La Nouvelle Epicerie à Domicile, from Minitel to the Web
Small thumb of cybermarkets, Ned is a virtual convenience store that has also sown its stones outside the borders.
Shopping on the Internet is attracting more and more consumers and whets the appetite of large food retailers. In this increasingly competitive market, where Carrefour, Auchan, Cora, Galeries Lafayette and recently Intermarché are now present, only virtual brands positioned in niches manage to find a place for themselves. This is the case, for example, with Natoora. However, alongside the distribution giants and these specialists, there are still players such as the Nouvelle Epicerie à Domicile. Coming from Minitel, this very small business generates most of its turnover with customers from Parisian companies and from exports.
La Nouvelle Epicerie à Domicile (NED), a merchant site offering mainly food products, has existed since 1987. Its founder, Michel Briot, an engineer by training, had the idea of launching into distance selling at the time of the Minitel . He then sets up his department, then completes it with a paper catalog and orders by fax and telephone. First confined to Marne la Vallée, it extended deliveries to Paris and the Paris region. In 1998, he set up an in-house website on the Internet, and in 1999, he decided to open his first online store.
The company, which now employs seven people, is a pure product of new communication technologies. At no time has online sales been a complement to a physical store. NED gets its daily supplies from two wholesalers, and only stores part of the products sold in its warehouse in Bussy Saint Georges. The site now offers more than 4,000 references, or as many as Intermarche.fr.
Obviously, the ambitions are not the same. The site claims 300 active customers, and in 2004 achieved a turnover of 600,000 euros. But the profitability is there. "Our margins are very low, but the result has been positive for a long time," says the manager. Customers of the grocery store are looking above all for a service that they consider to be better than at large e-markets. "We are more expensive than the competition, but with us Internet users find interlocutors they know, and a proximity that they do not have elsewhere", indicates Michel Briot. Companies represent 30% of turnover, just like the export.
As a result, NED's customers are loyal since they regularly order for an average of 150 euros. A basket whose online grocery store has nothing to be ashamed of since it is within the average of large cybermarkets (see the key figures of the main French players). This relatively comfortable amount also allows it to offer delivery costs to all Internet users living in Paris and 80 cities in the Paris suburbs placing an order of at least 90 euros. This area is delivered directly by NED. For other cities located within a radius of 150 kilometers around Paris, orders must however be greater than 300 euros and delivery costs vary from 15 to 35 euros. The online grocery store also serves the province and abroad. But, in these two cases, the offer is limited to 2,200 references and NED delegates delivery to the Post Office and UPS.
In the Paris region, the clientele of individuals is rather family. But this segment is not the most dynamic. For NED, growth comes mainly from companies, which already represent 30% of its turnover. These include law firms, banks or the liberal professions that use the grocery store for basic foodstuffs, such as water, coffee and cookies.
NED has also been active in exports since 2001, while the store's products have no regional specificity. Even more surprisingly, while the site sells a lot of tea internationally, the wine is not successful. What are foreign customers looking for? "In general, these are people who have come to France and who have kept fond memories of it, explains Michel Briot. The products they are looking for are fairly classic, they want to find what they had consumed there." Export represents between 25 and 30% of NED's turnover. Germany accounts for 50% of orders. The United Kingdom and the United States are the other two income-generating countries.
Traffic that the site mainly owes to sponsored links on search engines, but also to newspaper advertisements and a monthly newsletter. So many tools that bring to the site 31,000 visits per month according to its founder. Raphaële KARAYAN, JDN
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Euro-ned.com: the grocer is around the corner of the web
It is the small challenger of the big online supermarkets, historical competitor of Tememarket. Created in 1987 on the same model as the latter, Euro-Ned took to the Internet three years ago. “The Internet was a natural extension of our fax and telephone activities,” explains Michel Briot, manager of this original grocery store. We work with cash & carry wholesalers, mainly Metro France, and we are a little more expensive than a hypermarket (between 15% and 20%). But above all, we offer a quality service, with full deliveries and always at the requested times. We know our few hundred customers very well, who are very loyal. »With 4000 referenced products and an annual turnover of 3 million francs, Euro-ned has been able to find a very targeted commercial niche. “The big online supermarkets have created the market with their massive communication media, and we have caught customers who were disappointed with their start-up failures. This year we have experienced growth of 50% and the Internet already represents 30% of our activity. »Enthuses this new kind of grocer. By covering Paris and its region and by ensuring the deliveries itself, the company ensures the quality of the service. "In our boxes, we have ideas of regrouping with traders in the rest of France".
"Computer" my love - Michel, the entrepreneurial grocer
"We were waiting for the market to take off, that's it!" Michel Briot, 43, left L'Oréal in 1987 to set up a virtual grocery store that delivered telephone orders to homes. Since November 1998, orders can be ordered on its site. It is the gradual reversal of the economic situation that decided it to bet on digital. "Since the price of computers and subscriptions has fallen, our clientele has become more democratic. And therefore expanded." Currently, the company's profits are increasing by 10%. "I am going to hire again, renew my equipment and continue to develop sales to European countries."
Aurélie Gaudefroy .