La Redoute

Company: Nortel NetworksCustomer: La RedouteSubmitted by: Fleishman Hillard UKThe dawn of sophisticated technologies with global reach has arrived & more and more retail companies are looking to the internet as a means of selling goods. The unrelenting growth of the internet has transformed the way we work, communicate, play and ultimately, shop.Although there are no exact figures detailing the number of people online, an Internet study commissioned by Nua Internet Surveys has estimated an astounding 201 million users world-wide, with Europe accounting for over one quarter of the total. Recent statistics published by Datamonitor havepredicted that by the year 2003, the consumer online shopping market will be worth 8.

6 billion US dollars. Europe, France, UK and Germany have been identified as the top three consumer e-commerce markets. The French market, perhaps due to their renowned love affair with fashion and style, is approximately worth 85 million US dollars, with mail order companies accounting for ten percent of total online consumer sales, a figure that is growing at a considerable rate.La Redoute is the third largest mail order company in Europe, specialising in French fashion for both men and women. The company recognised the potential of online commerce and was one of the first mail order companies to provide this service, enabling the access of products and services to customers worldwide (www.

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order now With a workforce of 6,000 and a turnover of ten billion French Francs, the IT department were aware of how the internet could boost sales and provide its customers with the best service possible.Didier Lieven, new technologies manager at La Redoute commented, “30% of our revenue comes from overseas, and 15% is generated through e-commerce. A further 55% of orders are taken via the telephone and directed to one of our 50 call centres. We anticipate that the widespread interest and growth of the internet will increase our online sales dramatically and in order to capitalise on this, we knew we had to assess options for online service improvement and additional functionality.

The Solution and Business Advantages…

In preparation for this demand, La Redoute investigated feasible options that would ensure the online shopping system could offer its customers an instant link between technology and company representatives. Nortel Networks’ solutions matched this description; thus Lieven decided to look closely at its offerings.

La Redoute wanted to ensure that the new functionality would work in line with its existing technologies and would be easy to use. La Redoute was also looking for an overall opportunity to enhance its reputation for efficiency.Lieven commented,”We carried out detailed market studies and analysis about how clients were using our website. Our results concluded that customers still have reservations about using online services. The main reasons were the difficulties in comparing products and concerns about payment security.

We believe that the internet is the way forward, but it will never replace human relations. So we needed a solution that would increase internet sales, improve service and reassure our customers that payment across the web was safe by means of customer/staff interaction.”

The Implementation…

La Redoute looked to Nortel Networks and Matra Nortel Communications in France.

An equally-owned subsidiary of Aerospatiale Matra and Nortel Networks, Matra Nortel Communications brings together the activities of Matra Nortel Communications and those previously pursued within Nortel France.La Redoute was already a satisfied customer through the implementation of a Nortel Networks call centre solution. This system recognises and answers each call immediately and, if necessary, holds it in a queue until it can be automatically directed to the next available agent. Lieven commented,”We were happy with our current system but we needed to add further functionality and capabilities if we wanted to capitalise on the internet opportunity.”In February 1999, following discussions with numerous possible vendors, La Redoute teamed up with Nortel Networks and Matra Nortel Communications.

The new technologies division decided the Internet Voice Button would be the perfect solution to compliment the current system, adding functionality and instilling customer assurance through customer contact with call centre agents. The Internet Voice Button combines the convergence of voice communication with the power of the internet by simply clicking the voice button on a business web page, enabling customers to call the business directly, without interrupting their internet sessions.This internet telephony solution bridges the internet and public switched telephone networks, to put real-time voice capability on World Wide Web pages. Nortel Networks and Matra Nortel Communications worked in conjunction with Artelcom, who implemented the new technology on the call centre platform and FranceNet, the internet service provider. The installation took just one month and La Redoute were impressed with the technology and functionality, giving their customers a host of new capabilities and functions.

The “chat”feature, written dialogue on the web, was a popular feature favoured by La Redoute, along with the “follow me browser”, which allows the agent to be on the same web pages as the calling customer and the “push web”service, enables the agent to send specific information immediately to the client.Lieven commented,”We call this additional service “Alloweb”, which is a great tool to increase internet sales. This is a service that is instantly accessible and as we already had the call centre, it was so simple to implement.”The new system has been fully operational for over a year, and “Alloweb”, has been welcomed by staff and customers alike. Current and potential customers have used Alloweb with ease, utilising this tool as a means of contacting staff about urgent inquiries, for gaining detailed information on products, placing an order or requesting technical support.

The Future.


Since the implementation and the success of the last year, Lieven has no doubt that it has dramatically increased sales turnover and customer service.Lieven commented,”We have learnt a lot about Internet and Customer Relationship Management technology through this installation – how best to utilise it and how it is used by the customers. We have also realised its potential as a marketing tool for specific times of the year, such as Christmas.

The results have been extremely positive and we have plans to capitalise on our relationship with Nortel Networks by looking at further developments,and are considering implementing Symposium in a few months.”La Redoute have also established a UK web site ( which it plans to Voice Button enable in the near future.