Fevad and KPMG published their new study “Unified commerce: human resources at the heart of digital innovation”

Paris, September 28, 2021


KPMG France and Fevad publish the 5th edition of the study focused on change in e-commerce, which this year provides important light on the impact of digital commerce changes on employment in the distribution sector. This study focuses primarily on “click-and-mortar”, the traditional trading players who are now developing their economic activity online.

  • 8.5% in 2020: e-commerce growth continues in France;

  • Unified commerce benefits all distributors;

  • Faced with a talent shortage, distributors are developing “upskilling” and “reskilling” strategies.

The growth of e-commerce continues in France

2020 is another year of growth for French e-commerce: it reached 112 billion euros, up 8.5% compared to the previous year.

The average basket of transactions returned above 60 euros, after eight consecutive years of decline.

While service sales dropped 10%, the market was marked by a very strong acceleration of product sales (+32%).

The health crisis has permanently changed customer behavior:

  • 88% of online shoppers say they will continue ordering online, despite the reopening of stores;
  • 37% of online shoppers say they will order more online;
  • 75% of online shoppers expect a delivery service from their local businesses, 60% for home delivery and 40% for in -store collection.

The weight of e-commerce in retail trade jumped from 9.8% to 13.4% a year, or +3.6%.

According to a recent study, each job created in e-commerce generates 1.2 indirect logistics jobs.

Unified commerce benefits all retailers

In B2C, e-commerce has the particularity of stretching the supply chain in the customer’s home, requiring the extension of logistics plans through various routes of:

  • Delivery of the product at home or at a pick-up point (the last kilometer);
  • Returning the product from home or from a collection point (the first kilometer).

Based on INSEE figures in the retail trade and commercial crafts sector, workers ’wages have risen significantly over more than 20 years, at + 27% from 1998 to 2020. In 2018, retail had approximately 1,500,000 FTE employees while logistics has 750,000.

During 2010-2018, the logistics sector experienced a strong evolution in terms of wage employment.

More specifically, the period was characterized by very strong growth in postal and courier activities, specifically managing the delivery of e-commerce parcels to individuals; strong growth in non-warehouse cooling activities, specifically managing e-commerce logistics activities; a slight decline in handling professions, associated with improved warehouse productivity and the development of automation.

Faced with new consumer expectations and intense competition from digital pure-players, traditional distributors from the physical world have changed their traditional model to an omnichannel model and must include the acquisition of new skills. and expertise in their roadmap. digital.

France, however, still lags behind other European Union countries; Only 30% of independent stores are present on the Internet (website or through the marketplace), compared to the figure of 70% in Germany.

The most advanced distributors, in order to exist on the Internet and seize the competitive opportunities offered by e-commerce, have adapted to the highly innovative culture of indigenous digital players to:

  • sales models, with the development of subscription logic;
  • the customer experience, improved by optimizing platforms and controlling data, regardless of contact channels;
  • delivery, with an optimization of logistics services, to meet the high standards of customers, accustomed to the standards of sector leaders (home delivery, delivery to a collection point, etc.);
  • physical touchpoints, even the concepts of physical distribution are evolving towards formats that combine digital and physical experiences in an increasingly integrated way.

Faced with a talent shortage, distributors are developing “upskilling” and “reskilling” strategies.

When distributors opt for more integrated commercial strategies, the question now arises on the acquisition and re-qualification of cross-channel skills.

The current trend emphasizes acquiring new customers, giving pride to jobs related to SEO, SEA and Social Media Management, while customer loyalty and CRM jobs remain in the background.

IT and web development represent an important need, which is difficult to meet by distributors.

Data and analytics are skills that the largest distributors began to acquire a few years ago.

Among the most sought after profiles in 2021: data scientist, supplier, logistics coordinator, supply planner, logistics manager, transport logistics operations director, lean/operational excellence manager, CSR manager. Also, and above all, new hybrid and cross-functional profiles are sought for all forms of commerce and across all channels.

At the end of the health crisis, which has acted as an accelerator and catalyst for changes in the distribution sector, be it in the field of digital marketing, IT development, data or customer service, the skills of skilled workers are rare and difficult. attract for. the “click-and-mortar”, which is subject to intense competition in the job market.

To address the talent shortage, distributors are developing “upskilling” and “reskilling” strategies, by mobilizing internal or public investments, which are on the agenda of managers, to ensure increased skills of employees in the long term through training, and by guaranteeing their adaptation to changes caused by the development of unified commerce. “Soft skills” for example are very important compared to “hard skills” which quickly become obsolete.

“While the COVID crisis has led to an unprecedented acceleration of the digital transformation of distribution players, this study aims to understand and evaluate the challenges of this technological revolution and its effects on employment. and organizational structures.One of its key lessons is to highlight the role of human resources policies in the process of adapting to new consumer practices resulting from our digital environment.The study thus showing that technology and investment are not enough and the human dimension is at the heart of digital commerce transformation ”, explains Marc Lolivier, General Delegate of Fevad.

“Today, retailers and brands showing growth are the ones who decided, from the very beginning, to bet on mixed commerce by adapting their commercial and organizational model, as well as their talent management. The crisis has demonstrated the resilience of this “unified” model, with a digital channel acting as a shock absorber for an entire section of the economy, ”added Sébastien Durand, Director, Head of Unified Commerce’s offerings at KPMG France.


This study is based on several sources of verified and relevant external data:

  • One-on-one interviews with decision makers at pure-player and Click & Mortar e-retailers, recruitment firms, customer service centers and major brands;
  • Reviews of major studies conducted in the field in recent years
  • Reviews of real figures in the field, especially from INSEE.

The study is also based on the expertise gained during trade digitization projects with KPMG clients.

The data are intended for the study authors: LA FEVAD and KPMG.

About Fevad:

The Federation of e-commerce and distance selling now brings together more than 750 companies. It is the organizational representative of the e-commerce and distance selling sector. Fevad’s main mission is to collect and disseminate information to improve knowledge in the sector and act in favor of the sustainable and ethical development of distance selling and e-commerce in France. To find out more: www.fevad.com/ Follow us on twitter: @FevadActu and on LinkedIn.

Touch contacts : Nathalie Laîné – Communications Manager

About KPMG France

KPMG France, Head of Audit and Consulting, brings together 10,000 professionals dedicated to the economic and financial performance of institutions and companies of all sizes, in all sectors. KPMG empowers its clients with a multidisciplinary global network that covers 150 countries and is unique in its territorial coverage thanks to its 220 offices in France.




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