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THE BACKGROUND AND PHILOSOPHY 

  • Laurence, you set up AuCoeurDuLuxe (ACDL) in 2009. Tell us about your founding principles and about the journey since. 

AuCoeurDuLuxe stands for in the “Heart of Luxury”, we believe people are a key factor of success for brands and retailers. Our mission is to unlock front line staff potential through innovative training solutions. Since 2009 we have delivered +40000 hours of face to face trainings and +15000h digital learning. We have proudly partnered with 100+ brands and retailers with a  87 % satisfaction rate (NPS index)  Our footprint keeps expanding with offices and experts in 20 markets over 3 continents : America, EMEA and Asia.  

Since day one, we have always believed in insights-driven course recommendations and relevant, high-quality contents. We have our own Retail Analytics department to feed our team of training experts with markets/customers update. Main groups have outsourced us their content creation to keep up with market changes.  

In 2017, we launched our own App ACDL: THE ACADEMY a mobile first learning solution for front line staff. We provide seamless experience to several Travel Retail sales teams such as Pernod Ricard and LVMH  

In 2020 we are proud to collaborate on 2 projects for marginalized women and children and to help them succeed through education 

  • Your key areas of focus are retail analytics, training content, talent outsourcing and digital learning but they converge around a common mission – to ensure that sales staff are trained to deliver (and do deliver) a memorable experience to every customer. Let’s start by defining what you mean by a ‘memorable experience’ – what are the keys to achieving that? 

Customer centricity is at the core of any successful experience. Believing that customers just come in Travel Retail with a shopping list and do not care about experience is at the opposite of any surveys results. From what we monitored in the last 2 years is +70% shoppers are influenced by the front line staff. A memorable experience engages each customer in an inherently personal way and thereby create a positive memory and willingness to come back and to buy more. To achieve this , we keep analysing gaps between what customers want and what they get as well as front line staff skills and attitude. And we design a training solution.  

  

What makes the ACDL training/learning approach unique? We do not consider one solution fits all needs. Travel retail is unique. Every stakeholder has its own strategy that we are here to support. Our Agile methodology is based on analysis and innovation. We listen to our customers and provide them with long lasting solutions that benefit every stakeholder. We are experts in several inductries and markets but we know as well to decline a collaboration when we believe we are not the best for it. Some of our solutions focus on building knowledge, some on mindset change, all integrate neuroscience and industry expertise to insure solution sticks. 

  

  • ACDL specialises in 4 key premium and luxury segments: Fashion, Watch & Jewellery, Wine & Spirit and Cosmetics – I presume you cannot take any kind of templated approach across such diverse categories and yet there will obviously be common principles. Can you talk us through some of the differences and challenges? Generic vs dedicated staff, staff retention, scalability are common challenges to any industry From our experience, many companies struggle to keep their staff engaged and trained to accelerate the sales and customer experience impact . Different industries come with different number of product launches. In travel retail, staff need to be able to know each new product features and price difference by market, travel allowance (…) to serve the worldwide travelers. Unfortunately, staff have so many things to learn, providing engaging content is key to keep them motivated to learn. 
  • You also cross nationalities and geographies – 20 markets in all. Tell us about the cultural challenges of working across languages and lands. 

This is actually very energizing and positive what diversity brings to our group. I have to admit thought, I probably have too many frequent flyer memberships! 

  • Your model has evolved from traditional learning to continuous learning experience – again please talk us through what exactly is involved in continuous learning in terms of structure, assessment and so on.  
  • Since day one, our model ARDIE [Assess, Recommend Design Implement Evaluate] tends to consider you need time to build skills and you need evaluation to know where to focus. “Intellectual growth should commence at birth and only cease at death”, Albert Einstein. 

With a App, the learning becomes easier and more accessible to all. Staff can access their content from anywhere and at anytime. Games are used to evaluate skills and learners receive course recommendations tailored to them through push notifications. They can “like” contents and share their scores with their peers. ACDL analyses data such as engagement level, success rate to create new contents that fulfil staff’s needs. In the millennials era, bite-size contents, gamification and social learning are key. Companies need to be learner centric to get the most of their training budget. 

  

THE COVID FACTOR 

  • How has COVID-19 changed the way staff will need to interact with customers in future? And how has it therefore changed the way you train? 

As identified by leading consulting groups, more time at home and Covid19 led to cocooning mode, online simplicity, value debate and insecurity. In our latest “NEW NORMAL” training series, we provide insight-based-solutions to front line staff to answer these new customers behaviors and needs.  

From a staff perspective, the Global pandemic lockdown accelerated learning for leisure and enhanced engagement with Brand Consultants: Time spent in the app increased +4308% vs same period last year 

  

THE JOURNEY SO FAR – AND INTO THE FUTURE 

  • Tell us about some of your success stories to date. Highlight of the 11-year journey? 
  1. Since 2006, we are Pernod Ricard GTR learning partner and we have accomplished great successes. We are very proud of the results, which are actually presented at the Pernod Ricard GTR booth “Future of retail” in the Moodie Travel Retail Show. On average Pernod Ricard Brand Consultants have spent +1321 minutes on the ACDL app developing their selling skills and brand knowledge. 
  1. We have set up Richemont Retail Academy in 2012 in Shanghai and keep expanding the concept in other markets 
  1. We have convinced several LVMH brands of the benefits of Mobile Learning when it was still almost unknown and we are proud to have +90% learners engagement a Givenchy Asia 
  1. At ACDL, training is an industry where you need to care about people. My favorite reward, is when I meet brand consultants and they thank me for what they learned on the ACDL app and how this is bringing positive impact in their life/growth?. 
  • Where next for ACDL? 

We believe that everyone deserves the best trainings, this is crucial to boost sales and control budgets. We are launching our first curated library for premium brands’ front line staff; topics vary from onboarding to specific skills building. We cover any needs with specific solutions: travel retail, brand, retailer , across the industries. 

To support trainers with the skills of tomorrow, we are also launching a webinar series about how to transition from face to face to digital learning. 

Embracing Microsoft’s vision statement “one computer in every home”: we are collecting used computers to equip children in needs to support home schooling. We have collected over 100 computers so far and our target is to triple by the end of the year… 

  

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