21st Century Shopper

Ultra-transparency in the retail sector

Ultra-transparency in the retail sector 1678 1119 Altavia



There’s a new mantra that seems to be sweeping the retail market, introduced by visionary brands in a desire to make a clean break from convention: ‘ultra-transparency’. A bold approach designed to appeal to customers in their search for authenticity. We took a closer look at this inspirational trend with Thierry Strickler, Retail Market Intelligence Lead at Altavia.

A new pitch: transparency

Price, practicality and accessibility are among the key factors that affect a customer’s purchasing decision, but some also look at an additional criterion that they perceive to be vital: transparency. They want to know how the product is made, where the raw materials were sourced from and the production conditions, along with the actual cost of manufacturing the product and the margin that the brand in question is making. “In an attempt to better convince and appeal to their customers, some retailers have introduced a new way of selling and doing business that focuses on transparency, or rather ultra-transparency, to be exact”, Thierry Strickler explains. “The main goal on which these brands are focusing their operations is to be able to provide evidence of the way in which their products, as ethical, responsible products that respect all of the parties involved, are manufactured and what they actually cost to make”.



DNVBs: where it all began

This concept of ultra-transparency was first introduced by DNVBs (Digital Native Vertical Brands), brands that were created online and interact with their customers.


American off-the-peg fashion brand Everlane, whose slogan, “Exceptional quality. Ethical factories. Radical Transparency”, is clearly displayed on its website, was one of the pioneers of this movement. “We believe our customers have a right to know how much their clothes cost to make. We reveal the true costs behind all of our products—from materials to labor to transportation—then offer them to you, minus the traditional retail markup”, the site explains.



Maison Standards, Jules & Jenn, Léo & Violette and co.

French brand Maison Standards has adopted the same philosophy. In the words of CEO Uriel Karsenty, “we explain our methods, costs and margins and open the consumer’s eyes to the practices adopted within the industry.


Jules & Jenn, whose slogan translates in English as “Responsible. Accessible. Essential”, also claims to “maintain complete transparency at all times”.


And here is a prime example:

“Find out why €85 is a fair price to pay for our leather cleated boat shoes”.



Léo Dominguez, co-founder of the Léo & Violette brand, meanwhile, claimed in an interview with Isal Paris that “we wanted our main focus to be on transparency. We have established a series of common values regarding the way in which we communicate and talk about our brand from the very beginning. We decided to provide place the emphasis on the manufacturing of our products and the transparency of the materials used, as well as about us as a company, showing people who Léo and Violette actually are and what we are all about. This is still true five years down the line – we still spend a lot of time explaining what goes on behind the scenes and how the brand came about. We’ve always felt that our customers appreciate this sense of proximity and this transparency with regard to our background”.


And the examples continue to multiply. Take Sephora, for example, which created a product range entitled Clean at Sephora, allowing customers to easily identify eco-friendly products that do not contain any harmful ingredients.



Boosting trust and appeal

Unveiling your manufacturing processes and the keys to your business model are great ways to boost the appeal of and trust in your brand”, Thierry Strickler explains. “This sort of positioning enables customers looking for authenticity to choose to support a transparent, responsible and uncompromising value system, and is a great way to establish lasting, tangible links with them”.


Even those who have not (yet) adopted this philosophy of ultra-transparency have started to take note. “We are dealing with disruptive players who have the advantage of introducing a new browsing pathway that is attracting the attention of retailers”, Thierry Strickler explains. “It is safe to say that the major players in the cosmetics, food distribution, fashion and even luxury sectors are all keeping a close eye on this new model”.


This may be a bold model, but it is not without its limitations; indeed, there is no mention of design or conception, both of which are vital stages in the process and sources of added value.



