The daily life of a supermarket

Understanding the daily practices and processes of an Intermarché store to identify the levers to implement a new omnichannel strategy.


The ambition: reconceiving the shopping experience in all its dimensions

We’ve been supporting Intermarché in its digital transformation since 2015. Our goal is to conceive an omni-channel customer experience - to do so, we challenge the traditional opposition between physical and digital.

Our first step was to start with better understanding people's needs. Thanks to the ethnographic methods we use at unknowns, we conducted an in-depth study of shopping practices, going as far as possible in our understanding of the lived experience.

We extended the research beyond the only experience or time of the purchase - to also include the preparation of those errands, the home management and organization, and the various arbitrations of the people in everyday life which interested our team. Those criteria allowed us to analyze the errands in all their specificities to begin to outline the ideal shopping experience.

Intermarché represents:

1200 Intermarché members in France

1800 shops in France and more than 2300 in Europe

1300 Drives in France


The beginning of difficulties... and an intuition!

At the end of this first stage, many perspectives arised, while new difficulties emerged. Beyond the specificities of the Mousquetaires group (membership model, in-store picking model for e-commerce...) we understood the gap that could exist between the ambitions of an ideal omni-channel shopping experience and the reality of the field. From then on, our objective was to seek in the reality of the field - the reality faced by the members, the reality of the functioning of the stores and the different levers of improvement of the e-commerce performance. Because the improvement of the internal practice is a crucial condition for the success of the future omni-channel platform, and the improvement of the business performance as a whole. And because there are sources of cost reduction and / or increase in revenue contained into identifying and generalizing good practices or eradicating bad ones.

The success of a digital strategy, as relevant as it may be, lies in the fine understanding of business practices and their integration. Otherwise, the vision may stumble over field resistances that will be difficult to overcome. As Marc Boulangé, Digital Director at Intermarché notes: "we can have the best digital devices in the world for customers, if the store operations do not follow, it will be useless. "

Intermarché is on average :

A 2000 m² surface

About 50 people at work in a point of sale

4 store formats: hyper, super, contact, express

The challenge: understanding the businesses and processes of Intermarché stores in order to identify the obstacles and levers for the implementation of the digital transformation strategy.


An exhaustive cartography of the everyday life of an Intermarché

We embarked on a vast program of visits to stores, criss-crossing France and conducting our observations in situ. About 70 interviews with members and their staff were done (drive managers, drive operators, butchery managers and fishmongers, etc.). These observations and interviews first aimed at understanding the daily lives of shop owners, to put ourselves in their shoes to experience the problems they face everyday. We were as interested in their vision of the business, as in the operational issues they face, their apprehensions about the digital world and their strategies to carry out their business.

Our approach was to avoid ruling anything out of the scope of our investigation in order to trace, finally, the daily life of an Intermarché, without obliterating any detail of the business, ranging from personnel management to shelving, to stock management, the drive, the logistics organization etc. Many topics on regarding which each Intermarché manager has his own way of doing things. From the observation of a multiplicity of different ways of doing things, we were able to identify constants and model the system of a supermarket through its various workstations and processes. We also uncovered the blocking points in the current relationship to digital, in a context where innovations directed at customers represent additional complexities that have to be managed and optimized.

What we did:

21 points of sale visited

66 Interviews

2 to 3 hour-long sessions


Customer experience at the heart of digital transformation

The study we conducted was both ambitious and rich in insights that can be immediately activated. Our approach presupposes a fine collaboration between ethnographic, business and digital skills, and allowed us to reinforce our convictions: all the transformation topics of the company are based on customer experience, and it impacts all aspects at once: organization, marketing, purchasing, communication, HR …

In this context, the multiplicity of practices is a real heritage for organizations, who benefit in organizing a meticulous collection of ways of doing things on the ground. The answers to singular problems are as many sources of innovations that can be used to enrich a solid and truly differentiating digital proposition.


Multidisciplinary team

Anthropology and research expertise

Formalization of complex processes

In short: As part of this mission, we carried out a study to understand the daily life and businesses of an Intermarché. The purpose was to test the digital transformation strategy by including all the singularity of the different practices.

  • Identification of levers to improve e-commerce performance.
  • Identification of blocking points.
  • The customer experience at the heart of our approach.

Each project is unique

We do not apply ready-made recipes. Rather the opposite - we strive to adapt our methods to each subject we study.

Let's take time to analyze your needs and define your goals together!