Year-end sales 2020: an expert's view

Year-end sales 2020: an expert's view
Published on: Dec 6, 2020
Updated: Aug 18, 2022

We've never seen a year like 2020 and certainly won't see comparable year-end sales either. As part of our series around the end of year spike, we interviewed Elodie Norée, e-commerce marketplace consultant at Carrefour hygiene/beauty category (Cabinet Aliznet).Disclaimer: This interview was conducted on Thursday, October 22, prior to the final presidential announcements on October 28, 2020.

parcelLab: In your opinion, what are the major challenges of these end-of-year sales in 2020?

Elodie Norée: First of all, it is important to remember a figure: 55 is the number of days without a customer that physical shops have experienced. This is what has led to the predominance of e-commerce. <There are therefore several major challenges at the end of 2020 for both the physical and digital sectors. So we're going to offer all the means possible to our clients so that they can succeed at the end of 2020.

parcelLab: How do you intend to help brands deal with this peak? What are the means at your disposal?

Elodie Norée: We are putting in place several strategies 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 existing 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 putting in place 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 about good logistics. The customer experience is important.

The importance also of a dynamic catalogue; current collections and even new products that will make the consumer more likely to buy this type of product rather than others that they already know by heart.

parcelLab: Would you say that this year brands are preparing more on the internet than in shop? Will they rely more on e-commerce?

Elodie Norée: As far as I'm concerned, I don't have a precise 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 for brands to be able to sell on the internet. It is important for brands to be present in physical stores.
We keep in the back of our minds the possibility of a second re-confinement, many of my clients opened up to marketplaces during the first confinement and set up click & collect in their shops.

As consumers, we naturally want to go to the shop 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 behaviour changed since the end of confinement?

Elodie Norée: Buying behaviour has changed since the confinement. The figures are there, sales are growing. Compared to last year, consumers are buying in a completely different way. They will follow the trend and buy much more authentically. We can see this with the widespread use of applications that allow people to check what is behind the labels, whether for clothes, food or cosmetics.

<There were trends before the 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 work at Carrefour, I noticed that the grocery sector exploded at the time of the confinement and this has continued. I would like to say that behaviour has changed, but in the right direction. The brands are quite happy with this evolution.

In my field (care, health, well-being, editor's note), the evolution has been towards 'home-made', DIY. Consumers are turning to creams and less make-up. This can be explained by the widespread use of masks. For example, there has been a decline in sales of lipstick and an increase in sales of mascara. There was also a boom in hygiene: for four months no one was able to go to the hairdresser. It was then noticed that after the lockdown, hair colour was one of the products that sold the most on the internet. Do-it-yourself kits, shower gels, soaps, etc., were also top sellers.

So we are seeing a real return to basics: have we been more unhappy? The answer is no. Consumer behaviour has changed and so we can really talk about new trends and a change in customer behaviour.

parcelLab: Do you think 2020 marks a turning point for the sector? 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 in all areas with explanatory videos. Mastercals, "One To One" consultations, Instagram also helps people in their purchasing process.

In general, social networks will 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 end of year peak? All our advice to start this period calmly and optimize your customer experience in this guide. Download it now!

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