GDPR: Fidzup, an exemplary case

GDPR: Fidzup, an exemplary case 1665 897 Altavia



On 19 July last year, the President of the French Data Protection Authority – CNIL – issued Fidzup, which specialises in generating in-store traffic, with a formal notice for failure to adhere to the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). Following several months’ work, the start-up launched a consent management platform that was perfectly in line with the Commission’s requirements. The sanction was lifted and Fidzup became a pioneer. Here we meet Olivier Magnan-Saurin, co-founder of the start-up.

It all began in September 2017…

The CNIL actually performed an audit of Fidzup in the autumn of 2017 and informed us that the consent we were obtaining with regards to the gathering of data was not “explicit and informed”. This triggered a series of exchanges of information and documents, before Fidzup was given an official formal notice on 19 July, around two months after the GDPR came into force.



What aspects did the CNIL request that you change?

It wanted us to review the consent that we were obtaining from end-users to access their location data.

In actual fact, Fidzup only gathers location data – the smartphone’s advertising ID or Wi-Fi login details, GPS location data, etc. Such data is of a non-personal nature since it includes no names or surnames, no addresses, no phone numbers and no email addresses. The CNIL, however, does consider this to be personal data on the grounds that it can be cross-referenced against external databases to reveal that the individual’s identity.



What action did you take?

The CNIL didn’t make any specific requests and, as we understood it, it was down to us to produce the text and the window that would be displayed to end-users in order to obtain their consent.


After our initial proposal was rejected by the CNIL we decided to work on a multi-partner window that would allow us to obtain consent not only for Fidzup but also for other players. We decided to offer a comprehensive list that would really be of help to publishers. We contacted the IAB, an organisation made up of online advertising companies. With their help, and on condition that we respected the framework in which consent was being sought, we obtained access to a list of members. As a result, we offer publishers the opportunity to obtain consent for over 500 partners through a single window.


We officially informed the CNIL that the work that we had undertaken seemed to meet the requests they had made in early October, with the platform now fully complying with the requirements of the GDPR. The formal notice was lifted on 29 November.



This consent platform has helped establish Fidzup as a pioneer…

Exactly. This multi-partner window has been perfected right down to the last detail. Fidzup it is now able to gather data with compliant consent, as well as supporting those publishers that so wish in ensuring their own compliance by offering access to its own solution for obtaining consent that will reflect the relevant regulatory changes. Of course, we are also committed to working solely with publishers who are GDPR compliant.


We are currently the only player in the drive-to-store market to have obtained both formal authorisation from the CNIL to do what we do and a sufficient volume of data to effectively support our clients in their campaigns thanks to a database compiled in accordance with the GDPR.



Paolo Mamo

“Retailers need a real change of perspective”, Paolo Mamo says.

“Retailers need a real change of perspective”, Paolo Mamo says. 1765 767 Altavia

What are the retail and consumer trends of today?

Today more than ever, there is a clear expectation emerging for retailers to become open, limitless spaces. We have left behind the era of boundaries, the physical is no longer pitted against the digital, there is no longer opposition between online and offline purchases, or separation between e-commerce and bricks & mortar. Furthermore, a number of indicators point to what consumers want: they are repulsed by massification, enthused by sharing, long for personalisation and to create their own brand, love modernity, and feel nostalgia for tradition. They are loyal to the brand that keeps its promises, and want to be able to declare it a failure if it does not. They want tailor-made shopping experiences. They are unique, impatient, demand simplicity, have a desire to discover and feel emotions.


What is the challenge for retailers? What does creating a “shopping journey” mean?

The offer must now consider ever lever (tangible and intangible) as a key asset with which to build a distinctive brand in the eyes of its customers. The real progress is grasping the most intimate and emotional aspects, consumers’ unexpressed true and profound thoughts. The shopping journey is fluid, purchasing experiences flow between the no longer futuristic digital world and a physical world that is far from being ready for the scrap heap. The scenario presents countless challenges for retailers: they must take on alternative viewpoints, build a set of consistent and authentic values, open up to the region, guide, inform, involve, be human and at the same time technological.


What makes the difference?

