Retail tech to rescue local businesses in Covid-19 turmoil

Apr 1, 2020 | Sweden, Tech & Services

Helping local shops and retailers to sell their products during the confinement in France is key for local businesses and the whole economy. Therefore, the French Government has encouraged retail tech and e-commerce companies to give a hand and help their counterparts to digitalize their physical stores. Here are some of the initiatives taken by our most innovative retail tech start-ups, a good way to learn more about this thriving sector.  


New technologies to keep the business running  

In the exceptional situation caused by the Covid-19 epidemic, a momentum of solidarity is growing in France to cope with the sanitary and economic emergency. Some retail tech companies, and e-commerce platforms have already answered the call for digitalization sent by the Government and offer their services and technologies for free or with special discounts during the crisis. Thus, local shops and retailers will be able to use new technologies of payment, online marketplaces, new logistic and shipping solutions or develop their commercial website.

Here are some examples of solutions that represent well the French retail tech ecosystem:  

  • PrestaShop proposes to design online shopping websites (40% discount on a special offer);
  • Lydia offers a mobile payment solution (Free until 30th of June); 
  • Cubyn externalizes stocks, logistics, and shipment (Free for essential goods);
  • Wynd offers a full solution for an online marketplace, omnichannel fulfilment, and cash-in (Free for small shops and local retailers);
  • Teekersdigital marketplace for small shops including shipping service and virtual shop (Free during the containment measures);
  • Sarbacane proposes new communication solutions through email, text message or chat (Free for small shops and local retailers).

 The full list of contributing companies is available here.  

France has one of the best retail tech ecosystems   

France is home to more than 800 retail tech start-ups offering a wide range of digital solutions and technologies. The French offer is among the best in Europe and French start-ups usually stand out in international trade shows such as Euroshop, NRF or Netcomm. French players are growing fast and the ecosystem is becoming more mature. In 2018 French retail tech start-ups raised €803 million, +40% compared to 2017. Some start-ups are launching their solutions on the European most prominent markets, the USA or in China. This trend is confirmed by some spectacular fundraisings, as for instance with Simplifield working on a store to HQ data platform (€10M in January 2020); Wynd with its omnichannel fulfilment and cash-in platform (€72M in January 2019, for a total of €110M); Akeneo working on Product Experience Management Solutions (€42M in September 2019); or Mirakl, leader on the marketplace & dropship sectors (€62M in March 2019).

Here is a mapping of the French retail tech ecosystem divided into three main sale process applications: Before Sales, In-Store and After Sales. This mapping is made by Bpifrance le Hub and presents the variety of the French offer.

The Swedish retail market in demand for digitalization  

Sweden is a mature and advanced market where physical stores are increasingly connected. Cashless solutions and User Experience App are already implemented on this market, often seen as a testbed for new solutions and technologies. Sweden is home to some of the most successful international retailers, often very open to innovation, such as Ikea, H&M, ICA Gruppen, Coop, Apoteket or Systembolaget for instance.  

Sweden is also leading some technological trends and concepts in the retail sector:  

  • « Fulfillment center »: logistic warehouse without service where consumers collect/buy daily-use products;
  • Hybrid shop: the online shop is embedded in the physical shop furnished with digital technologies and informed sellers;
  • Pop-up store: time-limited store furnished with digital technologies, interactive Apps and virtual showrooms, mainly for a specific period (Christmas, Easter, seasonal sales, etc.);
  • Inspirational shop: like Apple store, mainly focused on high-quality service and customer experience.  

Business France Nordic invites a delegation of French retail tech start-ups to Sweden

A delegation of French retail tech and fashion tech start-ups will come to Stockholm to discover the Swedish retail market and present their innovations on June 15-16, 2020. Business France will organize a networking event on the 15th to meet with local retailers and potential partners. Invitations will be sent in the coming weeks, but feel free to contact us if you are interested in meeting with them.  

Get in touch with Pascal Lamorte or use our contact page to present yourself and be part of the Swedish Retail Tech program.

Trade Advisor
Tech & Services
Trade Advisor
Tech & Services