PARIS: Some 40% of independent French traders see e-commerce as a threat to their business but more than half do not have a website and most of those have no plans to create one, a new survey has found.

A white paper from Mappy, the map specialist, and BVA, the polling organisation – Web-to-store, enjeux et opportunités pour le commerce physique à l'ère du digital – surveyed a representative sample of 308 local traders and 2,000 consumers to better understand their needs and expectations.

Some 57% of retailers did not have a website and only 20% of these indicated they had plans to set one up. Even then, it was generally a longer term aim, with 31% saying they would do so between six and 12 months hence, with 33% pushing the idea out beyond a year.

Almost two thirds said they had felt the impact of e-commerce, with 28% of those reporting a fall in attendance or decrease in turnover.

But around half of French online consumers (52%) said they made at least one purchase a month on the internet and the report argued that traders could maintain online visibility while at the same time attracting consumers to buy in-store.

Fully 90% of consumers said they were interested in being able to look up information online before making a purchase in a local store, with details of product price or business location sought most often. Specific product information and the ability to order online and pick up in store were also highly valued.

Some 78% already researched a purchase online before buying in a local shop. This was almost twice as much as engaged in showrooming, with 41% performing this operation.

The web-to-store route was most noticeable in certain categories, including consumer electronics, household goods and cars.

Bricks and mortar stores needed to develop initiatives that would give a store purchase greater value than an online one, said the report, specifically citing better levels of service, customer experience and the adoption of digital services in-store.

Data sourced from BVA; additional content by Warc staff