Trying to understand what consumers want is not enough. First of all, they must allow themselves to be inspired and have the courage to imagine the deepest perceptions, feelings and desires that are generated in the guts of someone looking at the brand. The search for and identification of pertinent insights relating to the consumer and not for the consumer will increasingly make a difference. It is not just about our retailers changing their appearance, we are talking about a transformation, a real change of perspective: they must no longer be a place of sale, but a space for purchases. Turning change into opportunity, global into local, data into action, stores into stories, clientq into fans. In short, making the future the present.


How has the relationship between retailers and consumers changed?

It is an endless pursuit, without winners or losers: although consumers are the real transformers and drivers of consumer customs and habits, and it is they who dictate the rules, they have to deal with the fact that the offer is almost always one step behind.


This scenario leaves us confused: fixed patterns are disappearing, consumers can no longer be clustered, but exhibit a thousand different behaviours that cross over in unique and unpredictable profiles. Consumers are at the same time the sales assistants who do it all themselves, the influencers, the reviewers, the loyal and the disloyal, those who chases offers, those who prefer the neighbourhood supermarket, those who rent a home only if it is near their favourite supermarket, those who only buys online or exclusively at a sales outlet.


Thinking about the challenges that retailers must face today means thinking about the consumer’s role. It would be much easier if we could still think in terms of classic marketing: target, segment, apply the same formulae, taking shelter in methodological, statistical and sociological certainties. Consumers are evolving. They must be targeted, but also segmented. However, there remains in them something fluid and evanescent that is difficult to grasp and which, as soon as its mystery has been laboriously revealed, is already inevitably in the past.


By Paolo Mamo, President of Altavia Italia


Apsys on Commercial Spaces

Apsys on Commercial Spaces 2500 1734 Altavia


Apsys is a real-estate development company founded almost 22 years ago by Maurice Bansay that operates in France and Poland, whose mission is making cities and urban life more beautiful by designing and bringing to life iconic living and shopping spaces. Its motto:  Create and innovate with the end client in mind.

Eléonore Villanueva, Director of Marketing and Communication, told us more about her vision of  retail both today and tomorrow.

Eléonore Villanueva Apsys

Eléonore Villanueva, Apsys group Marketing & Communication Director – © Hervé Piraud

What do you think your trademark is? What makes a space designed by Apsys different from other commercial spaces?

At Apsys, we strive to create new, experiential, generous, and surprising spaces that should also blend in perfectly with their surrounding environment. Each Apsys project has its own, very strong identity. For example, Beaugrenelle, in Paris’ 15th arrondissement, was designed using architectural and programmatic codes taken from department stores (verticality, passageways, product themes for each level), while Vill’Up, which is located in Paris’ 19th arrondissement, is doubly inspired by its location in the eastern part of the city as well as in the Parc de la Villette, leading to a space that is oriented around leisure activities and culture / families / creative boutiques (concept stores and creator stores).


Our trademarks are creativity and daring! We love getting involved with projects that are really unique. Our strength lies in clearing the way, being inventive, and creating original programming mixes that offer novel leisure opportunities as well as restaurants and shops that fit logically with the surrounding area. We created Apsys Lab to support our vision of permanent innovation and to not only be an internal think tank, but also a physical space that fosters dialogue within our new offices.

Can you tell us a little bit about this initiative?

Apsys Lab is an internal think tank, made up of company staff from all of the different departments. These employees work on a project basis, examining different topics, creating benchmarks for different sectors (not only in our industry), studying emerging trends, and meeting with innovative start-ups and service providers to source and launch creative solutions that can be implemented at our sites (operational projects and assets). For example, the Posnania project, in Poland, made use of the Lab’s work when creating a service policy and in general when designing the customer journey. Apsys Lab is an engine that drives us to keep our pioneering spirit, our propensity to “think different” that has set Apsys apart since its creation. It’s also a means for cultivating talent and engaging with our staff!


Apsys Lab, the internal think tank of Apsys group – © Hervé Piraud

What do you think retail will be like in the future? What transformations can we expect, especially in terms of commercial spaces? 

