The number 2020 is doubly significant for the home furnishings & accessories chain CASA. When the company split off from its parent company, Blokker Holding, in 2016 and was positioned directly under the family-owned foundation, management announced a radical innovation programme. Not only was the look & feel of the stores to be revitalised, but also
the entire range of products, the marketing and
the communications. Logistics were centralised in a brand-new, automated distribution centre in Olen. This operation was given the working title of CASA 20.20, a combination of CASA 2.0 and 2020, the year in which the metamor phosis was to take place.
In addition to creating inspiring stores - there are 462, 36 of which are in the Netherlands - the range of products was also completely overhauled: it was modernised with new, stylish collections aimed at young people and families. We also started selling larger objects, such as tables, chairs and garden lounge sets,” says Goossens. “They were delivered to customers’ homes from the point of view of convenience, but we only worked with real e-commerce on a limited scale. The new online store gave customers the chance to order some 700 larger articles; we temporarily outsourced fulfilment to a logistics service provider.”
And then it was 2020 and the coronavirus pandemic erupted. “That was a real breaking point for us. On the one hand, it was disastrous, because lockdown meant we had to close all our stores and our cash flow came under serious pressure. On the other hand, it was also a blessing, because everyone had to stay at home and they started paying more attention to their home décor.” CASA’s new range of products became very popular. To meet the enormous demand and be able to offer the end-of-year collection online too, the company decided to speed up its e-commerce plans and offer its entire range of products online in one go. This had huge logistics consequences because the company CASA had previously outsourced its fulfilment activities to was unable to take on this quantity of work. Goossens:
“There was nothing else for it than to fast-track the insourcing of our entire e-commerce activities and take on fulfilment ourselves. There was one major challenge however: the new central distribution centre in Olen had been purely set up to replenish stores.”