Even before the COVID lockdowns started in 2020 and global retailers were pivoting to online sales, the Leroy Merlin team was looking for ways to improve customers’ online shopping experience. The retailer sells home decor, furniture, lighting — pretty much anything under the umbrella of Do-It-Yourself home improvement. With 25 years in business, 30 million annual store visitors and aspirations to be the Home Depot or Lowe’s of Poland, Leroy Merlin put the online customer experience at the forefront of its strategy.
Leroy Merlin has always had an omnichannel approach to delivering a great customer experience, knowing shoppers combine brick-and-mortar visits with e-commerce. In late 2019, the team was looking for a way to improve the desktop and mobile shopping experience. They wanted to replicate the in-person experience of seeing the sizes, shapes and colors of home improvement items, hoping it would give online customers the confidence to add those items to their digital cart.
Leroy Merlin had a two-pillar e-commerce strategy:
1. Increase conversions
2. Reduce customer returns
Simply stated and somewhat universal, the two goals would work in tandem to increase revenue as the global trend toward online shopping continued.
Getting more purchases per site visitor is a big part of any e-commerce strategy. “Increase conversions, that is my mantra,” says Michal Wójcik, Leroy Merlin’s Head of e-commerce. Getting customers visiting Leroy Merlin’s website to feel confident with the size and suitability of their potential purchases was imperative to increasing the amount each customer spent.
The 2020 COVID lockdowns barred visitors from going in-person to the Leroy Merlin shops, so being able to compare sizes of items gave customers an experience that was more similar to in-person retail. Increasing conversions needed to also work alongside reducing the number of returns that could eat into profits.
In the DIY home repair market, returns can be a costly expense. Homeowners aren’t necessarily sure what they need, so they overbuy in the hopes of not finding themselves stuck without a critical piece. Leroy Merlin deals with large volumes of orders that often have a large number of items. If a customer is redoing a kitchen, for instance, they aren’t just going to purchase one light fixture, but several, plus the bulbs and the tools to install them. The company also has to stock a wide range of SKUs.
Covering the shipping costs for all of those pieces — or even half —to be returned to the warehouse affects budget estimates. For Leroy Merlin, being able to accurately show customers a product’s size, shape and look compared to other items is crucial for reducing the amount of order returns.
Leroy Merlin’s e-commerce team is very open to trying new tech, and Tangiblee seemed like a natural solution. “We are always trying new tools, plugins and functionalities in e-commerce,” says Wójcik. “We wanted to improve conversion rates in specific categories, like decorations, so we gave Tangiblee a try.” Tangiblee started the process of onboarding Leroy Merlin for an initial test in August of 2019.
Tangiblee’s immersive shopping experience has been on the site since.
Tangiblee’s easy and flexible onboarding was important for a company with high seasonality and product turnover. Every few months, the stock changes. It wouldn’t make sense for Leroy Merlin to photograph every lawn mower and snow blower. But with Tangiblee, customers can automatically see those items in visualizations that help them make a purchase decision.
"Onboarding was easy because everything was done on Tangiblee's side," said Wójcik.
“There were two or three points where we double-checked everything and we designed the buttons and dashboards, but that was it. It was really quick to get started.”
Flexibility and open communication have remained the key to a successful partnership between Tangiblee and Leroy Merlin. In the beginning, the interactive solution showed items inside of a house for scale. Quickly, however, the data revealed that it was a better experience to show the size of items next to other items, giving the customer a better sense of relative size before ordering.
Leroy Merlin is a very tech-forward e-commerce retailer and keeps up with how the Tangiblee experience is benefiting their work often. “I often check to see if there are any mistakes or pain points from our customer’s point of view. When using Tangiblee, nothing is wrong,” says Wójcik.
"I can't imagine turning off the Tangiblee experience on our site."
Currently, Leroy Merlin only uses the Tangiblee solution on certain SKUs. That allows for a great comparison — purchases and returns of products that are purchased using Tangiblee can be compared directly with those that don’t. According to Wójcik, “The items with Tangiblee are doing really well.”
As of today, Tangiblee’s solution is helping with both of the retailer’s goals and positively influencing important metrics:
Leroy Merlin’s pursuit of great e-commerce experience paired with their openness to try new technology will hopefully bring more success in their partnership with Tangiblee. “Ryan [Tangiblee Director of Accounts] is always trying to have conversations about new features and ideas with us,” says Wójcik.
This includes potentially expanding into new markets Leroy Merlin has stores and adapting Tangiblee to work with other elements in DIY home improvement like paint or flooring. Additionally, Leroy Merlin is expanding its use of Tangiblee's Lifestyle Scene features - allowing the retailer to display their products in real-life, lifestyle scenes or settings.
Leroy Merlin is based in Lille, France and has more than 400 home improvement stores in 12 countries across the globe. Additionally, the 100-year-old retailer has recently announced plans to expand it's e-commerce marketplace across multiple continents, adding additional locales and storefronts across the world.