COFAQ starts to switch to omnnichannel commerce with SQLI

SQLI is scoping the group’s omnichannel conversion programme

The COFAQ Group, a leading B2B/B2C DIY group purchasing organisation, is looking to make digital technology one of the group’s key focuses via its new “Cap 2023” strategic plan. SQLI helped the Group’s brand managers and IT Department to launch e-commerce projects for its 3 main brands: Master Pro, Securom and Brico Pro.

Digital technology, a key focus for the COFAQ group

The COFAQ Group, founded in the 50’s, is a group purchasing organisation with 6,000 staff. It has 354 member-shareholders forming a network of 773 points of sale across France aimed at both B2B and B2C customers.COFAQ’s brands include Master Pro, a specialist tool, hardware and supplies brand for industrial and construction businesses, plus local authorities, with 270 points of sale across France. For non-business customers, Brico Pro has 119 stores nationwide specialising in home and garden renovation, equipment, and decoration.

Several showcase websites have been set up by the brands, but users aren’t able to place orders or check product availability. This makes the switch to omnichannel a priority for the group.

SQLI assists COFAQ with its e-commerce scoping

As part of a strategic scoping project back in 2017, SQLI worked with COFAQ on an overview of its e-commerce conversion: Several areas were studied, particularly including:

  • Omnichannel customer experience
  • Digital marketing
  • E-commerce technology
  • Logistics

SQLI and COFAQ also worked together to develop the e-commerce business model best suited to COFAQ’s cooperative context, making sure to successfully manage change with its members. 

Laying the foundations of the omnichannel e-commerce programme

Following on from this scoping, COFAQ joined forces with SQLI once again in 2019 to launch the Master Pro and Brico Pro e-commerce site projects. The Group’s management wanted to make the scoping results really count, drawing up a roadmap for this conversion programme.The consulting work began with viewing the BtoB and BtoC customer experiences seen with two prototypes produced during two design sprint stages. SQLI’s experts used Design Thinking methods that, based on a customer-centric approach, let decision-makers walk a mile in the shoes of customers by experiencing a real purchase journey. The prototypes were then tested and validated by a panel of target customers.

SQLI’s involvement enabled COFAQ to:

  • Develop a clear vision of the e-commerce programme’s scope
  • Organise how to manage its e-commerce programme
  • Express functional and technical needs
  • Estimate the resources required
  • Select the solutions

COFAQ and SQLI’s teams jointly proposed and validated an innovative technological solution, using a marketplace-type platform architecture, on which the Master Pro and Brico Pro brand e-commerce sites will be based. In the future, COFAQ plans to ask for help with scoping the omnichannel e-commerce project for the Securom brand, which specialises in occupational protection and health.

Nicole Henry, COFAQ Group CIO, shares her thoughts: “The value SQLI added was decisive, based on its expertise in e-commerce projects, leading innovative workshops like design sprint, motivating teams, and identifying solutions. We worked together to determine the scope of the omnichannel conversion project and all the actions to be carried out. " 

For Stephen Demange, SQLI Consulting Director: “COFAQ’s teams really got to grips with the design sprint methodology, which we used to visualise and validate each brand’s innovative omnichannel e-commerce experience in just one week. This co-development with members and validation by end customers meant we managed to get all the stakeholders on both projects to share a customer-centric vision. I also believe that, together, we gave a real boost to these projects by using the design sprint method for functional and technical scoping.”