The way forward for e-commerce, in line with the physical-digital hybrid mannequin?

After a mixed year in 2021, the e-commerce sector remains dynamic and continues to attract consumers whose habits are increasingly rooted in digital.

If e-commerce remains the dominant model, it nevertheless suggests the emergence of a hybrid form, where physical commerce still has all its interest.

E-commerce driven by health crisis

Currently, almost 41.6 million French people buy online, or 81.4% of Internet users according to Fevad, the Federation of e-commerce and distance selling. Figures reflecting the relentless rise of the sector, especially since the onset of the health crisis. All market players have benefited greatly from the period of closure to invest and develop their activities. During 2020, the consumption of basic necessities of life exploded, as well as those for the house and garden; teleworking that has allowed many city dwellers to choose a different environment, outside the city.

However, as impressive as this development was, the e-commerce sector seemed to mark the time in 2021. Consumption fell slightly throughout the year to give way to more expensive consumption, but less frequently. Indeed, most large purchases, especially those related to new methods of work, were made in 2020. Now it is more a matter of thinking about buying products in order to make the right choice and at the best price. .

New trends are emerging

Gradually, patterns of responsible spending become systematized. The need to select products that meet ethical criteria, such as repairability index or reconditioning, is growing among the French. The same goes for buying “made in France” products whose prices no longer seem so high due to the explosion in raw material prices and the rise in inflation that follows. Even if the issue of purchasing power remains a focus of concern, these last years have indeed established a dynamic in which the French spend less, but better, more locally and more responsibly.

The e-commerce giants have realized this, the potential of this market is colossal. And in order to continue to capture the versatility of consumers, we must constantly innovate, especially through artificial intelligence. Already present in their strategy, AI could be used in the near future to offer products that consumers are not yet thinking about. An effective tactic for accurately determining the popularity of certain products and thus provides a very fast and fast delivery system.

The emergence of a hybrid physical / digital model

One might justifiably think that e-commerce would put an end to the physical commerce model, but that would be neglecting the resilience of a number of businesses that have managed to digitize part of their business to survive. Think of a bookstore on a street corner, one example among many others, that has managed to stay true to its identity while allowing its customers to order on its website and pick up their purchased items on the spot. A hybrid model, the origin of which is due to the ease of use of solutions dedicated to the rapid establishment of e-commerce. This formula that connects physical action with an online platform represents the future and many merchants would be interested in moving in that direction.

However, the key to success lies not so much in blindly monitoring the development of e-commerce as in developing personalization of the offer, unique to this hybrid model. For example, informed bookseller advice may not necessarily be found on major e-commerce platforms, you need to know how to take advantage of this to maintain and develop a bond of trust with consumers, both online and on-site. . A way to show that physical commerce retains all its legitimacy and can also serve the interests of e-commerce.

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