how e-commerce is remodeling cities

This is a rather unnoticed statement that was supposed to cause confusion. A short sentence from a young filmmaker who has become a heavyweight in global technology. Another testament to the fact that the digital economy is taking an increasing place in everyday life.

“Amazon is a leader in e-commerce. We believe we can be a leader in local trade, ” indeed stated Dara Khosrowshahi, CEO of Uber Express January 25th. “We now have a delivery company that is bigger than transport,” he continued.

Ten years after its creation, the American platform is no longer satisfied with competing with taxi drivers, but is affirming itself as a giant in home delivery. “Huge work, and even a large part [son] activity in France » added the boss.

Proof of this is if necessary: ​​UberEats claims to be in contact with almost 40,000 restaurants and in collaboration with Carrefour, Casino and other local players, estimating that “It’s a technology that will allow local commerce to overtake Amazon.”

“The care of the caterer is real”

“The consequences of the emergence of new forms of consumption such as shops and ghost kitchens that combine digitalisation and home delivery are still poorly understood, but when it comes to kitchens, the concerns of caterers are real,” on the contrary, deputies Emmanuel Maquet and Sandra Marsaud, President (LR) and Rapporteur (LREM) of the Information Mission report on the role and future of local shops in animation and territorial development.

Still, Uber’s position is not surprising after the announcement by Frenchman Frichti and German Gorillas to get closer. These young shoots fast trade still called Cajoo or Getir promise to deliver groceries and meals in less than a quarter of an hour.

Their strength: knowing how to turn former business premises into warehouses – “dark shops” – or central kitchens – “dark kitchens”. Their weakness: being unanimous against them in environmental and socialist municipalities, from Paris to Lyon through Rouen. Local elected officials accuse them of devitalizing the neighborhoods in which they are located and of hindering their development due to their urban distribution.

“The belief that we will be able to limit Amazon’s action by banning warehouses and‘ dark shops ’is a vision of the past. On the other hand, yes, we need rules not to disturb our neighbors, and that is true for UberEats as well as for Deliveroo “, temperament Jacques Creyssel, General Delegate of the Federation of Trade and Distribution (FCD, 50 members, 19,170 outlets including 7,467 outlets).

E-commerce represents only 5 to 7.5% of last mile logistics …

His colleague who represents commercial real estate is less nuanced than him. After carriage dealers, medieval fairs, the first Renaissance shops and specialized distribution, “I have the impression that we have returned to models from antiquity,” claims Vincent Ravat, CEO of Mercialys (property listed on SBF 120 of 822,000 m2, including 15% of local neighborhood centers) also vice president of the National Center for Shopping Centers (400 members, 525,000 jobs).

While we are experiencing a continuous movement of encouraging customers to come to the store in order to rationalize and reduce logistics costs and prices, some seem to think it is appropriate to withdraw. he judges.

“And that by increasing the ecological footprint of logistics flows multiplied by deliveries to each individual customer in the obviously unsustainable logic of sales with a loss of subscription, and all this – offensively – is presented as free for the consumer,” Vincent Ravat squeaks again.

However, e-commerce accounts for only 5 to 7.5% of last mile logistics, compared to 40 to 42.5% for the rest of the trade and 50% for industry (construction sites, waste, canteens, etc.), recalls Constance Marechal Dereu , General Manager of France Logistique, an association that brings together federations and companies in the transport and real estate sector together. “She is still weak, but she is the one who has moved the most in recent years.” she adds.

“The last link in the chain is really anything but uniform with specialized and diverse players (warehousing and delivery)”, hires Constance Marechal Dereu. “Kovid managed to raise awareness on this topic, but there was always the question of land and conditions for storage, shipping and delivery / distribution.” she said again.

… but the issue is now on the local political agenda

However, the issue is now on the local political agenda. The Association of Selected Inter-Municipalities of France and the La Poste group have just published a practical guide called How to produce better quality urban logistics with low emissions, combining the actions of public authorities with the actions of operators? “.

Two presidents, Sébastien Martin and Philippe Wahl, say they want to “Working together for good and efficient urban logistics” and call for “consolidate” the competence of local authorities in the transport of goods. “It is our responsibility to develop knowledge and professionalize approaches so that public policies are implemented in the most efficient way possible.” they write.

“We could imagine the community creating a delivery center, the supplier bringing in its own cargo, and the La Poste subsidiary transporting supplies to the final location with environmental clauses,” we specify on the page Intercommunalities of France.

“We are setting up logistics platforms on the borders of our cities so that deliveries are concentrated there and so that electric vehicles make the final journey,” progresses, on the side of France Urbaine, its first vice-president Jean-Luc Moudenc, mayor (LR) of Toulouse and president of Toulouse Métropole.

Tomorrow, delivery by robot or drone?

The two associations of elected officials do not think so well. In the context of low-emission zones (ZFEs), which limit the circulation of the most polluting vehicles in metropolitan areas, La Poste and the Banque des Territoires have just set up a joint venture for the long-term rental of professional electric vehicles called Movivolt. “We have the ambition to offer 10,000 with up to 300 million euros of investment,” entrusts Olivier Sichel, director of the Banque des Territoires.

Central places par excellence, stations are also beginning to address this issue. “We have already seen the urban logistics project, but in reality we are just at the beginning of the story,” believes Raphael Poli, new CEO of Retail & Connections, SNCF’s commercial real estate company.

Tomorrow, the delivery of the last kilometer will be able to be done by automated robots, as is already the case abroad, or even drones in rural areas, as is practiced in the United States or China. The fact remains that from February, the subject should call for restitution “Assises du commerce” because it mobilizes all decision makers, politicians, public and private, who participate in the creation of the city.

The government is considering the digital transformation of the company

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