How did e-commerce become an innovation hub?

This e-boutique, far from being ephemeral, has become a true means of customer support throughout their 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 at Shopify. Decryption of this trend to discover how e-commerce has become a center of innovation.

A symbiosis between online and physical sales oriented towards customer satisfaction

On Tuesday, March 17, 2020, the death knell rang. Containment is in effect. The stores are closed. For small companies, which are still little digitized, the situation is difficult. Should we wait for the health situation to improve? Many professionals then choose to create a virtual store. It is this choice that will later allow the development of a fertile ground for innovation, a true “Omnical Innovation Center”🇧🇷

“For a long time e-commerce was ”just” a new chain of stores says David Bijaoui, CEO of Colorz. “We found ourselves in an innovative context for some at the time, but disappointing for the brand’s employees. Sellers were always against each other: the physical store against the website. Then, e-commerce changed and matured. Today it is no longer a store, but a customer service »🇧🇷

Indeed, the various acquisition channels (website, physical store, social networks, etc.) “from hubs”🇧🇷

Thanks to this connection, e-commerce is no longer a simple ” additional channel “but became a” service “additional. E-commerce no longer fulfills only the role of a store, but also a catalogue, showcase or even a substitute solution to capture the customer when an item is not available in the store. As David Bijaoui, CEO of Colorz, explains, the links have become particularly tight between the physical and the digital: “Today, if the physical store does not list an item in our size, this is no longer a problem: the item can be ordered in store directly on the e-commerce site. The online store became part of an environment dedicated to customer service. The goal is not to turn it into a new touchpoint, but to provide the customer with a single hub with multiple touchpoints. The digitalization of the brand will provide this service”.

Benefit for brands that already have a community

On the other hand, brands that launched themselves on the internet for the first time were able to promote the creation of their online community. With or without an e-commerce brick, these brands were able to easily launch and communicate about opening brick-and-mortar stores. In fact, the e-merchant or content producer already has a commitment and a community.

The logic of symbiosis is then possible in both directions. “During the Covid period, we witnessed a significant influx of local merchants who, for the sake of survival, launched into online commerce” recalls Emilie Benoit-Vernay, Head of Southern Europe at Shopify.🇧🇷 “Later on, local merchants wanted to keep both channels […] even if these tools were previously considered competitive. Today, we are also able to invert the equation, as shown by the emergence of the creative economy. […] On the one hand, we help merchants who have a product to create a community and, on the other hand, we help creators to live thanks to their community”.

The emergence of e-commerce-based innovations

E-commerce website building platforms have made more accessible innovations in e-commerce possible for businesses. This occurs by facilitating the implementation of tools that do not require advanced computer skills. “Today, Shopify has become a complete innovation-fueling ecosystem” says Mat de Sousa, CEO of The Wide Company. “The services offered to shopkeepers are adapted to customer demand. The functionalities available in terms of protection against internet fraud, or measuring the environmental impact are proof of this. Shopify now has a module to calculate the carbon footprint and has implemented numerous bank checks and reviews to prevent fraud. It is even possible to develop your own features”.

As such, tomorrow’s e-commerce will have to enable purchase in the same way as in-store. Industry innovations are geared towards this direction, but delivery constraints are a limit to this goal. However, a solution can be found precisely in the omnichannel nature of platforms. “The ”ship from store” is a real challenge for retailers’ innovation logic” says David Bijaoui, CEO of Colorz🇧🇷 “I need a central stock for e-commerce and a more “dispersed” stock across my store network? Why not use the stores as a distribution relay? Then we work on the ”order management system” ‘: we will go as close to the customer as possible to deliver it. If a local store has the item the customer is looking for, the item will leave that store”🇧🇷

This interconnection will also allow the customer to obtain more information about the items, namely about their availability or stock replenishment. Indeed, the stores are directly linked to the brand’s website(s). The payment itself can be made in the retailer’s app, in order to avoid waiting at the checkout, which many brands already offer for certain accessories.

“E-commerce is the cornerstone of brand digitization. But we are only at the beginning” to remember the CEO of Colorz. “It’s hard to imagine what the uses of tomorrow will be. If e-commerce were a beach of white sand, with palm trees and fish, innovations would be the grains of sand on a beach in perpetual formation. All of these innovations help shape tomorrow’s e-commerce, an ever-evolving e-commerce. 🇧🇷

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