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, however, it suggests the emergence of a hybrid form, in which the physical store still has all its interests.
E-commerce driven by health crisis
Currently, nearly 41.6 million French shop online, or 81.4% of Internet users according to Fevad, the Federation of e-commerce and distance selling. Figures reflect the inevitable rise of the sector, especially at the beginning of the health crisis. All market players have greatly benefited from the confinement periods to invest and develop their activities. Consumption of basic necessities exploded in 2020 as well as home and garden targeting; telework that allowed many city dwellers to choose another living environment, outside the city.
However, no matter how impressive this development, the e-commerce sector seems to have marked the time in 2021. Consumption has dropped somewhat throughout the year to allow for more expensive consumption but less often. In fact, most large purchases, specifically in new ways of working, were made in 2020. More talk now is about buying a product to make the right choice and at the best price. .
New trends are coming
Gradually, responsible consumption patterns become systematic. The need to choose products that meet ethical standards, such as the repair or reconditioning ability index, is growing stronger among the French. The same applies to buying “made in France” products whose prices no longer seem to be too high due to the explosion in the cost of raw materials and the rise in inflation that follows. Although the question of purchasing power remains of course at the center of concerns, these last few years have actually installed a dynamic in which the French consume less but are better, more local and more responsible. .
The behemoths of e-commerce have understood this, the potential of this market is enormous. And to continue to capture consumer versatility, we must continue to innovate, especially through artificial intelligence. Already in their approach, AI could be used, in the near future, to offer products that consumers have never thought of. An effective tactic to accurately determine the popularity of certain products and thus provide a very responsive and fast delivery system.
The advent of a hybrid physical/digital model
One might think that e-commerce will soon end the physical store model, but that is ignoring the stability of a certain number of businesses that have succeeded in digitizing part of their activity in order to survive. One thinks of the bookstore on the street corner, an example to many others, that has been able to stay true to its identity while allowing its customers to order on its site and pick up their purchases on the site. A hybrid model whose emergence is also due to the ease of use of solutions focused on the rapid establishment of an e-shop. This formula that connects the physical store to an online platform represents the future and many merchants will have all the interest in this direction.
However, the key to success does not consist in blindly following e-commerce developments but in developing a personalization of the offer, which is unique to this hybrid model. For example, the wise advice of a book seller is not always found on major e-commerce platforms, it is necessary to know how to take advantage of this advantage to maintain and form a bond of trust with the consumer, both online and on the spot. . One way to show that the physical store retains all of its legitimacy and that it can also serve e-commerce interests.