Retailers, let's face the challenges
of innovation together

Matthieu JOLLY
6 minutes

Miliboo is a brand of contemporary furniture.

Miliboo is a brand of contemporary furniture.

Miliboo is a brand of contemporary furniture.

Miliboo is a brand of contemporary furniture. A pure player launched in 2007, the model is based on control of the chain from start to finish: design, production and distribution of the products. On its site the brand offers two paths to purchase: 1/ conventional, the sale of finished non-customizable furniture, more than 2,500 listed products
2/ an “up to you” area for creating customizable furniture. There the web user becomes the designer of the piece of furniture. The first item marketed during the launch was a bar stool, which can be customized in over 5 million ways!
The brand opened its first bricks-and-mortar store in Paris in October 2014. Nearly a quarter of Miliboo’s customers live in the Paris region. No stock in store (apart from a few decorative items), the products are delivered to customers’ homes or to the store.
The aim of this area is to make consumers want to visit the store and

The customer's in-store experience

In an area covering 600 m2, the store offers consumers a connected experience thanks to the technological equipment at their disposal.

The Milicarte, the key to the in-store experience

Key to the experience, the “Milicarte”, an NFC loyalty card, accompanies the customer at each stage of the tour. Placed on the tablets or touch terminals installed in the store, the Milicarte lets consumers log on to their profile and get personalized reductions.

Miliboo collects positioning data for

its CRM system. If a customer spends time in the “Scandinavian section” but not in the “modern” section, the sales assistant called to assist him will know it. A visitor can also be offered a reduction for one hour on a sofa he has lingered near. When he removes the card, he is disconnected. It’s the card that offers an omni-channel experience. This role will subsequently be devolved on the smartphone when a critical mass of NFC smartphones is reached.

Tablets showcasing products

The store offers numerous tablets each matching

a section, and showcasing a room and an atmosphere. Visitors can browse, choose a piece of furniture, add it to their basket, enter their address

for delivery, finalize their purchase on the tablet, which will soon include an electronic payment terminal. Customers are also prompted to post their opinion on the products, with loyalty points awarded as an incentive.

NFC labels on each piece of furniture

Each piece of furniture bears an NFC label. Owners of NFC smartphones can just pass near the label and see the product information sheet appear, if they have downloaded the Miliboo app. They can also scan the QR code on the label to achieve the same purpose.

Kiosks to access the Miliboo catalogue

Kiosks are also at the disposal of visitors to let them view Miliboo’s entire range.

Items available in store are clearly indicated. There again, one can go as far as the purchase. And like for the tablet, a button is available to call a sales assistant.

Sales staff equipped with tablets

All sales assistants are equipped with tablets on which their receive notifications until one of them says they will assist the visitor. The sales assistant also knows the customer’s browsing history, thereby enabling him to start up a conversation when they meet.

Furniture customization services

A logical extension of the services offered on the Miliboo web site,

“Up to You” customization tools are also offered in store. Two tactile wall panels are available to customize stools or sofas. The furniture is displayed in its actual size, and each component can be customized simply by pressing the screen, which instantaneously updates the price.

There are eight real stools near the screen to allow the visitor to get an accurate idea.

For “Up to you” sofas, the principle is the same. A touch screen is used to customize all the components, update the dimensions, price and estimated date of delivery.

The production department receives orders as they arise and immediately issues the production orders. Thanks to a just-in-time process, made-to-order sofas can be delivered within one week on average

A laboratory of new trends

Again with a view to facilitating purchase decisions, Miliboo offers two interactive experiences to help consumers fit out their interior:

1/ HomeByMe, an interactive 3D experience.

HomeByMe is on online 3D fitting out service developed by 3DVIA, a Dassault Systemes group company. Miliboo has integrated its catalogue into the 3D interior design software.

2/ A virtual reality headset to go even further… When the design is completed in the software, the customer can go on a virtual tour of his “revamped” home with the Oculus Rift 3D immersion headset.

Thanks to this digital home concept, the consumer can enjoy an immersive purchase experience meant to be ultra-realistic. This service is available by appointment.

Another area of investigation, Miliboo has not contented itself with imagining the future of stores, it has also taken an interest in the future of furniture, starting with the sofa, which plays a central family role in the home.

A sofa integrating health and social interaction marks the beginnings of a reflection on the future of furniture The sofa, a prototype not yet on the market, is fitted with a remote control in the armrests for changing channels on the TV. When smartphones are placed on the armrest, they are charged by induction, while an audio system can play music via Bluetooth from a smartphone. Sensors in the sofa can adjust the seating position for all body shapes. A mobile app can determine whether

my position is ergonomic or whether I have been sitting too long!

Tomorrow, one can easily imagine that the sofa will be connected to home automation systems, for instance to dim the lights when the user sits down or starts watching a film, or to communicate with the Nest thermostat to slightly raise the temperature in the sitting room….


However, it is still hard to

assess whether the in-store customer experience is taken into consideration in mailing campaigns in due course . Without the buying act, they boil down to a simple notification of messages reminding one of the promotional advantage of the moment. So the use of data in communication campaigns is still a significant area for improvement. That is all the truer with the deployment of sales staff CRM tools in store or the Beacon technology at retail outlets.

at the point of sale. With the promise of a personalized and individualized relationship in

store, consumers will expect to see this approach, regardless of the channel of

communication (e-mail, social media, etc.). So it is a matter of comprehensively rethinking one’s

relational strategy, too often confined to special offers.

Beyond the connected point of sale, the Milibbo store underlines two other trends: – Customization, which requires some products to be relocated locally. Indeed it is worth noting that the relocation of certain companies is one of the challenges in the development of 3D printing in all areas where unique pieces are of paramount importance.

The emergence of service-centric platforms. Miliboo no longer sells a sofa but rather an experience of well-being. And this could transform its business model. Who knows whether Miliboo could position itself tomorrow like the Google of the connected home?

Matthieu JOLLY
Facing with the changes in retail, today's innovations help Matthew to think about tomorrow's relationship between the brand and the consumer.
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