With the holidays upon us, so is last-minute Christmas shopping. And as the pandemic continues to wreak havoc around the world, consumption habits are changing– a godsend for independent businesses, which are quickly embracing e-commerce.

With new restrictions on movement due to the pandemic, online shopping has exploded in recent weeks. There is also a strong awareness of the need to consume locally in these times of crisis. To cater this growing demand for local products, several platforms have been created. One of these is based in Monaco. Pierre Billon and Sébastien Lambla have recently launched DouxVillage.mc. It is not jus a simple online shopping platform for local businesses. Their new e-commerce site also allows customers to receive their orders during the day, anywhere in Monaco, if the order is placed before 11am. In this way, Billon and Lambla want to bring customers and businesses based in the Principality closer together.

Promoting local businesses

The two Monegasques worked on developing the project for several months. “The aim was really to promote trade in the Principality. With DouxVillage, we wanted to offer a digital platform that could showcase everyone’s products and help retailers sell more,” explains Pierre Billon.

A wide range of customers

A breath of fresh air for shop owners during the ongoing economic crisis? In a way it is. With lockdowns and curfews, many shops have seen their revenue fall. “We want to showcase all the Principality’s products and offer something for every budget,” says Sébastien Lambla. The increase in online shopping in recent weeks is clear. DouxVillage allows online visitors to discover shops that they might not have discovered otherwise. The customer base is very diversified and that’s an important factor. »

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Travel Club Monaco

A convincing idea

Local shop owners are keen to join the project. By now some fifteen shops have already put their trust in DouxVillage. This is the case of the Charlet shop which resells the Bertulli and Patino Shoes brands in Monaco. “Since September 2020, we have opened a showroom in Monaco in order to display our models,” says Lauriane Thooris, the brand’s marketing manager. “Our customers can come and try on the models in the shop before placing their orders online. However, we lack visibility in the Principality. DouxVillage attracted our attention because it will allow us to make our showroom known and thus develop a new sales channel. We are really optimistic about this project. »

The future of import-export

Can the principle of “local consumption” be extended to all sectors? Not necessarily according to Patrick Bogaerts, CEO of GPS Monaco Group, which specialises in subcontracting and purchasing in China. “The industrialisation process must be relaunched. Local consumption? I am the first to defend this principle. However, this can’t be done with all sectors. If tomorrow I tell one of my customers: “I’m going to increase the price by 30%, but it’s locally produced, he’ll hang up on me”. At the macro-economic level, there are so many companies that make a living from exporting that it would be hard not to export any more.”