More and more, we are thinking about space experientially. Today, we need to focus on bringing people together, on small moments of pleasure, of surprise, all while remaining hyper-functional. That is why we’re doing a lot of work with pop-up shops, which are a way to freshen up the shopping experiences offered by a site and to meet seasonal needs. Consumers want to be surprised, they want good experiences, no matter how they’re visiting a site:  alone for a quick shopping trip or with their partner, their children, or with friends for a fun, relaxing time. That is why we’ve seen restaurant-oriented development trending, in all its many forms. Every person should be able to make the most of the space, based on their habits, their needs, and their expectations at that moment. Because art can generate powerful emotions, we’ve also developed a rich artistic portfolio, with 4 pieces of art created especially for our latest project, Muse, by renowned artists including Julio Le Parc, a master of kinetic art.

What concrete actions have you taken to meet these new expectations?

Muse, which opened its doors in Metz last November, includes a practical and welcoming coworking space for passengers from the TGV station (which is quite close) and users of the future Palais des Congrès (convention centre), currently under construction. Due to its proximity to the TGV station, there are large numbers of commuters passing by, with many visitors leaving from the station to work in Luxembourg every day. For us, it was important to welcome these people into a pleasant space where they can work, charge their mobile phone, catch up on the news, access services like document printing, and also have a quick lunch or appreciate a work of art. Because consumers cycle through several different lives throughout the day, we try to give these spaces hybrid purposes.




Muse opened last November in Metz  – © Gwen Le Bras

Is it safe to say that the commercial space of tomorrow will need to not only make the consumer’s life easier, but also offer them novel experiences?

Exactly. From my point of view, both dimensions are very important. The customer journey needs to be smooth, pleasant, and welcoming to protect the visitor from any micro-stresses and to help them feel good within the space. They need to be able to park their car and find their vehicle again easily (if they’ve come in a car) or have easy access to public transport. They need to be able to find their way through the space, to access the product information and news that interests them, and to make the most of practical services and generous spaces (that are adapted to their needs), among other things. They must also be allowed to live out intense and entirely novel experiences: attending art exhibits or performances, interacting with innovative digital content, discovering spectacular settings, participating in workshops or activities, and we need to invite them to share these experiences on social networks. Digital technology and commercial products feed into these two dimensions.


Besides Muse, Posnania has services (lounge, valet parking, try and collect, and personal shoppers) and also original digital tools and ways to experience works of art that make it a good example of this mix of experience and comfort that makes some spaces into iconic locations!


Posnania by Apsys

The Posnania project, in Poland, made use of the Lab’s work – © Maciej Nowaczyk


The bright future of physical retail, by Raphaël Palti

The bright future of physical retail, by Raphaël Palti 1678 1119 Altavia

Since its birth, fifteen years ago, the growth of e-commerce has been rapid. And this year, once more, the share of online sales is expected to enjoy two-figure growth worldwide. Is this an omen of the imminent end of brick and mortar?

On the contrary, I think that the profound change that the retail sector is currently undergoing represents, for historic retailers, a new opportunity to reinvent themselves and to ensure a bright, lasting future for physical retail.


Having increased 20% in just one year, online commerce represented 1,860 billion USD in 2016, i.e. 8.7% of total retail sales worldwide. A share that is expected to pass the 10% mark in 2017. In developed countries, more than half of consumers make purchases online and, in emerging countries, the increase in internet access provides e-commerce with the potential for considerable growth.

Although, in light of the above figures, it seems unthinkable to question it, will the rapid growth of online commerce mark the demise of physical retail? The answer is no. I have no doubt about it. And what’s more, I am convinced that physical retail, the famous brick and mortar, has a bright future ahead, and I can give (at least) five reasons for this:


1 – The figures confirm it: the e-commerce wave is no tsunami

In the USA, the second largest e-commerce market in the world, just behind China, the share of online sales stands at just over 8%. And yet, as significant as it is, this figure cannot overshadow the remaining 92%, well and truly occupied by the physical networks. Similarly, projections indicate that, worldwide, e-commerce will represent just shy of 15% of the market by 2020. And to emphasise this point, the share of online sales will not end up exceeding 20 to 25%.


