“In My Zone” v Amazon. This could be the motto of these new e-commerce platforms that are emerging all over France: since the first lockdown, more and more cities are launching sites with products from local brands. A way to adapt to the Covid-19 crisis that is bringing the industry to its knees, and to support local activity against sites like Amazon.
Toulouse is one of the last to start. The mobile application “Tout Toulouse” will offer products from 300 stores in the Pink City from December. All local merchants can register later.
It’s at the Federation of merchants, craftsmen and professionals from Toulouse who take the initiative. The president, Philippe Léon, admits that it would be an illusion to hope to thwart the gigantic Amazon. But the platform counts on citizens’ mobilization to support local businesses, especially before the Christmas holidays. “The goal is to enable direct transactions between merchants and customers, without intermediaries or commissions.“, he explains on the site Toulouse news†
Supported at a cost of 660,000 euros – anyway – by the metropolis over a period of 4 years, the project is accompanied by support for the digitization of the stores, many of which do not have a website.
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Easy click and pick up and organized delivery
This initiative does not stand alone. From the first incarceration, cities such as Nice, Tours, Vichy, Nogent-le-Rotrou or Alès and AlesOfcourses.fr created their “marketplaces” online. That of Nantes currently brings together the products of more than 1,200 merchants and craftsmen from the Loire-Atlantique.
These sites are designed to enable secure transactions for businesses that do not have an e-shop, as well as “click and collect” or home delivery.
“Retail accounts for 20% of jobs in Greater Nancy“, justifies Lorraine News Mayor Laurent Hénart, who invested 40,000 euros in Achat-grandnancy.
To set up such projects, these cities sometimes call on specialized service providers, such as Wishibam or Ma ville Mon Shopping, a thriving start-up that was acquired by La Poste. The latter has already conquered some twenty French cities and, during this period of confinement, offers a commercial offer: subscription to its free services for communities and a lower commission on the sale of registered merchants. However, they will have to pay later…
Digital transition of French companies
In addition to securing the local activity, these players defend the necessary digitization of French traders, with the crisis ultimately being an opportunity to make “their digital transition”. If it is a priori difficult to oppose this “modernization”, it is not forbidden to ask yourself whether all companies really need an e-counter, individually or collectively, and whether these projects will really find customers.
The commercial assistant of the Pink City, Olivier Arsac, recognizes this in Toulouse news † “A website and an app are only worth the effort to attract a lot of visitors. We have to manage to capture it in the mind of the consumer. But the app must also have a rich range of products and services, and that traders take advantage of them en masse… †
Small problem exactly, the platforms that arise here and there in the urgency of the crisis sometimes begin to overlap in the same territory. At the risk of confusing customers?
In the Pink City alone, “Tout Toulouse” will co-exist with “Toulouse Boutiques”, the private initiative “Géo’local31”, which will allow shops in Haute-Garonne, “Click’n Co”, of the community of municipalities in the south of Toulouse, or “Dans Ma Zone”, which covers the whole of Occitanie. Small businesses, communities and the platforms that support them still have work to do to structure local e-commerce.