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  • Emmanuelle Serrano

"We still have plenty of room for international expansion"

David Dayan is the co-founder of online events retailer Showroomprivé.com, which was set up in 2006. He is also CEO of the group, which is listed on Euronext Paris.

We take a closer look at the platform's international ambitions and its ACE (Adapt, Consolidate, Expand) strategy.

By 2022, Showroomprivé will have achieved gross sales (including VAT) of almost €950 million, and net sales of €657 million. We are just a few weeks away from the end of the year. How are things looking?

Even if we are affected by the current inflationary environment, we are still well positioned, because our business model is adapted to this difficult period when Europeans are careful with their spending but still want to buy good quality branded products at good prices. Customers have tight budgets, and we have to do a better job of winning them over. Nearly 150 sales staff travel throughout France and the rest of Europe to find them. Our promise is twofold: to offer great deals and great brands, while providing a business relay for the brands, which sell their unsold goods through us. This helps to drive traffic to their shops and websites. The festive season in particular is a key time for all e-commerce players, including us. Customers often anticipate their Christmas purchases. They spread them out over November and early December to take account of brand delivery times. We generate between 30% and 40% of our annual sales during the festive season. We currently work with nearly 2,500 brands. Not only do we have some very well-known and sought-after brands like Nike, Levis, Adidas and Etam, but also niche brands like Tara Jarmon, Maje and Sandro. For them, our platform - which has over a million registered members and between 1.5 and 2 million visitors - is an asset for retail media and the actions that brands want to take with this target group. Our advertising network is also working very well, and is a major driver of new business.

Has the Group Executive Committee also been renewed?

Has the Group Executive Committee also been renewed? Yes. After the departure of my partner Thierry Petit [editor's note co-founder of Showroomprivé with David Dayan] from the company's capital at the end of 2022, a new page is being turned for the company, with new members on the renewed comex and a project that is, of course, based on the same fundamentals but is also being transformed with acquisitions such as Beauté privée and its very large beauty fan community or, more recently, The Bradery, a fine company that is growing very well with a model that is very focused on social networks, young urbanites and millennials.

The Group has diversified into travel and leisure. Has this decision paid off?

Given the large number of visitors to our platform every day, we thought it would be a good idea to add new verticals that are working very well and complementing our core business. Travel has been on an upward curve (+18%) since the first half of the year. It's a real success story. We also wanted to emphasise the marketplace dimension, where we sell stock but also products at very good prices, slightly more recent than those sold as part of flash sales. The marketplace has also seen growth (+58%) since the start of the year.

"We generate between 30% and 40% of our sales during the festive season."

The Showroomprivé website was created with the aim of helping brands to find new ways of selling off their unsold goods. What do you think of the boom in second-hand goods?

Our business fits in quite well with this circular economy, because it also consists of recycling products that have not been sold by retailers. We have 200 employees who refurbish items every day. We need to do a better job of explaining this aspect of our business, because it's not sufficiently well known. A year ago, we launched Second Show, a programme that puts members who want to refurbish their products in touch with players who specialise in this area, which we promote. We also sell a lot of reconditioned products, such as telephones, high-tech appliances and luxury clothing. Over 250,000 items have been recovered since the programme was launched. The difference between Vinted and us is that we have a B2B relationship with the brands. With Second Show, we are reconciling brands and second-hand goods. Customers return their products via these players, who specialise in the trade-in/retail of worn clothing, and can spend the vouchers they receive with these brands.

You currently operate in 7 countries. What does the European e-commerce landscape look like from your window?

In terms of vitality, dynamism and prospects... We still have plenty of room for international expansion. Since the start of the year, Showroomprivé's growth outside France has been 11%. We have been present in Italy since 2016, following the acquisition of Saldi Privati. French brands are popular internationally. Our strategy is to introduce these brands to a wider European audience, which has also been hit hard by inflation. We have hired managers in various countries, including Spain, Italy and Belgium. In the first half of 2024, we will be stepping up our commercial conquest.

What are the main pillars of your "smart shopping" strategy?

