Will e-commerce kill physical commerce? The terror of local elected officials

This is the result of seven months of work and forty -two hearings in the National Assembly and in the field. A wealth of information on a major economic and political topic. A document up to date a few days before the return of the “Assises du commerce”. Somme deputy (LR) Emmanuel Maquet and Charente deputy (LREM) Sandra Marsaud have finally published their report on the role and future of local animation shops and development territories.

Logistics of the last mile: how e-commerce is changing cities

Twenty-one proposals emerged in the consideration of territorial planning businesses, the location of such businesses and, of course, the impact of taxation on e-commerce.

“The main change is the rise of e-commerce [qui] destroys the relationship between the consumer, the store, the neighborhood and the street “, write parliamentarians.

“While the phenomenon has undeniably accelerated into the pandemic, it is currently impossible to know whether its role will affect the very existence of stores in the future”, they added.

Combine taxation with physical commerce and that with e-commerce

Among their ideas submitted to the public and legislative debate, was the integration of taxation based on physical commerce and that based on operators whose activity is entirely focused on selling products to consumers through electronically, starting with tax reform in commercial space. “Tascom” is actually a tax paid by all retail sales area over 400 square meters and achieved a turnover from 460,000 euros excluding tax.

“I don’t want to change liberalism, but when the CEO of Carrefour wants to launch a 12,000 m² hypermarket, he must submit to the department commission for commercial development, the national commission for commercial development and a impact study, before paying Tascom “, typhoon Francis Palombi, president of the Confederation of traders (27 federations, 450,000 employees, 1 million employees)

“Amazon must file a building permit that only sells to consumers. It’s an inequality. ” he continued.

Four years of government plans and programs

Failing to regulate the location of e-commerce warehouses, the current government has been pursuing a policy of stimulating the hearts of small and medium-sized towns for nearly four years.

As part of the law on the evolution of housing, development and digital technology (Élan), promulgated in October 2018, the services of the Ministry of Territorial Cohesion have created a specialized tool for communities: l territory revitalization operation ( ORT).

Prefects now co-administer commercial operating permits with the municipalities and inter-municipalities concerned. That is, three to three years can suspend the construction of any equipment deemed harmful to city centers.

This legal support was accompanied in the same year by a program dedicated to medium -sized towns called “Action Cœur de ville” and awarded 5 billion euros. That’s as much as credits for shops, housing, the tertiary sector, commercial areas, but also investments to acquire land or equipment, from Action Logement, the National Housing Agency and the Banque des territories.

«Heart of city action », it goes in the right direction, but it is not enough. In order for customers to return to the city center, public services must be restored, ” nuance Jacques Creyssel, general delegate of the Federation of commerce and distribution (FCD, 7,467 convenience stores out of a total of 19,170).

By the end of 2020 and in the same spirit, the executive launched the “Small towns of tomorrow” scheme with 3 billion euros on the table, followed by the Banque des Territoires which released 1 billion euros to revive trade and activity in downtown .

Local markets and digital reviews

Steps common to both plans include an annual subsidy of 20,000 euros for two years, i.e., 40,000 euros, for recruiting managers of city centers. In other words, “administrative, tax and inheritance administrators” which operates “back and forth between field and town hall”, according to Banque des Territoires director Olivier Sichel.

So far, 350 managers of town centers were funded: 122 for the “Action Cœur de ville” and 228 for the “Small towns of tomorrow” for a total of 13 million euros. In this context, 300 local digital platforms have been set up, from Béthune to Bastia.

At the same time, the Director General of Businesses, who is dependent on the Ministry of Economy, Finance and Recovery, congratulated himself on signing 112,000 digital checks for 112,000 VSE, “mainly businesses, to get a digital solution and implement support”.

Except there “Local e-commerce remains shy”, said Olivier Sichel. “There is no explosion of local applications but traders are telling us that‘ I am allowed to identify and maintain an activity in the event of a sanitary closure ’”, added the director of the Banque des Territoires.

“A well-planned omnichannel enables increased turnover for businesses, but it also requires the creation of jobs for the use of digital tools”, confirm MPs Maquet and Marsaud in their report on the role and future of local animation shops and development territories.

