Lockdown: Cdiscount adapts and convinces their French customer base

par fanny | Jul 2020

At INSPI we have decided to lend a voice to our confined customers. What actions should be taken in this very special situation? With containment forces in place, Cdiscount had to react very quickly to adapt to the new daily life of the ultra-connected French. Provision of products, creation of content to maintain links with its consumers, adopting an approach based on solidarity towards small business: we present here an overview of the measures implemented by the French leader in e-commerce.


Playing your cards right

Few people know that Cdiscount is not only a platform that sells furniture, high-tech and DIY products. The brand, which belongs to the Casino group, also offers food and hygiene products on top of everything else. It’s not a surprise, e-commerce has clearly come out on top during these two confined months. Cdiscount is not to be outdone and has worked hard to go from 1,000 to 10,000 products referenced in the hygiene and food sectors. Their leitmotiv, to adapt to the needs of the French by keeping the wheels of business moving – developing closer relations with delivery partners (home delivery rose from 50 to 95% during the containment) – but with one overriding condition: the protection of its employees and especially those who continued to work in the warehouses with the implementation of drastic sanitary measures.

A winning bet since the site registered a 35% increase in traffic at the end of March thru April. Thanks to this popularity, the brand also offered more and more online content for its consumers: including cooking classes with a chef, sports classes with a former Olympic champion, interior design classes with Valérie Damidot (a French television personality). Cdiscount has registered tens of thousands of Facebook views  Proposals that will no doubt be renewed outside of the confines of the company and provide a means of maintaining the link with consumers that has proved its worth. The brand did not just stop there.

Facebook live interior design class by Valérie Damidot


Solidarity measures for small and medium-sized businesses

All the problems of supply and the very strong dependence of European countries on China, provoke an awareness: the desire, the need for a return to local networks. Cdiscount’s “Made in France” corner has quadrupled its sales during April and May.

Cdiscount has 12,000 salespeople, 5,000 of whom are French, 80% of whom are made up of small to medium sized businesses (. During the confinement, the brand has set up several schemes to support this type of business. More flexible access to the marketplace and support by a dedicated team: these small structures forced to close down were able to maintain some activity by benefiting from e-commerce. Added to this are shorter deadlines for creating access to the platform and preferential rates depending on the category. « With more than 20 million unique visitors, this marketplace is a means of maintaining or even relaunching an activity in this context of crisis. A local retailer can thus extend its catchment area » explains Jonathan Gorges, Director of the marketplace. More than 600 businesses have used this facility. « It seemed important to us to be a driving force in this dynamic of support for small businesses, whether by making them benefit from lighter measures to integrate the marketplace or by giving them the possibility of buying masks from us, who have a large network to supply us in big quantities » he adds.

These offers to VSEs and SMEs have, so to speak, forced the hand of those who had not yet integrated digital into their strategy. A salutary acceleration for some who were able to continue to exist in a different way during these extremely complicated times for small businesses and retail in general.


Future will be phygital

During this period apart, the French have turned massively to digital for their shopping, medical consultations, sports and cooking classes. Consumption patterns are changing and so are people. « There is an acceleration of digital acculturation. I am thinking of our clients who used to go to our website who may have had this reflex reinforced. We have also noticed that a part of our consumers, who until then had not been on the internet, have finally converted to digital. The over 50s have been over-represented. The context has either reinforced or created a digital reflex » says Jonathan Gorges.

The ERMES marketing study profiles four types of consumer behaviour expected post-containment


A study carried out by the ERMES marketing platform and shared by co-marketing, has drawn up profiles of four types of consumer behavior that companies can expect post-confinement. Even if brands encourage customers to return to the store by implementing all possible measures to guarantee their safety, it is still the customer himself who will decide what attitude to adopt. The study identifies 3.5 M “Cautious” and 5.9 M “Ants” worried about health or economic issues who will continue to adopt the same purchasing reflexes developed during confinement. The Cicadas (4.2 M) will return to a consumption like that of their former life when the Collectives (7.4 M) will have the same amounts of expenditure but for more reflected and committed purchases (in France in particular).

Brands that have embraced digital to “survive” are likely to extend the e-commerce experience as consumers return to the store progressively. We are therefore moving more and more towards hybrid consumption models where “omnichannel” is key. 3D visualization, augmented reality, product configuration tools or store and customer management tools: integrated into the marketing/sales strategy, these tools are a real asset and put the customer experience back at the heart of the brands’ strategy. Jonathan Gorges concludes « Online consumption is not at the expense of physical stores. Rather, it’s a complement. At Casino Group, we believe that phygital is very important. It’s the combination of both, in fact, the best of both worlds ».


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