We've never had a year like 2020 and certainly won't have comparable year-end sales either. As part of our series around the end-of-year spike, we interviewed Elodie Norée, an e-commerce marketplace consultant at Carrefour's hygiene/beauty category (Cabinet Aliznet).Disclaimer: This interview was conducted on Thursday, October 22, before the final presidential announcements on October 28, 2020.
parcelLab: In your opinion, what are the major issues of these end-of-year sales 2020?
Elodie Norée: First of all it is important to recall a figure: 55, it is the number of days without customers that physical stores have experienced. This is what led us to a predominance of e-commerce. <So there are several major issues at the end of 2020 for both physical and digital. So we're going to offer all possible means to our clients so that they can succeed at the end of 2020.
parcelLab: How do you intend to help brands apprehend this peak? What are the means at your disposal?
Elodie Norée: We are putting in place several strategies in order to tackle this end of year. The objective is to implement growth levers. Marketing of course but also to provide a stable, balanced environment.
We want to give our current clients the means to accelerate and perform without necessarily asking them to do great promotions. Simply to find the right strategy for each customer. For example, by setting up dedicated boxes, free shipping, samples slipped into the package ... we must be creative and constantly reinvent ourselves so that the customer is always surprised (in a good way!). E-commerce is above all a good logistics. The customer experience is important.
The importance also of a dynamic catalog; current collections and even new products that will make the consumer more likely to buy this type of product rather than others they already know by heart.
parcelLab: Would you say that this year brands are preparing more on the internet than in stores? Are they going to rely more on e-commerce?
Elodie Norée: At my level, I don't have a clear idea. In any case, the feedback from my customers is that for 3-4 months they mainly focused on the internet and saw that it worked. On the internet, margins are often more interesting and it is easier to sell via marketplaces for example. Contrary to the physical world where there are contracts, price negotiations, etc. It is important that brands are present in physical stores. We keep in a corner of our mind, the possibility of a second re-confinement, many of my clients have opened to marketplaces during the first confinement and have implemented the click & collect in their store.
As consumers, we naturally want to go to the store because the customer experience is totally different from the web. But if we are confined again before Christmas, how do we shop?
parcelLab: How has consumer buying behavior changed since the end of confinement?
Elodie Norée: Buying behavior has changed since confinement. The numbers are there, sales are growing. Compared to last year, consumers are buying in a completely different way. They are going to follow the trend and buy much more authentically. We can see this with the widespread use of applications that allow them to check what's behind the labels, whether it's for clothing, food or cosmetics.
There were trends before containment that became clearer during this period: people are consuming less but better. They will buy things that are much more expensive but less recurrent. Local products are going to become more important, shorter circuits. Through my mission at Carrefour, I noticed that the grocery field exploded at the time of the confinement and this has continued. I would like to say that behavior has changed, but in the right direction. The brands are quite happy with this evolution.
In my field (care, health, well-being, ed. note), the evolution has been towards "homemade", DIY. Consumers are turning to creams and less make-up. This can be explained by the widespread use of masks. For example, there is a decline in sales of lipstick and an increase in sales of mascara. On the hygiene side, there was also a boom: for 4 months no one was able to go to the hairdresser. We then noticed that after the confinement, hair coloring was one of the products that sold the most on the internet. The boxes to make the products yourself, shower gels, soaps, etc., were also part of the top sales.
So we are witnessing a real return to basics: have we been more unhappy? The answer is no. Consumer behavior has changed, so we can really talk about new trends and changing customer behavior.
parcelLab: Do you think 2020 marks a turning point for the industry? How will things change in the coming years?
Elodie Norée: The pandemic is bound to leave its mark. We're not out of it yet and there are bound to be twists and turns. Brands are therefore preparing now for 2021 and to be able to react quickly if necessary. There is also digitalization: today there are more tutorials: brands accompany the customer experience all areas combined with explanatory videos. Mastercalss, "One To One" consultations, Instagram also helps people in their buying journey.
Social networks will, in general, play an important role in consumers' purchasing decisions.
In view of current events and the health context, end-of-year sales are set to be more demanding and digital than ever. What impact will this have on brands? Do you feel ready for this year-end peak? All our advice to start this period serenely and optimize your customer experience in this guide. Download it now!