This column previously appeared in Cross-Border Magazine Nr.4, October 2017
Henk Teunissen, CEO and founder of Rivièra Maison talks to us what it means to create an experience on all consumer touchpoints.
It all started in a flower shop…
It did. In 1975, I started to work in my parents’ flower shop. Ten years later I became the owner. During that time, I bought a container of pots in Malaysia and sold them in the Netherlands. They were extremely popular. It was the start of us selling home decoration. A few years later, in 1993, we opened our first store, selling furniture and decoration. Nowadays, we have eighteen stores in the Netherlands, four in Germany, two in Norway and a total of more than 600 outlets worldwide.
What about Rivièra Maison’s e-commerce adventure?
Until 2012, our webstore worked as a franchise organisation. Online was not as important as it is now, and besides that, we didn’t have a lot of knowledge about it. It was in 2013 when we really started working with the webshop, which we combined with our website a year later. Now our shop is running on a Magento platform and it is our biggest shop. Cross-border, our German webshop is growing continuingly, together with the growth of our brand.
One of our biggest challenges is to remain innovative in terms of design and style, because if we fail to renew ourselves, we will notice this instantly. Another challenge is to keep growing cross-border. We offer a full concept, all based on experience – we try to express that both online and offline. Customers want to be able to shop on a convenient time for them, at any place and any time they wish.
How do you support your e-commerce business operationally?
We have an in-house e-commerce team that focuses on the daily online business. To provide the same service online as we have in our brick stores, we have hired a customer service team to help answer questions and help our customers. Besides that, we reorganised our logistic processes so we can handle more webshop orders. We have also looked at the way we were packing our products and the packing materials we were using, as some of our products are very fragile and we have been considering the possibilities to pack them in a way to minimalize the occurrence of damage. We have partnered with Ranpak, who were able to provide us with packing materials we could use for all our fragile products.
Riviera Maison focuses on an unpacking experience. How do you do that?
At Rivièra Maison, everything is about creating a vibe and experience. One of these aspects is unpacking a webshop order. We pack each online order in a special designed Rivièra Maison box, as opposed to a standard brown box. When opening the box, customers smell a scent of our Rivièra Maison home fragrance, the Ibiza fragrance. Ordered products are packed in liquid paper, accompanied by some small decoration depending on the season. In fall, we add pinecones, in summer it’s shells.
What is the big benefit of this unpacking experience?
Customers recognize our way of packing – they experience this as a little party. Besides that, our customers can identify that we have sent them their order. The Ibiza fragrance is also spread in our stores and as all of our boxes get a little bit of this fragrance, they get the real Rivièra Maison feeling. The way of packing and the decoration make it a unique experience when you get your order delivered at home. We provide the same experience in our stores, where gifts are beautifully and exuberantly packed.
Where do you see Riviera Maison in five years?
We want to grow, mainly in Germany and Scandinavia. Opening more stores and expanding the number of places where people can buy our products from. We expect that our online channel will grow, but our brick stores will still exist. The way we see things, online and offline will blend together. Our ultimate goal is to make Rivièra Maison a worldwide known brand.