Lucile S. is retired and lives in a small, 19th century house surrounded by fields and forests in Tarn-et-Garonne, France. She has five grandchildren, one great-granddaughter, two cats and a vegetable garden. She has no smartphone and has no need for one. Hardly the typical profile of an advanced user of e-commerce? But just like Lucile, thousands of people in France and beyond use e-commerce to make their life in the countryside even more enjoyable. This is her story.
“When I want something, I can get it within two or three days with online shopping. There’s no need to stock up on lots of things or go here, there and everywhere to find a particular product.”
Peace and quiet, family and nature
"The good thing about the country is the peace and quiet," says Lucile. "I prefer to be woken up by birds chirping than by car engines!" Born in Montauban shortly after World War II, her work meant she had to live in cities: Toulouse, Paris, Nantes, Cahors, Bordeaux... "I thought life in large cities was impersonal, somewhat uncompassionate. Sometimes we didn’t even know our neighbours. I told myself that when I got older, I would go back to Tarn-et-Garonne."
That moment came 6 years ago. “My daughter lives in the area. She has a little boy, Sacha, and I offered to look after him when she was working.”
A door to the world
Lucile learned about e-commerce a few years ago from her children, and she quickly became a regular shopper online. "It’s a useful tool: it means I don’t have to go here, there and everywhere to find a particular product.” She shops regularly on Amazon.fr, among other sites, especially for products for her grandchildren, for cat food and household products.
Sandy, who has been a postwoman for 12 years, often delivers Lucile’s items. She travels over 115 km every day to deliver parcels to hundreds of customers such as Lucile, the majority of whom live in rural areas. "There was a lot more post before. Now, with the internet and e-mailing, there aren’t as many letters to be delivered, but there are more packages," says the postwoman.
A simpler life
"If I didn’t have the internet, I would have to go into town every two or three days, otherwise I would have to store a lot of things at one time. It’s just not practical because I have a small house," says Lucile. "When I want something, I can get it within two or three days with online shopping. There’s no need to stock up on lots of things. It’s perfect for me."