E-commerce: a champion of innovation in coping with well being and regulatory constraints

OPINION // The numbers speak for themselves: according to FEVAD, the e-commerce market represents 112 billion euros in 2020. It is already experiencing strong growth before the advent of Covid-19 and the turnaround it caused, retail in a row has exploded in recent months. It is essential for all retailers and allows them to partially compensate for the regular closure of physical outlets. But it is not always painless, and childbirth problems have also increased significantly. This new state of the market will revolutionize the way we consume … Let’s decipher the situation and new trends together.

Plan for uncertainty

The expression might seem contradictory. However, this is the reality in which brands have been living since the beginning of the crisis, faced with various measures taken to respond to health risks. Strict closure, reduced detention, curfew with changing working hours, closing companies according to size, classification of basic and irrelevant jobs … So many changing rules that we have to adapt to constantly, usually without delay. This halt and movement leads to logistical, human and commercial difficulties that traders must anticipate. E-commerce is emerging here as a welcome digital alternative that enables business continuity. Vendors have adapted by transforming their sales channels into a hybrid model, simplifying in-store travel and strengthening their e-commerce sites to absorb additional traffic and orders. But some rushed initiatives are struggling to register peacefully in the long run and meet new consumer expectations. The latter actually require increasing flexibility, speed and security, both in the shopping experience and for collecting orders in the store or home delivery or collection. If the efforts made on the digital shopping path (simplification of the ordering process, fluidity of the customer’s travel, secure payment, etc.) bear fruit, the problem is often at the level of final logistics and the last kilometer. . In short, everything is smooth until payment. The problem starts with the delivery.

Product delivery: too often the wrong end point of the shopping experience

More online orders also means more delivery to your home address, store or pick-up location. The rise of e-commerce makes delivery a key step in the user experience. Home delivery today accounts for 25% (Ademe, 2019) of CO2 emissions in France. A share that is only growing to meet ever-faster delivery promises, even though more than 20% of the package was not delivered to the recipient on first presentation. The environmental impact is therefore great. To answer environmental questions, city traffic density and consumer expectations, it is necessary to be able to optimize delivery rounds by focusing on places that combine package delivery and collection. This therefore implies consumer awareness, so that he favors less polluting approaches such as. Click and collect, but also for the brand by implementing a new logistics organization capable of dealing with the influx of online orders, while keeping in mind customer satisfaction. This cannot be improvised, regardless of the level of maturity of the organization. Moreover, this issue is sustainable, because e-commerce should not be opposed to physical commerce. It is complementarity and cohabitation in between these two approaches that will allow traders to stay competitive in the coming months and years. And this will permanently change our consumer habits…

Trends: how will we spend tomorrow?

We have seen the principle of Click and collect in-store – which consists of ordering online and downloading products in-store – has become more democratic in all sectors in recent months. We are currently seeing acceleration Click and collect outdoors: as its name suggests, it is about establishing a service to pick up and store packages outdoors. It materializes in the form of cabinets that are available to consumers at any time of the day or night. With his online order, the customer receives a code that allows him to pick up his package without depending on administrative closures related to the health situation.

In addition, brands strive to establish mixed solutions that unify order collection Click and collect and at the pick-up point to generate more traffic in the store.

Finally, a another initiative there is appeared and changed the landscape of e-commerce: Shop-in-Shop. It is for the brand to install new space outside its stores, in a strategic location where there is no store. This can be done within the same group, or in the form of a partnership with another brand. Some supermarkets, for example, will allocate part of their available space to another brand, in the spirit of the corners of large multi-brand stores. In this way, the brand strengthens its presence and visibility in an area, and also offers its customers a new Click & Collect place, avoiding the restrictions associated with opening a new point of sale. the Shop-in-Shop can also work outdoors with, in many cases a partnership is established with supermarkets. Their staff takes care of the loading of package lockers, which are mostly located in the parking lot, and manages the monitoring of pick-up / pick-up logistics.

These new trends allow brands to expand their geographic coverage and choice of pick-up locations. On the customer side, they are synonymous with greater autonomy and closeness. For everyone, the benefit is also environmental from Click and collect is a “solidarity” method of purchase, which allows to reduce the carbon footprint associated with the delivery of packages.

In a world as complex and changeable as ours, knowing how to combine in-store sales and online sales is a real challenge for retailers. Where e-commerce was sometimes still a shy project for some brands, it has become a priority with the Covid-19 crisis. Now it is a question of building a sustainable, complementary, adaptable and adaptable omnichannel model. Approaches that are Internal Click & Collect and outdoors and Shop-in-Shop development paths are full of promise. The crisis has not slowed down innovation, and that is good for the user experience and the competitiveness of brands!

Tribune written by Aurélien Simon, PLS product manager at Quadient France

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