Pure players, those sites that offer only online sales, have been the big winners in this health crisis - they have experienced double and even triple digit growth since the March 2020 containment. What about physical stores? Even if many have adapted by creating e-commerce sites or by proposing offers combining delivery and click and collect, their survival remains precarious. It is in this context that groups of independent retailers are raising their voices to remedy the injustices. Portrait of the 'Sauvons Nos Commerçants' collective
At the end of May 2021, several national and local retail federations joined forces to create 'Sauvons nos commerçants', a collective that campaigns against the injustice between physical shops and pure players. This collective has emerged following the announcement of Amazon Prime Days a week before the summer sales in France. This action is perceived by the collective as a desire by the giant to cut the ground from under the feet of French retailers - forced to start this sale period only a week later and thus allowing Amazon to capture maximum value.
For retailers, this is the last straw. Today the collective's aim is to make the voice of independent retailers heard and they have maximised their chance of bringing about reform through the recent regional elections in France.
The collective "Sauvons nos commerçants", represents more than 500,000 traders and 1 million employees.
The 'Sauvons Nos Commerçants' collective has called for an emergency meeting at Bercy (Ministry of Economy and Finance) through an article published in the Journal Du Dimanche, " Amazon's rigged match ", in which they point the finger at the " absolute economic cynicism " of the giant. Numerous excesses, both in terms of unfair competition and the environmental and social impact, were highlighted.
In terms of taxation, one of the objectives of the collective is toestablish complete fairness with pure players. Today, the treatment is clearly unequal: while physical merchants are subject to more than 90 taxes, a report by the Inspection Générale des Finances reported in 2019 that 98% of sellers using the marketplace do not declare VAT. The Amazon platform, for example, pays less than €100 million in VAT while it should pay €1.3 billion in VAT.
While e-commerce players present themselves as the first partners and saviours of SMEs, this is not the case: according to figures communicated by Amazon, out of 210,000 active sellers, only 10,000 are French SMEs, i.e. only 4.7% of the platform's players .
It looks like some people are trying to pass themselves off as us 🤡
Using a marketplace like Amazon means taking the risk of being in a relationship of economic dependence with the giant. The platform can block our access to the market, resort to dereferencing, impose a new pricing policy or even copy products. As a reminder, the commissions received on Amazon sales have increased from an average of 19% to 30% in five years.
In addition to all this, there is a range of negative impacts on employment, when we know that for every job created at Amazon, 2 jobs are destroyed in France*, but also on the environment and society as mentioned in a previous article on our blog.
For the collective (and also for Yabe), physical shops are essential to the vitality of territories and are a vector of dynamism and life in towns and in the countryside, which must absolutely be protected from injustice.
They came together during the second lockdown to warn against the consequences of sanitary measures that threatened the survival of traders and strengthened the pure players. The collective emerged in this context, in response to these injustices, to defend a certain vision of trade, which must be fair and equitable.
The collective defends a vision of trade based on exchange, social ties and a sense of service. Trade is above all a human exchange and not a disembodied act. This does not mean that the collective denounces the digitalisation of commerce, quite the contrary: aware of the opportunities offered by the digitalisation of commerce, the collective is made up of omnichannel retailers.