What are the the latest trends and best practices in e-commerce? Jérémie Serout, Sales Manager at parcelLab is sharing tips and customer stories with us!
Hello! Would you like to start by briefly telling us a bit about yourself?
My name is Jérémie Serout, and I have been lucky enough to work in retail and e-commerce for the last four years. First, I was at Yoobic, but I have been working for the last year and a half at parcelLab, an Operation Experience solution.
What big e-commerce trends are you currently seeing?
Since the pandemic started, I have noticed two big trends.
First of all, there is a big shift underway for premium and luxury brands. E-commerce is playing an increasingly important role for these businesses because they typically do not offer an experience that is very compatible with online shopping.
Secondly, there is the increase in sales volumes that we have seen since March 2020. The existing logistics infrastructure was not ready to absorb such demand and the warehouses were not designed for it either. As a result, these businesses have had to either increase their capacity or adopt a “ship from store” approach, where the principle is quite simple: products are shipped directly from the store, and therefore, all stores are treated as warehouses.
This is an immense logistical challenge! How can you possibly offer a consistent level of service when one shop sends one part of an order, another shop sends another part, and the rest is sent from a central warehouse?
So, what can these brands do to provide a quality experience despite the lack of interaction or an in-store experience?
We are currently seeing a number of different initiatives on the market. Certain prestigious French brands are offering phone calls or video calls to provide a premium online shopping experience, but this is not really e-commerce.
Other initiatives include solutions like ours, for example, which opt for an end-to-end brand experience, which is consistent, creates a unique environment, and accompanies the user throughout the entire process.
And then there are other brands who have simply accepted that their brand will suffer, even despite the choice of a premium courier. This results in a lower-quality experience as the link between brand and customer is non-existent, and by leaving things to the courier, there is a loss of transparency that can have a glaring impact on their NPS.
Are you seeing good practices being implemented by your clients when it comes to flow management?
If we look at “ship from store”, this is a solution that is very easy to implement. At the end of the day, asking the courier to collect from a store is no more complicated than asking them to collect from a warehouse.
The most important thing is to have the needs of the customer front and center. For example, it is important for the customer to know that their order will be sent in multiple packages. Once they have been informed about this and the packages arrive at the right destination, there really is no harm done whatsoever to the overall experience or customer satisfaction.
There are many retailers who are already well established in France, so it is important to take advantage of the current network to face these new challenges!
With these changes taking place after COVID, do you think that they are more temporary, or are these more permanent structural changes?
That is the big question! Will e-commerce become a thing of the past? In particular, what will happen to luxury brands or those aimed at a less digital audience?
What are seeing is that sales traffic and volume in certain sectors have returned to normal, particularly in cosmetics and jewelry. But overall, e-commerce is definitely growing.
E-commerce in 2021 is definitely stronger than it was in 2019, and the amount of investment and progress made during the various confinement measures will leave some lasting changes.
So, is there anything you would like to say in summary?
The thing that really leaps out at me is the difference in effort between e-commerce and traditional retail with regard to the customer experience.
When people go to a store, we normally go somewhere because they provide good advice, and this gives them an opportunity to upsell. Online, on the other hand, the consumer is not really accompanied very much through the process.
However, when selling online, simply sending a beauty tutorial or assembly instructions after a purchase makes complete sense. If the customer receives instructions by e-mail even before their furniture has arrived, this can make all the difference.
After all, we should not forget that this is the number one reason that people contact furniture and DIY stores!