2 – The pure players themselves do not believe in a 100% digital future.

Within the space of scarcely two years, many leading e-commerce players have shown a growing appetite for physical retail. In Europe, this was particularly the case for the French firm Spartoo, which, in 2015, opened its first physical store, with plans to open around fifty by the end of 2018. In the USA, the takeover of Whole Foods by Amazon bears witness to the same aspiration. Lastly, in China, Alibaba has already invested no fewer than €7 billion in physical retail by acquiring shares in the Suning and Sanjiang chains.

Of course, this sensational début by the web giants in the world of physical retail is likely to cause concern for historical retailers, and quite rightly so. Nonetheless, is it not proof in itself that pure players themselves believe that the future of retail will play out, at least in part, in real life? Is it not a sign of an awareness, by e-merchants, of the importance of human beings in the quality of the connections between them and their customers and, similarly, in the longer-term success of their businesses?


3 – Setting physical retail against e-commerce is meaningless.

With a growing number of hybrid merchant concepts, like showrooms, where you can come to touch and test a product before purchasing it online; with the Drive, where only product selection and the transaction take place online; with the development of applications – intrinsically, of purely digital products – capable of analysing products in a bricks-and-mortar store, can we still talk about physical retail? Can we still talk about e-commerce? There is no longer such a thing as pure players. But in the end, did they ever actually exist in the strict sense of the word? Take delivery to relay points, for example. Does this not involve a physical shop? We have entered an omnichannel era, where the dichotomy between physical retail and e-commerce is no longer required.


4 – The physical businesses of tomorrow have not yet made an appearance.

And then, asking ourselves about the survival of physical retail is just as absurd as questioning the sustainability of the city. And of course, the city isn’t going anywhere! What makes it meaningful are its places for socialising and meeting people. Acquaintances, friends and family. Users and service providers. Retailers and customers.

We can’t imagine the city of tomorrow without shops. And most of tomorrow’s shops have not yet been invented. Tomorrow’s store will not be physical or digital, it will, above all, be social. So, its transformation will be constant, because now, test and learn, with and for the customer, will become law.


5 – The revolution of historical retailers is under way.

One thing is for certain, tomorrow’s retail will be designed with historical retailers or at least those that have actually established, or re-established, a connection with their customers. A connection that goes beyond just the simple transaction: connecting with a customer means listening to them, establishing a dialogue and interacting with them, with the sole aim of better meeting their expectations.


It is time to tip agility and creativity towards the historical players. And it is clear that their revolution has now started: testing of a fully automated supermarket by Auchan in China, delivery by Walmart of shopping to your fridge even – and this is the cherry on the cake – while you are out, etc. There are already plenty of examples and there will be plenty more in the future. In the future, and more than ever before, creativity and innovation at the service of the customer will be the foundation of new commerce. More than ever before, the rebirth of physical retail is set to be exciting!


By Raphaël Palti, 

CEO and founder of Altavia


Sources : Statistica – Worldwide retail e-commerce salesStatistica – e-commerce share of retail sales worldwideCrédit SuisseEcommerce NationMarketingland.com – E-commerce accounted for 11.7% of total retail sales in 2016Kantar WorldpanelLe Monde – Spartoo étend son réseau de boutiquesClubic; Le Monde.fr


Comment la technologie permet aux consommateurs de court-circuiter les grandes surfaces dans leur consommation du bio

How does technology allow consumers wanting to eat organic to bypass supermarkets?

