Will Clever Age ever stop? After the launch of its Geneva agency in 2012 and the recent opening of the Hong Kong office in 2014, Clever Age is now putting the “belle province” of Québec on its radar for 2015 and has launched an exploratory initiative of the French Canadian market which should lead to the opening of its first Canadian agency pretty soon.
Xavier Rivoire is bringing several years of experience of successful agency launches for Clever Age and will drive the Canadian project from France, assisted by Didier Navez, based in Montreal, who will be the local “ambassador” for this exciting project. We asked them a few questions :
What are Clever Age’s goals in Québec ?
Xavier : Our goal is to offer large and mid-sized organizations in Québec the whole range of services and expertise that we already provide to our client base in our core markets, by addressing the whole digital production chain, from digital strategy definition to project implementation to operations optimization.
Why are you choosing Québec as your first North American operation ?
Didier : There is a long history of cooperation between France and Québec. More than 400 French companies have a legal presence here, which makes France the second most important source of investment in Québec and third in Canada. Some brands are very well known here such as Air France, Ubisoft, Alstom, Sanofi-Aventis or L’Oréal, and we shouldn’t forget also downtown parking lots (Vinci), Montreal metro smart card (Ascom), business offices’ cafeterias (Sodexho), glasses (Essilor), city water filtering (Veolia) or the bus service between Québec cities (Keolis). In a way Clever Age is just confirming the trend.
Is the Québec launch the first step of a more global development plan in North America ?
Xavier : Yes indeed, we are clear about our ambition, we want to develop our presence further in North America, but this French Canadian agency will certainly remain a key location, because of the strong cultural and linguistic links existing between France and Québec
What are Clever Age’s main competitive advantages in Québec
Didier : First its French roots plus its fully independent positioning vs. technology solutions vendors, allowing Clever Age’s consultants and specialists to provide independent expert advice early in their clients’ digital transformation initiatives. Second, the full coverage of the digital production chain, from strategy to design to delivery and even maintenance of business solutions is a key differentiator.
What is the most promising area where Clever Age intends be most active during its first phase of development in Québec ?
Didier : e-Commerce in Québec is a challenge and a big opportunity at the same time for Clever Age and its clients. A recent study published by CEFRIO indicates that one adult out of two in Québec has bought products and services online in 2014, one adult out of four has bought online during the month preceding the study with an average spent of $295. This is not bad at all. Purchases from mobile devices (including tablets) have increased by 8% between 2012 and 2013 and by 21% between 2014 and 2015, which is remarkable. So the opportunity is really there but what is probably more worrying is that the majority of those online purchases have been made outside the province, ie. only 25% of all dollars spent online were associated to websites from Québec, 10% from the rest of Canada and 48% from the US. So the challenge is there for many brands in Québec. Clever Age will be able to bring its experience – gained in other markets – to companies willing to increase their ecommerce footprint in Québec and in Canada in general. We are not targeting B2C retail companies only, we also see big potential for ecommerce solutions within B2B companies.