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Health crisis: digitalization is a guarantee of survival for VSEs

Between the multiplication of e-commerce sites and the democratization of click & collect, digitalization has become more than ever the sine qua non condition for the survival of companies, and more precisely for the smallest.

As proof: since January 2020, internet sales to retail chains have grown rapidly: +29% during the 3rd quarter, with the increase in the web channel of stores, 3 times greater than for the same period in 2019 (+41% vs +13%)*.

An unavoidable transition for 99.9% of French companies

Large groups, ETIs, SMEs, VSEs, … no one has been spared by the crisis, and this is indeed one of the surprising aspects of this crisis: Everyone has had to work to transform themselves because yesterday’s success is no guarantee of tomorrow’s survival. Today, France has nearly 4 million VSEs and SMEs, which make up 99.9% of its economic fabric, and business creation is still growing despite the economic and health crisis. At the end of 2020, INSEE counted no less than 770,176 companies created between January 1 and November 30, 2020, an increase of 4.5% compared to 2019.

In the current context, the mistake most often made by small businesses, such as small traders, has been to think that digital and tools dedicated to digitalization were reserved for a certain size of business.Indeed, many VSE managers think that equipping themselves with digital tools requires substantial financial means or time-consuming training. Small companies have strong growth ambitions, but they do not have the resources of large companies. The health crisis has made them realize that digital technology is more of a solution than a hindrance in the daily management of their business, thus allowing VSE managers to realize that time management and its optimization are crucial elements in the proper development of the activity.

Far from benefiting from the same human and technological resources as large SMEs or ETIs, the VSE manager must work even faster and free up time by automating certain tasks in order to concentrate on more important tasks.They need to free up time by automating certain tasks in order to concentrate on more strategic tasks such as improving sales performance, acquiring new customers and retaining existing ones.

Prioritize your needs

Digital transformation is not just about creating an e-commerce website or social media profiles. The entrepreneur must first of all understand the new uses of his customers or the new behaviors of the consumers, an increasingly important fact since the pandemic of covid-19 that the world lives and the various restrictions which changed the mode of consumption. If saving time and visibility on its activity must remain in line of sight, it is not necessary to digitalize everything and anything. Two options are available to companies who will choose the process that suits them best, depending on the different factors specific to each (time, means, preparation, etc.).

First of all, it is necessary to proceed by successive touches by identifying the services that the company needs to digitize in priority to allow it to continue and develop its activity. Think about monitoring the tools used by the competition or the sector in general to position yourself. But be careful: digitizing does not mean automating everything! Because the human element remains essential in the quest for new customers, the entrepreneur may put in place the most complete customer management tool possible, but it is the human element that will transmit the company’s values to the public. Let’s face it, digitalization should not replace the human being. What can be digitized must be digitized, but not EVERYTHING! Finally, as in all projects, digital technology is also evolving and we must remain attentive to the changes and technological developments that reflect the needs and uses of society.

You have to be constantly on the lookout and keep in mind that for the company, it is a question of constant adaptation to its environment. The risk otherwise: to become obsolete…

*Source: https://www.fevad.com/bilan-du-e-commerce-au-3eme-trimestre-2020-266-milliards-deuros-de-chiffre-daffaires/

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