French Internet City Label have been attributed
The most dynamic local authorities for citizen Internet have been awarded the "Internet City Label".
Le Journal du Net
The web eases small business daily business
The Bureaux et Commerces magazine incites SME to use the Internet on a regular basis and puts forwards benefits they can get.
Carrefour breaks new ground by promoting its operations online
Carrefour has opened a mini-site fore the launch of its operation called "The Carrefour Month" ("Le Mois Carrefour").
Distributed intranet : an essential tool for knowledge management
Local web sites: let's be pragmatic!
The calling into question of the new economy has prompted firms already on the Net to downsize their internet projects. After e-commerce sites and centralized portals, a new tendency is emerging, based on a more pragmatic approach of the web's stakes, namely local web sites. Typical of this new tendency is the success of companies like e-local which just raised 30 million FF to develop "city-guides". These web guides displaying practical information and local news for every city are blossoming. According to a survey by CoSpirit Research on consumers' attitudes offline and online, 70% of the shoppers use the internet to get information, though they generally prefer buying in a "physical" shop. A local web site's mission is to address people close to the company by providing local information and services. This sort of site is administered in a decentralized way; a chain does not need to put effort on the management of its central portal anymore. All it needs to do is to favour the emergence of a network of local web sites, managed by the points of sale themselves and who are in position to bring value added services that will generate traffic to the stores.
Workshop web sites
Retailers web sites
Car dealers sites
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Retailers web sites

French retail network Magasin U took the turn of local web sites in October 2001 by launching 80 local web sites available both from the portal and from their own URL (ex. After having studied their competitors' approach, Système U chose the "e-services" instead of "e-commerce" direction. Local web sites offer local information (TV programs, news, cinema timetables) and services in their customer catchment area (delivery, pictures' development, etc. ). Système U foresees the opening of 400 local web sites by 2002 (Systeme U counts 800 shops).

The choice made by Système U shows that the web can be used for other ends than e-commerce, provided that is brings useful information and services to the visitors. Local web sites answer these needs and are also a tool to attract visitors to the shop and increase customer loyalty. After the ups and downs of online sales due to faulty logistics, companies start to realize that Internet and retail shops are not in competition but should be complementary for business development.

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Conforama has chosen to combine local web and e-commerce in order to reinforce synergies between online sales and retail shops, in order to increase traffic to the shops, which is the priority n° 1 of the brand. Indeed, turnover growth needed to be sustained by a web presence rather than to be cannibalised by a global e-commerce web site competing with the retail shops. Orders made on the local web sites are thus dispatched to the retail shops according to the customer catchment area. Moreover, this decentralized strategy has the advantage to rely on the existing logistics of the retail shops for delivery and after-sales, without having to develop a parallel system to sustain mail-order selling.

The Conforama project has been developed in about 8 months. It notably needed to integrate back office sales management tools already in use in the retail shops. The project, which has been finalized in July 2000, already has positive results: promoted by an important marketing campaign, the new web site has generated an important business traffic towards the shops. It would be advisable nonetheless to complete this system based on the shops by a real site for each point of sale where they could directly communicate with their clients and prospects.

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 Read MORE 
Cospirit Research communique, 22/11/2001 
Audio chronicle (French only) 05/07/2001 
Automotive I-Marketing Efforts Stuck in Neutral 
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