For nearly a decade, we have witnessed a significant change in the way consumers buy. The conquering large-scale distribution which shaped purchasing practices from the opening of the first supermarket in 1963 until the beginning of the 19th century, today sees its turnover decrease slowly, admittedly, but this trend seems inexorable even if the large Retail brands are trying to reinvent themselves by developing local commerce and offering new services such as home delivery or group collection of purchases (“drive-through”).

The advent of e-commerce

Electronic commerce (or e-commerce) is developing at the same time, whether it is the sale of cultural goods, clothing, electronic products, tourist services or even financial services (banking or insurance on line). The categories of goods and services that can be accessed online today seem endless (training, optics-glasses-…). While e-commerce first concerned trade between businesses (BtoB), it has taken an important place in retail trade (BtoC) where it now represents almost 10% of it.

This evolution of purchasing practices linked to the possibilities offered by digital technology is also the consequence of other strong trends in the evolution of society: the preservation of the environment (consuming locally, having a sober consumption, reducing waste ), but also ethical concerns (working conditions and employee compensation, etc.).

Consuming locally reinforces the feeling of being able to act personally, each at their own level on the economy, employment and the environment. This certainly concerns food first, but it can extend to the purchase of clothing, capital goods, the local can then become the regional in the broad sense.

But it is also about giving meaning to what we produce and consume. Between a product made on the other side of the world in dubious ecological conditions and disastrous social practices, the consumer tends more and more to favor a product of which he knows the « story » and the origin of its manufacture. Admittedly, if the product is more expensive, financial considerations may prevent some consumers from taking this step, but at the same time, the development of direct selling can considerably reduce the price gap.

In this very particular period that we are experiencing following the confinement linked to the covid 19 pandemic , these trends in the evolution of purchasing practices which were still the result of certain categories of the population rather well off and having a high cultural capital seem develop, generalize and at the same time diversify. Respect for barrier gestures, the concern to limit travel, a different organization of time promote these new practices.

And tomorrow ?

What about the next day? The end of confinement does not mean a pure and simple return to life before, respect for barrier gestures will remain in force for several months and will promote the anchoring of these new purchasing practices. Eventually, life resuming its normal course, some consumers will at least partially return to their previous purchasing practices, but it is certain that these new purchasing practices will become very significant in the commercial landscape.

It is therefore imperative for each company to prepare now to imagine and implement these new forms of distribution by imagining what additional value we can thus bring to its current customers but also how on the basis of this customer value we can conquer new ones. clients. An important dimension of this value will have to be a response to the consumer’s need for transparency, traceability and meaning.

What we have just seen for the distribution of your product or service offer is also valid for your purchases. We will come back to this subject in a future article.

We can support you in this process of innovating new forms of distribution.