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Auchan has launched new online and digital initiatives in France.

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We round up recent developments from Auchan in Poland as the retailer looks to implement its global strategy at a local level.

Growing online fulfilment options for shoppers

Auchan has installed its first ‘Coolomat’ temperature controlled collection locker in the car park of its hypermarket in Piaseczno. The solution enables shoppers who make orders online to collect products from the locker at no extra costs. The solution is expected to be rolled out to further stores in Warsaw.

Merging operations to improve efficiency

The retailer has announced plans to merge its five companies in Poland into one entity as it looks to simplify its group structure. Auchan said it would merge Auchan Polska, Arel sp. zoo (which operated the old Real stores), Arel sp k, Auchan E-Commerce (which operates the auchandirect.pl web operations) and Elea Polska (which operates the Simply Market and Moje Auchan banners) would be merged into one company. The merger is part of Auchan’s global strategy to operate one brand in all the markets it works in.

As recent announcements from all the country’s leading retailers show, investment in digital commerce in France is rising. We review these developments and look at what it may mean for one of Europe’s largest online grocery markets.

Système U and Amazon continuing discussions

As part of the retailer’s 2017 results announcement Système U’s chief executive, Serge Papin confirmed it was continuing discussions with Amazon about a possible collaboration. The talks could lead to Système U supplying groceries to Amazon Prime Now, which would in turn increase its visibility with Amazon shoppers and provide it a rapid delivery solution.

Amazon has struggled to gain an agreement in France, but a tie up with Système U would appear to be beneficial for both sides. For Système U it gets access, through Amazon, to urban shoppers in areas where it is under represented; it outsources the creation of a centralised ecommerce service to a third party, thus removing the complication of having to create one that works for all its individual store owners, and generates a new source of volume sales.

Casino expands delivery options at three banners

Adding to its growing focus on digital commerce, meanwhile, Casino has announced that in partnership with La Poste, it is expanding the delivery options it provides shoppers at its Franprix, Monoprix and Cdiscount banners. Casino, in relation to Franprix, and La Poste began collaborating in 2015 to enable fast paced deliveries in Paris, with this arrangement now extended to two further banners and into new cities.

Casino and La Poste will make the service available in Marseille and Strasbourg immediately, adding to Paris, Bordeaux, Lille and Lyon, with Nantes and Rennes to be added in H2. In Paris shoppers will be able to choose a 30-minute delivery window, while Sunday delivery will be added for Cdiscount in the country’s 15 largest cities.

Auchan extends delivery option

Underlining the growing importance of delivery options in the country where Drive (click and collect) has historically dominated, Auchan has said it has added eight new cities where shoppers can have orders delivered. This means Auchan shoppers in 12 cities in France, which covers about one third of the population, can have orders delivered to them. Delivery costs between €5 to €15 and requires shoppers to spend a minimum of €50.

Competition rising in key European digital commerce market

The new announcements from Système U, Casino and Auchan come in addition to statements from Carrefour’s new chief executive and Leclerc’s focus on Paris. France is already one of the leading countries for digital commerce sales, with these investments set to give a renewed impetus to the channel. For retailers and manufacturers looking for inspiration or direction about how their countries could develop, therefore, France is likely to provide a continuing source of insight.

Auchan’s online offering, AuchanDirect, has opened a new distribution centre near Paris.

Fully automated facility

The new distribution centre, which is 22,000 sq m, is fully automated and began operating earlier this month. It’s strategically located in Chilly-Mazarin, near Paris, which will allow it to deliver products in Paris and the three departments bordering the city (known as 'la première couronne') within six hours by January 2017. It currently takes an average of 24 hours to deliver.

€30m investment

The warehouse cost Auchan €30m to build. It’s a multi-temperature facility and will initially hold 7,500 products, increasing to 18,000 by the end of 2017.

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