Our value proposition is "smart", we are part of an economy that has circularity characteristics since we sell products that are already manufactured and that are not specially manufactured for Internet users and customers. Finally, our customers can find affinity brands on our site that match their values (CSR, sport, etc.). Internally, we have also put in place a strategic plan called "ACE" (Adaptation, Consolidation, Expansion). We are adapting to the demands of our customers, who want to navigate our platform more easily, for example: the user experience on our site has become faster and more pleasant over time. We have almost a billion euros in GMV, 17 years in business, 20 million members and several tens of millions of orders and products delivered every year. We have consolidated these assets through a range of levers (marketing, sales, etc.) and we are growing them by conquering new territories and developing existing ones.

How do you feel about Chinese platforms like Temu or Shein? Do they worry you?

The danger of these platforms is that they get people used to a business model that is not sustainable, with extremely low prices, mediocre quality, and random sourcing. For our part, we operate in highly regulated environments that require us to be beyond reproach when it comes to the treatment of our employees, the origin of our suppliers, the quality of our products, the RGPD, and the handling of customer data, whereas these platforms don't give a damn. It's pretty unfair competition. Showroomprivé is lucky in that it deals directly with the brands and is far removed from all that, but for other players with a more discount positioning, it's complicated.

"The aim is to create value so that people are proud to buy products on our site that have a real, strong brand identity."

What is your vision of social networks? What does the e-commerce strategy of TikTok inspire in you?

Social networks are essential for building an audience, attracting new customers, talking about products and the brand, but they're not our competitors because they don't have the expertise of an e-tailer. In our relationship with brands, we talk to them, draw up a plan, and take a series of measures and actions in partnership with them. Through our programme, for example, we call on well-known influencers and give them the floor for a week on the Showroomprivé website. They choose the products they'd like to suggest to their followers and we write articles based on their community. What works really well is when influencers take the floor on Showroomprivé and create their own showroom on our site. It's highly descriptive for the brands and even for the influencers, because it's an exclusive offer.

What do you see as the major challenges facing retail in the future?

We have to adapt to changes in consumer behaviour. That's why we're striving for a site that's extremely user-friendly, easy to navigate and well organised. This may seem obvious, but it represents a huge amount of work. The product mix has to be effective and optimised, with clear brand differences. The aim is to create value so that people are proud to buy products on our site that have a strong brand identity. Today, it's not possible to position yourself solely as a site offering great brands. We also need to have our own identity. We need to be a retailer in our own right, creating a relationship of trust with consumers through a multitude of actions, whether CSR-oriented or aimed at other areas. You have to create desire for the site so the brands sells. Brands that no longer generate this - and we have seen many that have suffered to the point of disappearing recently - had lost this dimension. Finally, we need to 'premiumise' the offer, not by selling for more but by providing more value.

When you're not working for your company, what do you like to do to distract yourself and get away from it all?

I do a lot of running. It allows me to get away and think. I also like chess because it's a fascinating game that teaches strategy, patience and reflection. And then there's reading, quite simply. I spend a lot of time reading current affairs to try and keep in touch with the zeitgeist. I recently read 'Pour aller dans le bon sens' by Christopher Guérin, CEO of Nexans, who managed to turn the company around in a quite incredible way. In his book, he discusses the 3E theory of Economy, Environment and Commitment. He shows that it is entirely possible to grow a company by remaining attentive to these principles of commitment and ecology. I enjoyed this book because it helps me to take a step back. In a completely different genre, I also really enjoyed "Sur les chemins noirs" by Sylvain Tesson. After a terrible accident, he disconnected himself from everything to cross France on foot. In today's hyper-connected world, it's a fascinating way to escape from everyday life.

  • Born in 1973

  • 2006 Launch of Showroomprivé, the fruit of the entrepreneurial adventure of two founders, Thierry Petit and David Dayan, with complementary backgrounds and expertise in digital and fashion.

  • 2015 IPO of Showroomprivé on the Euronext Paris market.

  • 2017 Acquisition of Beauté Privée.

  • 2022 David Dayan, co-founder, Chairman and CEO, acquires a further stake in SRP Groupe after Thierry Petit withdraws.

  • May 2022 Acquisition of The Bradery, a platform specialising in premium event-based sales aimed primarily at millennials.

  • 2023 Renewal of the Executive Committee and roll-out of the ACE (Adapt, Consolidate, Extend) roadmap.

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