How does technology allow consumers wanting to eat organic to bypass supermarkets? 1596 1176 Altavia


Consumers are becoming increasingly demanding when it comes to food. According to the ANIA (French National Food Industry Federation)/Opinion Way Barometer 2015, food expenses are where French people least want to cut corners. They are also paying more attention to the quality of what they eat: ingredients and nutritional value went up 18 and 4 points respectively in the selection criteria ranking compared to 2013. This was at the expense of price and use-by dates, which went down 7 and 13 points respectively in comparison with 2013. According to the CSA Research survey for Agence Bio published in January 2017, 83% of French people trust organic products. More are consuming organic products on a daily basis (10% in 2015; 15% in 2016).

Supermarkets have already reacted by installing stalls selling cheese, meat, fish and bread to humanise the shopping experience. Fruit and vegetable sections have also been updated with mist machines and explanatory information for quality and freshness purposes.

However, supermarkets are also having to cope with a rise in alternative approaches being taken by consumers shopping organic…


1 – The supermarkets’ problem


According to a 2017 UFC-Que Choisir study, supermarkets are facing a range of problems to do with organic produce.
- Researchers found supermarkets have much higher margins (+96%). This means organic foods are 79% more expensive than their conventional equivalents.
– Less organic choice: for example, 43% of the time it is impossible to find conventional and organic tomatoes and apples in the same store. In 23% of cases neither product can be bought organic.


2 – Customer/consumer expectations


Households say they eat organic for health reasons (66%), for environmental reasons (58%) and for quality and taste (56%). (CSA Research for Agence Bio//January 2017).
They want GM-free products without artificial flavours and colours checked to meet precise specifications and guaranteed as well as proof that no animals are harmed in their making.

3 – Service positioning (technological tools and what they offer)


As well as AMAPs (consumer networks helping local farmers by committing to buy fruit and vegetable boxes ahead of time), more transparent services requiring less commitment are emerging.
“Passive” apps let users locate those selling organic products and offer a full service including delivery. This alternative approach is being set up to satisfy different types of organic consumer.



La Bio en Poche is an app which shows users places near them selling organic products (shops, markets, restaurants, AMAPs, etc.) using the geolocation function on their phones. In addition to offering geolocation, the app also suggests recipes, has fun and educational content and the latest organic news.

La Ruche qui dit Oui ! : every week subscribers can order products on sale from partner producers. The order is delivered during the week to their local Assembly venue.



Bienvenue à la ferme is the main direct sales network for farm produce and tourism. Product sales, restaurants, fun activities and stays on the farm: all this and more lets consumers learn more about organic food in France.



 Marchés des Producteurs de Pays is a Chambers of Agriculture brand. These markets bring together local producers committed to following a good practice charter which guarantees consumers:


– high-quality produce
– local and seasonal produce and specialities of the country
– high-quality production and processing methods
– direct contact with producers
– transparent farming practices

Markets can be regular, seasonal or one-offs and all highlight the richness and diversity of our produce, enabling consumers to purchase the best local products direct.



 Mon-marche.fr offers the widest selection of premium fresh products alongside useful information and excellent service.
Consumers can shop online with 60 traders at Rungis International Market in Paris and have their orders delivered.



 Baladovore Baladovore lets users find their location and the growers and organic products nearest them. You can use the app to look at their products and find what you are interested in without having to travel.



 4 – How can supermarkets respond?


Some supermarkets have already brought in solutions to support this change in the way we shop and eat. Here are two interesting examples taken from retail:

Coop Italy: An interactive experience for transparency and education.
The Italian retailer has installed interactive mirrors which provide information about the fruit and vegetables in its supermarceto del futuro in Milan: traceability, best season for consumption, menu ideas, etc. This adds value to the service and provides consumers with everything they need to feel reassured.


COOP Milano

McDonald’s: Education and partnerships with official certifications to reassure consumers.

As shown in recent marketing campaigns, the brand is trying to communicate its involvement with local organic producers to reassure consumers about product quality. Featuring official certifications in adverts reassures the consumer that the brand is being truthful and offering quality products.



Carrefour joins the fight for wider crop variety.

