In this insightful conversation, VISEO’s Celine de Robillard sheds light on the challenges and opportunities in the world of omnichannel retail. Her advice on customer-centricity, data analysis, and seamless integration is invaluable for businesses aiming to thrive in this dynamic industry. 

Since joining the global VISEO group in March, Carnac has been on a journey of discovery exploring the VISEO universe. A cornerstone in the global VISEO narrative is its strong foundation in retail, which has ignited our enthusiasm to innovate within this dynamic industry on our own shores.

Recently we had the privilege of hosting Celine de Robillard, VISEO’s Head of Retail and Omnichannel for the Asia-Pacific-Japan region, during her visit to Australia. Her mission? To collaborate with us in expanding VISEO’s presence in the Australian retail market. During her stay, she engaged with key clients, conducted skills enablement sessions with our team, and shared her expertise as a retail luminary on a panel hosted by the French Australian Chamber of Commerce in Melbourne.

Image: Celine de Robillard joins an expert retail panel with the French-Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry in Melbourne.

She also sat down with us for a Q&A interview, where she shared her insights into retail and omnichannel. Join us as we delve into her perspectives and experiences in the following sections.

Celine, welcome to Australia! As a retail and technology expert, could you share with us what inspired you to pursue a career in these fields? 

Thank you, it’s a pleasure to be here! I began my career in digital and e-commerce at the inception of e-commerce itself – a time when online shopping was in its infancy, and the idea of purchasing products on the internet was still novel. Being part of this evolution from its early stages has been extremely rewarding. I’ve had the privilege of actively contributing to the transformation e-commerce from its modest beginnings to the dynamic and diverse landscape it is today.

What do you enjoy most about your work in the ever-evolving world of retail and technology? 

What I find most enjoyable is the boundless possibilities that technology offers to retailers. At VISEO, we work with a diverse range of clients, each with their unique challenges and problems to solve. Every time we engage with a new client, we embark on a journey to uncover their distinct story and craft a seamless experience for their customers. Technology serves as our greatest ally in streamlining both the customer experience and internal processes. Our main goal is to help businesses sell more, by enhancing efficiency and enabling internal teams to redirect their efforts away from less value-added manual tasks. It’s immensely fulfilling to witness the transformative power of technology in the retail industry.

Let’s talk about omnichannel. As a retail expert, what advice would you offer businesses navigating the complex world of omnichannel? 

Great question. Omnichannel is all about providing a seamless and consistent customer experience across multiple channels. So my advice would start with putting the customer at the centre of everything you do. Understand their preferences, shopping habits, and expectations across channels. This customer-centric focus should guide your technology investments, process improvements, and marketing strategies. It’s about delivering a seamless, personalised experience.

As consumers, we all appreciate a seamless, personalised shopping experience. And retailers are acutely aware of its value. However, recognising the potential of omnichannel is the tip of the iceberg. The real challenge lies in delivering it. So Celine, how can businesses effectively transform this vision into reality? 

You’re right. The journey to delivering omnichannel is where the real adventure begins! It starts with immersing yourself in a deep understanding of your customers. What are their preferences? Behaviours? Which channels are they using and in which combinations? This part is necessary, and important not to dismiss. But the contrary is also true – you don’t want to get stuck here either! So having good parameters in place will help you to stay on course. This is where a consultant can be valuable and can help assess the problems and opportunities and move into what the solution could look like.

And that solution should centre around integrated systems that facilitate real-time data synchronisation across all touchpoints, as well as a personalised experience for your customer. Finally, technology is a powerful enabler, but any investment in systems needs to be matched with investment in people, for they are the essence of any successful implementation.

Celine de Robillard, VISEO’s Head of Retail and Omnichannel for APJ

You’ve worked with many retailers in your time. What do you see to be the biggest challenge retailers face in delivering omnichannel? 

I would say achieving true integration and consistency across all customer touchpoints is the biggest challenge facing retailers in delivering a successful omnichannel experience. There are a range of factors which contribute to this. For example, outdated legacy systems and fragmented data stored in separate silos make it difficult to access and share information seamlessly across channels. They also hinder the ability to provide a unified view of customers, inventory and orders. This leads to a substantial amount of manual work for internal teams to bridge these gaps. Then there’s customer experience. The brand messaging, pricing, promotions and product availability must be consistent across all channels or customers will become confused and dissatisfied. Supply chain complexity is also in play, with options like ship-from-store and store fulfilment. The integration needs to be seamless.

Lastly Celine, could you tell us more about your customers and the specific ways you help them?

Yes, of course! Our core mission is to comprehend the unique nuances of our retail clients’ businesses, including their strengths and areas for improvement. With this deep understanding as our foundation, we then assist them with setting up the right technology mix to attract and engage their ideal customers and potential leads. We guide them in providing outstanding in-store experiences, whether it’s through connected point-of-sale systems or online shopping with our eCommerce know-how. But the real magic happens when we make sure that information flows seamlessly between all these systems. In a nutshell, we make sure that shoppers can easily find and purchase the products they want, wherever and however they prefer to buy them.

Fantastic! Thank you, Celine. We look forward to having you back in Australia again soon.

I look forward to it. Australia is a beautiful country, and I would love to help Australian retailers improve their omnichannel experience.

If you are a retailer looking for assistance with your omnichannel strategy, get in touch today, your transformation begins with a simple message.