When it comes to Christmas shopping, a CREDOC study happily falls at the foot of the marketer’s tree. The 2012 edition on “The French and Bahamas Phone Numbers List distance selling” confirms the rise in e-commerce but above all a few trends that deserve to be looked at. First of all, the Internet captures almost all distance selling (VAD), the share of French people who only ordered on the Internet during the last 12 months increased by 20 points compared to 2008, from 30 to 50 %, whereas the whole of the VAD stagnates from 70% to 69% over the same period (fall of the telephone and the mail). Then, clothing becomes the first category of purchases on the Internet (43% of buyers), relegating travel (40%) and cultural goods (33%) to 2nd and 3rd position.

For a long tie, the sector focused on the brakes (touching fabrics, fitting, aspects…) which were to prevent sales on the Internet. Online stores have strived to reconstruct the in-store customer experience, and success is evident. Sectors relating to health (optics, hearing, dermo-cosmetics, etc.) are seeing the emergence of new competitors on the Internet and will undoubtedly have to redefine their exclusive distribution model. The study also confirms the strong growth in food purchases on the Internet. The GSA takes advantage of the “Drive” model which offers online purchase with in-store withdrawal. The in-store pick-up method is also used for cultural goods (FNAC) or sporting goods (Decathlon).

Changes In E-commerce & Physical Commerce?

This observation must be compared with the results of two other studies carried out by IFOP and Cap Gemini. The first teaches us that 70% of consumers take no pleasure in shopping in supermarkets (+11 points compared to 2010). The second concludes that consumers have strong expectations of stores as a place of experience prior to purchasing on the Internet. ROPO (Research Online, Purchase Offline) was the publicized trend in recent years to position the main role of the Internet and physical commerce. This model is increasingly called into question by the evolution of e-commerce and consumer expectations. A new model that could be described as SOPO, Showroom Offline, Purchase Online, seems to be emerging.


Many brands look with envy on Nespresso’s selective network, which offers a pleasant experience for customers beyond the product itself. Nespresso supplements the system with a relationship program and an e-commerce site Finally, this change would be imperfect if we did not add the first current activation lever, social media, at the origin of the recommendations that trigger purchases. In Diesel stores, Facebook photo-sharing features have invaded changing rooms to solicit the opinions of friends. The next step is expected for 2013, with the generalization of the “Want” button on Facebook through which consumers share their shopping desires. This feature will be an essential indicator for Santa Claus in 2013.

This Observation Must Be Compared

If we take the example of a plane trip, the passenger can buy his ticket and register 24 hours before his departure on the company portal. When leaving, he may receive an SMS warning him that his flight is delayed. Arrived at the airport, he will find out about his flight by consulting the screens scattered around the terminal. He will be directed by a member of the ground staff to a counter where he will give a second person his suitcase. He will then go through security where other actors will check his personal effects … after many adventures, he will be informed by a member of the teams on the ground of the immediate boarding, then will be greeted by a hostess, when entering the plane.

My description of this customer journey is very simplified compared to the reality of what the passenger is going through, to all the details that can prove to be problematic, even anxiety-provoking. In addition, service offers increasingly rely on the work of a multitude of specialized marketing players, each focused on their own part of the service. Faced with such complexity, new challenges appear, and among them: the need to make aware, both to the different front-office teams and to the different marketing players, that each contributes in part to the offer, but that Seen from the customer’s point of view, each contribution is only the smallest part of a whole which must be coherent.

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