The Coolblue slogan “anything for a smile” is not a hollow marketing phrase. The successful e-commerce company - known especially for its web shop of the same name as well as for being the driving force behind specialist webshops such as gamingheadsetshop.nl, stofzuigerstore.nl, laptopshop.nl and blenderstore.nl - is doing everything to give its customers the ultimate experience online. And as an offline retailer, Coolblue is also quite visible offline with ten physical stores in the Netherlands and Belgium.
CoolBlue, Retail Manager Marc van Elderen is leading the offline shopping experience in the right direction.
“The experience often begins online because our physical locations basically act as a support for the webshops. Although I oversee a cross-channel experience – since the online and offline platforms must reinforce each other – I have final operational responsibility over the running of the physical stores. This goes from the establishment of branches to the training and coaching of the store teams. That last aspect is very important because we position ourselves as specialists and we always want customers to be helped by real specialists. Even if they visit a physical store!”
Because of the large degree of synergy between the virtual and physical stores, it is essential for Coolblue that the two experiences blend seamlessly. “We are seeing that more and more online customers are visiting our physical stores because they like asking our specialists questions one-to-one, for instance. These customers want us to meet them with the same degree of expertise and level of service as they are accustomed to getting online. Apparently, we are succeeding in this, because some of our customers come back regularly and buy directly from the physical stores, because they have had a pleasant experience being helped by an employee," states Marc van Elderen.
“Thanks to Qmatic, we’ve now realized one great ambition - introducing Click&Collect. Suppose that when a customer places an order, he or she chooses to pick up the item at a physical store. That customer will then receive an order confirmation on his computer, or on a mobile device such as a smartphone. Then, the confirmation’s QR code can be scanned at the kiosk, either directly from the smartphone or from a printout. The customer is then personally welcomed by our hosts or hostesses with a fresh cup of coffee. Since the customer information is directly viewable by the hostess and our other employees, we can limit waiting times and ensure that the most suitable specialist is matched with the customer. As for the order, it will have already been prepared, which means that the specialist can focus on advising. It’s a remarkably efficient and customer-friendly solution, because people feel welcome right away. In the future, we hope to add extra incentives. For example, giving customers the option to choose when to pick up their order. Or the online option to choose a specific in-store specialist, such as someone they’ve had a good experience with in the past.”
In addition to the positive contribution it makes to the customer experience, Marc finds the Qmatic solution good from a management perspective as well. “Among other things, you can see who is in the store and how long the waiting time is, all in real time. You can then react dynamically, for example, by assigning another specialist to a customer if the first one is occupied longer than expected. This often shortens the waiting times. The Qmatic platform reveals a wealth of management information. This includes ‘basic’ data about peak hours on a monthly basis, but also insights about periods when people pick up specific products and how much time is involved. For example, if you know that computers are often picked up on weekends and that customers ask a relatively large number of questions about them, you can focus on having the right number of staff at that time. We can therefore employ the Qmatic solution as a scheduling tool. The historical data makes it clear at which times which specialists should be on duty in order to achieve both the highest quality and the shortest waiting times. If the system is used wisely, you can sell an extraordinary amount of merchandise and still offer each customer a unique shopping experience. That’s why we’re doing all of this.”
Coolblue started as a student company in 1999. Today, Coolblue is one of the largest online electronics retailers in the Netherlands & Belgium, and has only one goal: Making customers smile. Coolblue has 10 physical stores where they provide customer service, delivery service, installation service, and repair service.