In the eyes of Aurélien Potherat, head of the Marseille PADD.
Aurélien, your personal history is closely linked to that of the horse.
It's true, I discovered the horse when I was 8 years and since then, we have never left each other! When it came to choosing a profession, I went to an agricultural school in Saint-Flour, with a horse riding option. At the same time, and as I was doing eventing and show jumping as an amateur and a professional, I prepared a state diploma in sports education and became an instructor for ten years in a club in Marseille. And as I was going round in circles, I prepared a reconversion by doing a market study on the saddlery offer in my home region. That's how I came across an advertisement from Padd, which was looking for franchisees.
That was ten years ago, how do you feel about the journey since you set up?
When I expressed my interest in a franchise, everything went smoothly from there until the shop opened in 2012. After a lot of research, I found premises in the La Valentine area, a fairly strategic location. And for the past ten years, it has remained an essential shop in the sector, even though the market has changed with the rise of e-commerce. Often, customers have an idea of what they want to buy but are hesitating between several items. So they come to us for advice, to try out and compare our models. It's then up to us to make them prefer to buy in shop, through the availability of items and our sense of service.
How do you maintain the link with your customers?
First of all, several times a year I go around the clubs to meet our private and professional customers. It is important for me to share their point of view. I also carry out annual operations, such as the PaddTroc, an event that my customers look forward to and which allows them to sell equipment they no longer need. During the Covid, my team and I were afraid of this break in the link, even though we tried to maintain contact with the Click&Collect. Would they come back to the shop? Would the model change? The result was that when we reopened, they were all there.
How does Padd support you on a daily basis?
It's very comfortable to have a team working on new product innovations and new trends to support you. They manage the restocking and communication. I couldn't be as efficient as them, I prefer to concentrate on what I know how to do: listen, advise, test. Afterwards, how will the business evolve? How will our young customers consume, who have almost only known online commerce? What is certain is that the speed of delivery is key, and that we must aim for a delivery that is in line with e-commerce standards, and never forget what is our strength, direct contact with our customers.
Which human or relational quality do you prefer and which do you dislike?
In terms of quality, loyalty. For us retailers, loyalty is essential. It's up to us to build a close relationship with our customers, by taking an interest in them, their needs and their lives. What I hate most is incivility.
To work seriously without taking yourself too seriously.
Padd in a word?