A look back at the Mêlée Numérique: commerce and e-commerce in the face of the Amazon giant

A look back at the Mêlée Numérique: commerce and e-commerce in the face of the Amazon giant

From September 24 to 28, 2018, La Mêlée Numérique was held in Toulouse, as it is every year. For its 18th edition, La Mêlée chose to put people at the heart of digital. Conferences, round tables and workshops, unique and enriching experiences enabled us to take stock of e-commerce in France. If you couldn't make it, we'd like to offer you a short catch-up session.

 "Amazon is logistics excellence [...] which drives companies to be better".

Who hasn't used Amazon to buy or sell products? With 5 billion deliveries a year, this e-commerce giant has become a key player in the distribution market. But what if the pace set by the e-retailer pushed companies to be better at managing their supply chains? That's what we heard from a number of online retailers, including Santé discount, Bricoprivé and PrintOclock. Managing the value chain, proposing a personalized offer to customers, and delivering products within 24 hours are real challenges for these companies as they try to perpetuate their business models. Outsourcing logistics and goods transport can be a solution for boosting performance and service quality.

"Amazon, competitor or development potential for e-commerce?"

While Amazon represents a major competitor for all e-commerce sites, it also seems to give a boost to many of them. Indeed, without Amazon, most e-commerce sites would not be as successful. On the one hand, the platform has changed consumers' behavior, and they now have the reflex to search for any product on the Internet. This is a boon for e-commerce sites that are well referenced. On the other hand, these sites use Amazon themselves, whether to sell their products via marketplaces, to conduct market intelligence, to test the popularity of their products or to store data in the Cloud. At the same time, there are still a few sectors in which Amazon is not overshadowed, such as the printing industry, or retail players who know how to make the most of their opportunities.

"What customers are looking for is the 'Wow' experience".

Whether online or in a physical store, the user experience remains paramount, according to the retailers and shopping center representatives present. The challenge for e-commerce sites is to monetize the user experience by offering personalized content and providing the best possible advice through chatbots and customer reviews. Here too, Amazon has a head start, thanks to its algorithms and the collective intelligence of e-buyers. One of the keys given to La Mêlée is to bring the human element to the fore and, where possible, develop opinion leaders to give consumers credibility and reassurance.

"Relying on a physical network to be as close as possible to the customer".

The physical store remains a privileged place of exchange and experience for the customer. What is it that (still) drives a prospect to visit a store? The hope of receiving better advice than on the Internet. Irrijardin, like other specialist distributors, is therefore focusing on training its sales staff, with the aim of building customer loyalty. Others, like shopping malls, are vying with each other in their imagination to animate and create interaction on site, in order to increase brand loyalty. But Amazon also seems intent on "taking to our streets". The takeover of Whole Foods Market, parcel lockers, unmanned stores... what does Amazon have in store for us in the future?

More than just a retail leader, Amazon is becoming an opinion leader. How far will its influence extend? What will tomorrow's e-commerce landscape look like? With a growth rate of 14% per year, many new sites are launching. But how are they going to overcome this unbalanced system where some are losing money and others need major fund-raising to survive? One thing's for sure: we need to think and act in the short term!