The Bart Smit retail format specialises in toys and entertainment items for children and anyone who is young at heart. In addition to the traditional toys, games and gifts, Bart Smit sells multimedia items, mainly video games.
Total sales in the Netherlands were up slightly in 2014, despite a number of store closings. The main driver behind these higher sales is the higher online sales revenues. The Belgian stores experienced a slight decline in sales, making it a challenging year in Belgium.
CLOSE TO THE CUSTOMER WITH CONTEMPORARY FORMATS
Bart Smit and marketing research firm TNS/NIPO conducted a market survey in order to better adapt the format to customer needs. One of the retailer’s objectives is to get even closer to the customer – and remaining there. The year under review also saw the launch of the ’t Juiste cadeau, altijd raak! (The right gift, always a winner!) branding campaign.
ONLINE INFORMATION POINT
In order to further increase online and offline conversion rates, the webshop switched to the shared group platform in early 2014. The online product range was further expanded at the same time.
By year-end 2014, 25 stores opened an online kiosk, also known as online information point. The full Bart Smit online product range is now also available to customers in these stores. This means sales staff rarely have to turn away customers anymore telling them that an item is not available.
OPERATIONAL EXCELLENCE WITH OPEN AND COMMITTED TEAMS
Bart Smit made considerable efforts to improve its business operations in 2014. For one, it worked hard on implementing an automatic reordering system for its stores, which has been operational since early 2015.
The transition to the new ERP/BI environment, with the option of automatic reorders, has been an important strategic step for Bart Smit as a fully-fledged omnichannel retailer.
More efficient e-fulfilment continued to pay off in 2014. Meanwhile, Bart Smit also closed a number of unprofitable stores and took various measures to increase franchise fees, including by negotiating more favourable lease terms. In order to gain greater control over the product range and working capital, the administrative processes have been further streamlined during the year under review and the quality of the information provision is improved, which will be further enhanced with the launch of the new ERP/BI system. The reduction of the truck fleet completed in 2013 also paid off in 2014.
Bart Smit fosters a culture with open and committed employees. In order to strengthen these qualities, a number of measures are taken in 2014. This includes increasing communications with staff and managing various HR processes with greater professionalism. Bart Smit’s high-performance culture is preserved throughout.
ACTIVITIES AND OUTLOOK FOR 2015
The format will be further defined and implemented in the stores in 2015. Furthermore, the retailer will analyse what elements the toy and entertainment format will require in the future. Bart Smit will also take additional measures to align its logistics and e-fulfilment processes with the solid online growth. The new web environment will be further perfected while the product range has become more accessible thanks to the automatic reordering system.
SLIGHT RECOVERY IN THE MARKET
The toy and multimedia market is expected to improve slightly in 2015. Although a craze such as the Loom bands does not occur every year, innovations in the traditional toy market nevertheless look promising.
Bart Smit store in Mortsel, Belgium.