Retail Companies Reinventing Themselves or New Players


To identify four non-obvious examples of either retail companies reinventing themselves or new players entering the market (specifically in the Netherlands, Belgium and France) that are leveraging digital tools and data to increase customer experience or are entering adjacent markets to continue growing for the purposes of inspiring a workshop audience.

Early Findings

Preliminary research identified two retailers that are reinventing themselves in France and Belgium and are leveraging digital tools and data to increase customer experience or are entering adjacent markets.


  • Etam is a French women's fashion company that operates in France and 39 other countries.
  • The challenge Etam needed to solve was getting online shoppers to shop in-store and convert sales.
  • The company offers a free in-store personal shopping experience that allows customers to spend 30 minutes with a fashion consultant to help them find clothing they both like and look attractive in.
  • Customers fill out a questionnaire online that allows them to pick their preferred store and consultation time, along with clothing style preferences so the store can be ready with choices before the customer arrives.
  • This tactic streamlines the customer experience between online shopping and in-store shopping and is the "type of personalization is exactly what today’s customer is interested in seeing online and will ultimately get them to visit the store."
  • In addition, when the customer provides information on the questionnaire, Etam can use this data to provide other personalized services for the customer down the road.


  • Tom&Co is a pet food retailer that operates in Belgium, France, and Luxembourg.
  • One challenge that Tom&Co was facing was competing with national brands that could offer lower prices on pet products.
  • Rather than selling only the Tom&Co brand, the company decided to also sell national brands, but only those that unique and add value to Tom&Co's customer.
  • Its supplier philosophy is that it seeks "which will generate value-creation in the long term, and expect [its] partners to contribute to the company’s commercial strategy. [Their] role as retailers is to make the best selection for [their] customers."
  • In addition, Tom&Co has focused on establishing a clear link between its online business and its stores. One way the company is enticing people to come into the store is to offer a discount for customers who "use the website as a tool to prepare their store visit or order online", but choose to pick their order up in the store.
  • The company's omnichannel business focus allows it to design an online shopping experience that "can support the brick-and-mortar business."
  • Moreover, Tom&Co believes that "customer needs should always be monitored carefully. A concept that may work for customers in France may not be that appealing to the Belgian clientele."
  • Innovative brick-and-mortar retailers that want to compete with online-only companies must "have the flexibility to adapt to changing customer needs."

Research proposal:

Only the project owner can select the next research path.
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