E-commerce: discoveries about abuse and fraud in e-commerce

The Covid-19 pandemic has not only clogged our hospitals. He also overheated all the deliverymen in France and Navarre. The numbers are clear: the tough Amazon jumped 40% in the second quarter, and its French dolphin Cdiscount experienced the same growth from March to May. As for the traditional brands, they bet everything on their online stores, while the supermarket plants were working at full speed. Whether we are looking forward to it or regretting it, thanks to this health crisis, an irreparable change has taken place.

Internet commerce, which has already grown at a rate of 1% per year in total French consumption, will achieve two to three times higher growth this year. “This is likely to represent between 13 and 14% of product sales in 2020, compared to 10% last year,” predicts Marc Lolivier, CEO of Fevada, the organization that represents the main locations. “Part of the e-commerce-resistant population has converted,” abounds Laurent Thoumine, head of the Accenture sector. According to Kantar, from March to May, 2.6 million French people bought a garment online for the first time.

In this context, big brands are making brutal changes, such as Spanish Inditex (Zara), which announced its intention to close a thousand stores worldwide in two years, betting 2.7 billion euros on online sales. Trivialized, democratized, has the e-commerce model reached the age of reason? Our research shows that this expansion sometimes feels like the Wild West, which attracts unscrupulous opportunists.

Goods, above all, often leave something to be desired, whether it is products that do not comply with European standards or counterfeits. Because in fact, online sales sites only partially control their offer. This is the principle of the market, or the market: Amazon and other large web companies allow any company to register with a few clicks to sell its products to millions of customers. For the American leader, this mall accounts for 58% of products sold. At Cdiscount, this is 40% of the realized business volume. Who is the first to benefit from this boom? We knew that Asian wholesalers flocked en masse to this wide-open door of the European market. Our surveys show the scale of this phenomenon: more than half of the bestseller sellers on Amazon.fr are Chinese companies. In addition to directly importing defective products, these traders very quickly “forget” to collect VAT. So far, this huge fraud would cost France one billion euros a year …

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The empire of ephemeral flash sales, ultra-elastic prices, hypothetical deliveries, internet stores allows all kinds of abuses. In the shadow of large, well-established pages, many small scams abound. The latest in fashion? The store claims to be liquidating its stock due to closure after Covid. Behind these fake deals are cases of dropshipping: sellers sell directly imported products without inventory management. These intermediaries are satisfied by applying a layer of marketing varnish and putting their lavish margins in their pockets along the way. Our guide will help you find your way around this macchia.

A permanent site for government agents, from the Financial Inspectorate to the DGCCRF (repression of fraud) through customs, the brilliant development of online commerce is also a hot topic for local authorities. Aware that the sector has created 200,000 direct jobs in France (Fevad number), and not knowing how many it has destroyed, many are faced with the dilemma: whether to host Amazon’s warehouse or not. Concreting land, weakening local trade, not always known carbon footprint of home delivery: environmental criteria also carry weight in the decision. Should a moratorium on the construction of new shopping malls planned by the government be extended to giant warehouses? In the United States, shopping malls, now abandoned, are beginning to turn into logistics bases. You will not find a better symbol of ongoing change.

>> Find online our complete file “E-commerce: discoveries about abuse and fraud of online commerce”:

Online sales: beware of fake prices!

– Arthur is flooded with scandals of his influencer agency We Events

Amazon: why its warehouses are getting angrier

VAT fraud in Chinese e-retailers costs us billions

Pollution: disastrous online sales results

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