With the MTL+Ecommerce #30 Anniversary Edition approaching, we decided to give our readers a foretaste of the event by interviewing Corinne Lalonde, e-commerce manager at m0851 and speaker at the upcoming event. This well-known company designs and makes in Montreal a wide range of leather bags, accessories and outerwears. Established in 1987, m0851 will soon celebrate its 30th anniversary. What caused this company to get on a such successful path? Corinne Lalonde’s expertise will certainly provide us a first clue before the event.
1- Could you tell me more about your role within that company?
I am the e-commerce manager at m0851 and my objective is to make the e-business grow. I am in charge of everything that touches the web from digital advertising, back-end management to social media and customer service. We work a lot in team so i am not by myself.
2- What makes m0851’s e-shop successful?
There are a lot of things involved. m0851 is a life project, a family company where mutual help is important. Every actor can flourish in the enterprise and bring his own touch. Teamwork really contributes to m0851 success. We also work hard with partners wich are experts in their field that support and challenge our ideas. Finally, it is our diversification strategy that makes our success.
3- How does m0851 improve user experience everyday?
We stand behind our products and this is why we offer a one year warranty on every product; afterwards we offer a repair service through our stores. Since the web has risen, m0851 uses all the touch points with its customer which means that we are everywhere the customers wants us to be to help and advise them. We can answer those questions quickly. Online, we are working on the user experience. That is my next mission.
4- What is the role of the e-shop compared to physical stores for m0851? Are they two different things or do they follow the same path?
We, in facts, have three different models: the corporate shops, the franchises and the e-shop. The last one is a complement because it is often an entrance for people to the brand. They come to get information on the products, to learn about our manufacturing process or our history. This will convince them to come in the store and purchase. This is a complete cycle for the consumer.
5- The fashion industry is very competitive, how does m0851 manage to stand out?
m0851 had a strong brand image for a while and we respect it in everything that we do. The image stayed authentic. All products are locally built and respect a long process so we end up with quality products. This is what people are looking for. This is what differentiates us from our competitors and the retailers that do similar things. We are not afraid to take risks and do things differently. Innovation through experimentation helps us differentiate.
6- The customers are more and more demanding and their expectations keep changing. How does m0851 adapt to this trend?
As I said earlier, we’ve been giving our customers what they are looking for for 30 years: authentic, high quality and Canada-made products. That’s why we are always able to get new customers.
7- Which companies are you inspired by?
We really like what Everlane, a California-based enterprise that creates clothes in a totally transparent way, does. They let the customers know why they are paying that price. Personally, in terms of design, i really like Mango and Zara. In terms of experience, i like Asos. They have a ton of different products, but the buying process is clear and direct, and that speaks to me. I really enjoy Bespoke for men. They developed a brand image that is on point, that the customer can identify to.
8- Do you see new opportunities and possible developments in the e-commerce industry? What about m0851’s e-shop?
At the moment, we are talking a lot about big data analysis, which we use to optimize websites and personalize the customer experience. It is a step in the right direction, but we still think that user experience is linear while we know that a website is everything but linear. The web is not only a book that you go through, it is multidimensional and you can do whatever you want of it. Each and everybody has his own universe on a website. So customization is good, but it is wide and we do not create interactive experiences on a website. So that is an opportunity that is yet to be developed.
The fact that we do not use our 5 senses on the web is also a problem. How do i make a person feel or smell the leather? Leather is very emotional and we can work on that. There are a lot of good opportunities to take. At m0851, we will try to give a new web experience that will be introduced on Thursday.
9- To conclude, would you have any advices for a company that wants to start its own e-shop?
Being accompanied is really important. Having a trustful partner with certification, and mostly not be afraid to ask for help and experience to other e-commerce company, especially in Montreal where the community is small, is the key before you start your e-commerce. Once you have somebody to help you, don’t be scared to try new things.
Thank you to the second speaker of the event Corinne Lalonde for allowing us to learn more about m0851 and for sharing her experience about e-commerce. We appreciate her time and we are looking forward to listening to her presentation on Thursday.