This e-boutique, far from being ephemeral, has become a real way of supporting the customer throughout his purchase journey. Maddyness met Henri David Bijaoui, CEO of Colorz, Mat De Sousa, CEO of The Wide Company and Emilie Benoit-Vernay, Head of Southern Europe of Shopify. Decrypting this trend, to find out how e-commerce has become a hub of innovation.
A symbiosis between online and physical sales focused on customer satisfaction
On Tuesday March 17, 2020, the death knell rang. Restraint is valid. The shops are closed. For small businesses, which are still little digitized, the situation is difficult. Should we wait for the health condition to improve? Many professionals choose to create an e-shop. It is this choice that will allow the development of fertile ground for change, a real one “omnical innovation hub”.
“For a long time e-commerce was ”just” a new network store said David Bijaoui, CEO of Colorz. “We found ourselves in a context that was innovative for some at the time, but frustrating for brand employees. The sellers were always against each other: the physical store against the website. Then, changed and e-commerce grew. Today, it is no longer a store, but a customer service service ».
In fact, the various acquisition channels (website, physical store, social networks, etc.) have become interconnected, making it possible to discuss the appearance “of hubs”.
Thanks to this connection, e-commerce is no longer a simple ” additional channels “, but became a ” service “added. E-commerce no longer only plays the role of a store, but also a role of catalog, showcase, or even a replacement solution to get the customer when an item is not available in the store. Like explained David Bijaoui, CEO of Colorz, the links have become particularly close between the physical and the digital: “Now, if the physical store does not list an item in our size, that is no longer a problem: the item can be ordered from the store directly on the e-commerce site. The online store has become part of an environment focused on customer service. The goal is not to create a new touchpoint, but to give the customer a hub with multiple touchpoints. Digitizing the brand will provide it with this service”.
Benefit for brands that already have a community
Conversely, brands that were first launched on the internet were able to promote the creation of their online community. With or without an e-commerce brick, these brands have been able to launch and easily talk about opening physical stores. In fact, the e-merchant or content producer already has a commitment and a community.
The logic of symbiosis is possible in both directions. “During the Covid period, we saw a significant influx of local merchants who, for a matter of survival, started online commerce” recalls Emilie Benoit-Vernay, Shopify’s Head of Southern Europe.. “Subsequently, local traders want to keep the two channels […] although these tools were once considered competitive. Today, we are also able to reverse the equation, as the emergence of the creator economy shows. […] On the one hand, we help merchants with products to create a community, and on the other hand, we help creators live thanks to their community”.
The emergence of innovations based on e-commerce
E-commerce site creation platforms have enabled more accessible e-commerce innovations for companies. This is the case by facilitating the implementation of tools that do not require advanced computer skills. “Today, Shopify has become a complete ecosystem that drives innovation” said Mat de Sousa, CEO of The Wide Company. “The services offered to merchants are tailored to customer needs. The features available in terms of protection against internet scams, or environmental impact measurement are proof of this. Shopify now has a module to calculate the carbon footprint, and implemented many checks and banking checks to prevent fraud. It’s still possible to build your own functions.”
Because of this, the e-commerce of tomorrow needs to make it possible to buy in the same way as in the store. Innovations in the sector are geared towards this direction, but delivery barriers are a limitation to this goal. However, a solution can be found precisely in the omnichannel nature of the platforms. “”ship from store” is a real challenge for retailers’ innovation logic” said David Bijaoui, CEO of Colorz. “Do I need a central stock for e-commerce and a more “dispersed” stock through my network of stores? Why not use the stores as a distribution relay? Then we will create the “system of order management”: we will get as close as possible to the customer to deliver it. If a local store has the item the customer is looking for, the item will leave that store”.
This interconnection will allow the customer to get more information on the articles, especially on their availability or restocking. In fact, the stores are directly connected to the brand’s website(s). The payment itself can be made in the merchant’s application, to avoid any waiting at the checkout, which many brands already offer for certain accessories.
“E-commerce is the foundation of brand digitization. But we are just at the beginning” Remember the CEO of Colorz. “It’s hard to imagine what the things of tomorrow will be. If e-commerce is a beach of white sand, with palm trees and fish, innovations will be grains of sand on a beach in perpetual development. All these innovations are helping to shape the e-commerce of tomorrow, an e-commerce in constant evolution. “.