In its “Forbidden Market” campaign, the brand squares up to the law forbidding the sale of certain varieties of produce. The brand positions itself as committed to and fighting for better consumption.
(The advert is noticeably similar to the one from McDonald’s: we are now seeing the conversation around organic products being institutionalised by mass-market stakeholders.)


Although these responses to the organic “crisis” in the mass-market are contextual examples which deal with companies’ own issues, we must also consider inviting consumers to reflect on possible solutions in order to understand what holds them back, motivates them and the ways in which they use products. When it comes to the “purchase” stage of the consumption cycle, it’s all about usage. By making an effort to develop solutions consistent with consumer usage, the transition to new ways of shopping and eating will occur more smoothly and leading positions can be pre-empted as offers and services will be in line with consumer expectations.



By Sidney Debaque
Strategic planner Cosmic Agency



car-sharing economy in China.

QR codes, big data, facial recognition, data sharing, user predictive behavior assessment to fuel the young car-sharing economy in China.

QR codes, big data, facial recognition, data sharing, user predictive behavior assessment to fuel the young car-sharing economy in China. 1678 1119 Altavia

Like anything else in China, local companies are not afraid of getting into a massive fight with the same idea in order to get market share; not afraid at all to share the cake. As a result, exactly the same way we saw dozens of bike-sharing companies budding for the last year, more than 30 car sharing companies have rolled out a total of 4,158 cars on Guangzhou’s roads as of the end of July.

The number of shared cars is still rising in and it is projected to reach 20,000 by the end of 2018.


Earlier in August, the Ministry of Transport and Ministry of Housing and Urban-Rural Development issued a policy promoting the development of the car sharing industry.

The policy requires car-sharing companies to check the ID and driving license of car renters and record the information in the car-rental contract.


Go fun, one of the car-sharing companies, headquartered in Beijing, said that it has begun to apply facial recognition technology to check whether renters’ faces match the photos in their IDs and driving licenses.


The company also claimed that technologies including which detect driver fatigue, and driver evaluation will be applied in the future.

Although the number of shared cars keeps rising, it is still difficult to find a shared car on the road. According to Gofun, their cars are mostly distributed in Tianhe district, Haizhu district, Baiyun district and the train station.


Similar to bike-sharing, the car-sharing industry also requires a deposit and renters need to take good care of the cars. In this aspect, car sharing companies in Guangzhou are striving to set up a credit system.

car rent china

A car renter uses her mobile phone to scan a QR code to open the door of a shared car. [Photo/xkb.com.cn]

To be noted that this credit system issue has been smartly addressed by Alipay / Ofo. If your “Zhima credit” instant rating on your Alipay app is high enough, you will not be required to make the 299 Rmb deposit.

Go fun is trying to use a credit system to replace the guarantee deposit which uses a recording device in the car to track drivers’ actions and uploads dangerous driving behavior to the credit system.

According to the Guangzhou Car Sharing Special Committee, a bad credit database has been founded to sort out the bad credit data from car sharing companies and promote data sharing for the whole industry.


As usual, pragmatism will prevail and honestly, let’s hope that, the same way bike-sharing is helping to reduce our carbon footprint, car-sharing will also have a positive environmental impact for the benefit of the greatest number.


Who would have fought, a little more than one year ago that #Mobike and #Ofo would have put Chinese people back on bicycle while car have been among the most desire thing to possess for most of Chinese?

Will Chinese people be ready to share a car? Abandon for an instant the social status car is bringing them?

In many cities it would make sense since the average number of passengers in a single car is clearly below 2 people…


By Stéphane Joly, Executive Vice-president, Altavia Asia


Alibaba wants to change the way we shop for fresh food off and online

Alibaba wants to change the way we shop for fresh food off and online 2048 1536 Altavia

Here comes Hema Market (盒马集市)

Despite its US $ 150 Million investment Alibaba has been quite low-key running the Hema Markets chain… Hema Market (盒马集市) is a rather premium, fresh offline chain here in Shanghai that refuses to label itself as a “supermarket” but rather as an “e-commerce experience store”. Hema Market is like an expanded version of C!ty’super (premium supermarkets). Its main focus is fresh food and dry grocery.