This is easily achieved by large retail chains and SMEs, but it is a problem for most independent traders, who are VSEs and find it difficult to measure their investment in this area and devote time to the digital aspects of their profession, they continue, suggesting that the envelope dedicated to the digitalization of businesses in France Relance is “significantly enhanced”.

At the farm, “It’s still hard!», abounds Francis Palombi. “Individual traders are not reluctant but have a hard time getting into the loop”, explanation of the president of the Confederation of traders, ex-candidate (LREM) in the legislative elections in Lozère.

A testimonial confirmed by a Mastercard survey conducted in December 2020 with a sample of 400 VSE managers working between 1 and 9 employees. “67% of VSEs consider e-commerce to be strict even though they consider it necessary. Their main obstacle: the time, the money to be devoted to it and the complexity “, decrypts Céline Delacroix, general secretary of the trade commission at CCI Paris Île-de-France.

“I explain to them that it won’t complicate their job, but on the contrary gives them the possibility to work on their visibility and their popularity”, support Naomi Ehile, digital consultant at the Val-de-Marne Chamber of Commerce and Industry (CCI 94).

Associations of elected officials are multiplying the proposals

Actually, “Local authorities have deployed actions without taking into account that the level of digital maturity is not always the same”, type Celine Delacroix, “You need to first assess local supply and demand before investing in this type of digital solution”, said the secretary general of the trade commission of the Paris Île-de-France chamber of commerce and industry.

The territories themselves can easily admit that the result is “mixed”. “The local markets that worked were the ones designed for the long term with promotion, communication and animation”, we say to the association Intercommunalités de France.

This is why in approaching the conclusions of the “Assises du commerce”, organized in December by Bercy, communities are therefore stepping up proposals to reconcile electronic commerce and physical commerce.

Through a press release, the powerful association of French mayors points to an inequality between taxation on physical businesses and e-commerce and calls for the creation of fair local taxation. “maintaining the relationship between companies and territories, and integrating the ecological issue associated with individual delivery and packaging”.

“Administrative delays are a real handicap to competitiveness” (David Lisnard, Association of French Mayors)

Both want to side with the association of elected officials France Urbaine, which represents the mayors of large cities and the presidents of metropolitan France. Its president Johanna Rolland also called for the implementation, especially at the European level, of“Competitive and fiscal fairness between physical commerce and digital commerce”.

“By that local physical commerce should be fully supported and appreciated, I call for experimentation in taxation specifically regarding the largest e-commerce warehouses, which are over 40,000 m², ”he said. The gallery.

Meanwhile, perhaps the rules of the game will need to be changed, the commercial code that imposes the closure of food stores on Sundays after 1 p.m. “It is absurd!» exclaimed Jacques Creyssel. “The opening of shops on Sunday afternoons is a reality and corresponds to a need. Residents of large cities shop on Sunday afternoons”, ensures the general delegate of the Federation of commerce and distribution.

Stores are relieved to avoid re-closure, but want to open every Sunday

Find the best in our e-commerce file:

  • Editorial | E-commerce, a shock wave that is turning our lives and our cities upside down
  • Framing | Powered by Covid-19, how far will online commerce prevail?
  • The interview | “In e-commerce, we have reached the end of the individualization of consumption” (Vincent Chabault, sociologist at the University of Paris)
  • The evaluation of the entrepreneur | E-commerce: “Its power is unparalleled, we can’t stop or resist it” (Martin Piechowski, President of Chronopost)
  • The practical case | Casino, Carrefour …: what supermarkets are doing to digitize food sales
  • Decryption | How French Tech unicorns interact on Amazon
  • In our territories | E-commerce: why local Amazon fails, these markets backed by public funds
  • The nugget to follow | Lyra, the online payment outsider supporting the global e-commerce revolution
  • The issue | Can e-commerce free itself from the aircraft?
  • The Great Threat | Will e-commerce kill physical commerce? Local elected officials are concerned
  • The replica | The government downplayed, supermarkets want to save their skin against e-commerce