The e-commerce director of Monoprix
Patrick Oualid has openly spoken on Bitcoin – its general perspectives and its application by the French retail giant.
Those who have not been to France or Tunisia and have never seen been inside a Monoprix, might easily imagine it comparing with local, more familiar examples of successful retail. The Americans and British might find similarities with Woolco/ Woolworths, the Scandinavians with Stockmann and Germans with Kaufhof.
The store often occupies entire historic buildings in the central districts of a city offering a wide range of products from food and clothing to household appliances and jewelry. It also has an online version which is shortly to adopt Bitcoin as an alternative payment method.
Oualid on Bitcoin
According to Mr. Oualid the Monoprix network has always pioneered all interesting innovations to outplay their competitors. This time Bitcoin might fulfill the task of attracting new customers and support the existing client base.
His ambitious plan is to make the network recognized throughout the Mediterranean. Such aspirations of dominance might be compared with the Phoenicians, who established a strong trade network many centuries ago.
10 years ago the Monoprix Corporation launched the bio MDD branch bringing local and natural products to the urban regions of France. Now Bitcoin might become a similar long-term project.
It is not important to be the first to adopt Bitcoin; crucial is to gain as many of its benefits as possible. According to Mr. Oualid it is “far too early to expect a significant turnover”. The main aspect considered before introduction of Bitcoin was the opportunities provided to the customers. The e-commerce director claimed:
“We need to put it [Bitcoin] in our DNA. If Bitcoin does not bring us cold hard sales and cents, it does not matter.”
Mr. Oualid sees that payment behavior and attitude towards different currencies has changed over the past 3-5 years. The introduction of Bitcoin might pay off in some years’ time as well, but now the important educational phase has to begin.
At first, the acceptance of Bitcoin will be integrated into the online store. It is simpler and asks for smaller investments. Next steps in case of success will feature the introduction of desktop POS terminals at the physical locations of Monoprix. The enterprise is currently working on a mobile payment project for stores which may also include the alternative currency.
The administration is willing to start the project by the end of 2014 to reach the first peak in 2015. However, it has not yet been determined what to do with the coins. Two options – conversion into fiat and retaining digital coins as investment – are being considered.
The Monoprix organisation is ready to cope with mistrust and lack of confidence as society sees Bitcoin as an instrument in the hands of thieves performing money laundering and financing terrorism. According to Mr. Oualid it would be a mistake to let the magnitude of the matter go unnoticed. He compares Bitcoin with social networks; their impact on society cannot be neglected.