Hema (“盒马”) is a homophone and wordplay of hippo (河马), replacing “river” with “box” –a name associated with other members of the “Alibaba Zoo” (previously they’ve rolled out Tmall — cat, Alitrip — pig, Antgroup — ant, etc).



In early 2016, Hema made the transition from fresh food e-commerce and food delivery to offline markets. They opened their stores in places that are a bit further away from downtown Shanghai. This latest store opened a couple of months ago, located in the busy part of Pudong, underneath the shopping complex Shanghai Bay.



But what makes the Hema Market so particular ? 

  • They are Cashless…(cash looks like a dying king), Alipay being the only payment method allowed.
  • The stores are used for both pick-up and online delivery within the same day only and as fast as within 1 hour.
  • Shopping online with Hema requires the application to be installed on your smartphone.
  • Digital price tags are installed in store for an efficient pricing.



The Hema Market could be divided roughly in two parts: First, a regular supermarket providing dry food (imports and local), pre-packed fruits and pre-packed veggies, dairy, beverages… and, secondly, a third party food and beverage consignment like many food courts that we can find in China.


Hema employees can be seen taking and processing orders from online shoppers. They’re selecting items, packaging them, and sending them off to the delivery department using conveyor belts.




It is interesting to see Alibaba keeping investing on the offline retail, trying new way to #makeretailgreatagain.

Some of my colleagues, here in Shanghai, who tried Hema delivery,  were all satisfied with the prices, efficiency of delivery and quality of the goods they ordered, which for fresh goods is a deal breaker.


Nice place to visit for a retail geek, nice place to have some decent food for lunch, and nice place to see an efficient way of picking in store for online deliveries!


 By Stéphane Joly




food consumption trends

What impact do new food consumption trends have on retail?

What impact do new food consumption trends have on retail? 1677 1119 Altavia



According to Social Food, 79% of French people in 2017 think that food can cause health problems.


So they look for certification and methods of consumption that give them control over what they eat.


According to Social Food again, 65% of them eat ORGANIC products on a regular basis. In addition to this, of the 60% of French people who think that the Made in France label is a guarantee of quality, 75% favour Made in France for their food.


Although this new relationship with food has an explicit impact on communication, as is shown by the Fleury Michon campaigns and the “new” McDonald’s branding, new trends in food consumption are taking longer to become evident in retail. Which raises the question, what impact do new food consumption trends have on retail?


Products with certification are increasing in number and are increasingly identifiable on the shelves. Certification is highlighted through the use of stickers and packaging. “Specialist” counters such as fishmongers, delicatessens and butchers are becoming more common and more visible thanks to improved signage.


Some brands are going further, however, and offering a new shopper experience.


An example of this is the Coop in Milan, which provides online screens to enable customers to check the traceability of products. Online mirrors above fruit and vegetable counters provide customers with full details of the products they select.




In Zona Sul in Brazil, vegetables are kept in the earth, for customers to pick themselves :



Despite the increase in requirements in terms of food, however, the French have less time to prepare their meals. They head for ready meals, fast food offers and home delivery. Franprix has understood this and joined up with Allo Resto by Just Eat to provide a themed package home delivery service.



Despite the new offers and services made available by retailers, alternative methods of consumption are booming. Technological innovations and public actions provide customers with the benefits of a vegetable garden, even in the city. New collaborative consumer channels, such as the Associations for the Preservation of Peasant Farming (AMAPs) are being created.


For the first time in 8 years, the volume of supermarket sales in the food sector has fallen:     -0.2% in 2016


Although the retail sector is currently adapting in order to respond to new food consumption trends, new players with greater relevance to consumer needs are inviting these consumers to use retail brands alongside the alternative solutions they are gradually adopting.


By Sidney Debaque, Strategic Planner, Agence Cosmic