducing delivery time and product access time for stores, which is important since they now manage orders placed over the web. The distribution center can process 20,000 references, where a store only has about 4,000.

The new premises also offer us more space for the administrative part.

Inauguration of the Rochefort Bigship platform

Can you tell us more about the development of the Bigship network and its strategy?

The number of sales outlets has remained stable in recent years, while turnover has increased. We currently have 40 stores for a network turnover of ?20 million and ?5.5 million for the head office. We plan to reach 60 Bigship stores by 2020. All this is part of a long-term strategy, taking the time to do things right and clean. Before expanding the network, our priority was to structure the back office and support the stores, particularly in digitisation, which is always problematic and very time-consuming in small shops. The ERP system is now installed in 13 stores out of 40. We'll install it all over the network. But our strategy is really multichannel, combining web and shops.

Bigship store in La Rochelle

What is the share of the web in Bigship's activity?

Online sales represent 6 to 8% of the activity. A first pilot Click & Collect store is in place in La Rochelle and the system should be deployed throughout the network within 2 years. Today, all orders taken in store are made with the same interface and the same tool as those made online. The yachtsman chooses delivery at home or in store. In addition, online orders are managed by the stores, according to the geographic choice of the customer. The product is shipped by the shop or logistics platform depending on availability. We are really in a unified multi-channel strategy, because we are convinced that even if the web does not exceed 10%, we will not keep the remaining 90% without a powerful online service for tracking or price searches. This does not prevent me from strongly believing in the physical shop in the nautical world where advice and the sharing of experience are very important.

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