The health crisis has created many problems in our society such as the difficulty to access to culture and education, the emergence of physical and psychological consequences of being confined, the growing mistrust of citizens towards the French government and the increase in domestic violence.
As part of an educational project, we have chosen to work on the difficulties for merchants to develop their business during the pandemic. The closure of local shops has created a feeling of injustice. This has been felt at the local level and new initiatives and organizations have emerged to continue to maintain structures in the face of the e-commerce giants.
In France, during the health crisis, shops were classified into two categories. The first category includes essential businesses such as supermarkets selling food, which were allowed to stay open. The second category is the non-essential businesses, which correspond to the other businesses and which are not allowed to be open.
During the first lockdown in France, 86% of the merchants had to close their business. Thus, the e-commerce market share rapidly increased to nearly 10% of total sales of consumer goods and it can be noticed that the gap has grown considerably between the most weakened actors and those with sufficient financial resources to develop differently.
Before we could help the merchants, we needed to understand them. We decided to study their opinions on the current situation, their dreams, their opinions on their client's new behaviors and their knowledge of local and governmental aids and initiatives.
We were interested in users with various profiles such as managers of non-essential businesses, employees of non-essential businesses, neighborhood customers who are uncomfortable with digital, online shoppers, IT staff members, and merchants engaged against government restrictions.
We met with them for interviews and to propose to the merchants to fill a daily logbook for 15 days. Then, we also created an online form to collect statistics.
Then, we analyzed the data collected through an Empathy Map, Job Stories writing, Insight writing and the use of the How Might We technique.
This allowed us to define a problem to be solved.
After finding our problem, we tried to answer it as accurately as possible. To do this, we did several brainstorming sessions to find the right idea.
Coût de Pouce concept was born as a result of our entire research phase. It can be summarized in 3 points:
1. The creation of a label identifying merchants in financial difficulty.
2. The referencing of the merchants' labeled stores on an online platform
3. The linking of customers and merchants via a community of volunteers for advice related to digital.
Our tool has been designed with two parts. On one side, there is a part for customers allowing them to make their purchases in the labeled stores. And on the other, there is the back office allowing merchants to fill their catalogs and manage their orders.
We have defined our graphic charter around our five values: transparency, accessibility, pedagogy, efficiency and ethics.
We have prototyped a part of our platform (client part) in order to present our tool to potential future users.
We then tested our platform with several users in order to get their opinions and improve our tool.