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Carrefour has opened a new ecommerce facility near Paris.

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As part of its efforts to upweight its digital commerce efforts and better compete with rivals in France, Carrefour has made several strategic initiatives. We look at these and consider their part in the retailer’s 2022 Turnaround plan.

Head of digital activities spotlights ‘realities’ of Carrefour’s online presence

Talking in Les Echos, after the widely discussed announcement from Leclerc about its plans for Paris, Carrefour’s head of digital activities, Marie Cheval, has said that people need to be aware of the ‘realities’ of the present situation. Cheval said that while Leclerc’s statements were about what could happen in the future, as of March 2018, the reality was already different for Carrefour: it operates over 250 stores in Paris, most of which can already offer home delivery, while its fulfilment is only set to be improved by the launch of a new more efficient picking system.

Cheval said Carrefour was preparing for the introduction of a ‘walk up’ Drive site, which is a central part of Leclerc’s plans for the city, and is all part of the retailer’s digital transformation that it is undertaking now. She went on to say that Carrefour had ‘dithered’ for too long around the expansion of its Drive sites. To rectify this, it would look to open about 170 Drives, with 150 set to be adjacent to Carrefour Market supermarkets.

Investment in supply chain to run concurrent with shopper facing spend

Fulfilment is set to improve at Carrefour too, through the launch of an online dedicated warehouse in early April, which will improve efficiencies throughout the supply chain and help the retailer to keep costs under control better. The site will be opened in Lyon and enable its first pedestrian Drive to be opened in the city. A similar solution will be enabled following the opening of a warehouse in north Paris, which is already delivering to some of the retailer’s hypermarkets and supermarkets.

Cheval, as part of the interview, acknowledged that Carrefour had been concerned about the channel’s unprofitability for too long, suggesting that short term investment plans had limited opportunities to expand quicker. Some of the space being removed from its hypermarkets as part of the 2022 Transformation Plan will be converted to allow picking of online orders, which will add further scale to its online operations.

Carrefour and Google to create voice assistant

Carrefour and Google have announced they are to collaborate to create a voice assistant called ‘Léa’. To enable the service shoppers will need to link their Carrefour Drive or Ooshop accounts to Google’s Home Assistant. Once done, shoppers simply activate the service by saying ‘OK Google, talk to Carrefour.’ Shoppers can buy from Carrefour’s site and Greenweez, an organic store that it owns. The incorporation of the latter suggests that Carrefour is thinking ahead for as and when it makes further online purchases, which will be able to fulfilled through its supply chain, driving efficiency.

Announcing the partnership, Carrefour said: “Léa has been designed to make day-to-day life easier for our customers – they can use it to manage their shopping lists... using just their voice.” Léa will enable shoppers to find nearby Carrefour stores and add products to their shopping lists, which can be fulfilled either at a Drive site or through home delivery service, Ooshop.

As Carrefour operations across Europe – Belgium, Poland and Romania – evolve their digital commerce offer we round up news from the retailer as it looks to meet its chief executive’s target of generating €5.0 bn of grocery ecommerce sales by 2022.

Carrefour Belgium promoting online ordering

Carrefour Belgium has lowered the cost of fulfilling shoppers’ online orders. Carrefour said that orders delivered by PostNL or Parcify cost €9.50, down from €19.15 previously, while for grocery orders over €150, the order’s fulfilment would be free. For non-grocery orders delivery is free on purchases over €50.

Separately, the retailer said it wanted to open 70 new Drive collection points in the country by the end of 2018, adding to the 179 in operation at the end of 2017. Underlining its commitment to hitting the target Carrefour Belgium opened 12 pick up points in the first two months of the year. Shoppers can order from a selection of around 15,000 SKUs.

Carrefour Poland expands m-commerce offer…

Carrefour Poland has added new functionality to its app, which enables shoppers to order directly through their mobile phones, rather than via its online site. The retailer’s full range is made available through the app, helping it to create a more seamless opportunity between channels. Carrefour Poland also said that orders made by 16:00 will be able to be delivered on the same day if the shopper wishes. Orders over PLN120 (c. €29.00) are delivered for free, while those under that amount are charged a PLN19.90 (c. €5.00) delivery fee.

…As it looks to build out omnichannel capability

Meanwhile, as part of an interview, Carrefour’s executive director for Northern and Eastern Europe, Guillaume de Colonges, has said its Poland-based operations are looking to build out its omnichannel capability. He said that retailers who do not invest in taking this step will increasingly become irrelevant for shoppers. To this end, Carrefour Poland is aiming to combine the best elements of its online and offline offers to meet shoppers’ needs.

Carrefour Romania launches food delivery app

Carrefour has added Gurmandio, a food delivery app, in Romania. The app enables shoppers to order prepared food from its hypermarkets and from local restaurants. Delivery is free on all orders, while shoppers can pay on delivery or on ordering. To enable the app to be relevant for each of its hypermarkets and cities, Carrefour has had to develop customised versions for each city in the Moldova region. Gurmandio adds to Carrefour Romania’s digital capability, which includes its ecommerce platform and the Bringo app, which enables shoppers to have products delivered within 90 minutes of ordering them.

Carrefour has announced the launch of Blockchain technology as the retailer looks to roll out and embed its 2022 Transformation plan. The retailer said the technology was being used for free-range Carrefour Quality Line Auvergne chickens.

Technology guarantees product traceability

Carrefour said the technology was already in use with free-range chickens, of which it sells one million annually, but would be extended to eight further products, such as eggs, cheese, milk, oranges, tomatoes, salmon and ground beef steak in future.

The retailer said Blockchain ‘is a secure digital database that cannot be falsified in which all information sent by its users is stored’. Carrefour explained that the technology would benefit all parties along the supply chain, from breeders and producers and ultimately to shoppers. Consumers can use their smartphones to scan a code on products’ packaging to get information from farmers and producers on where and how chickens were raised, what they were fed and where the meat was processed.

Source: Carrefour Group

Carrefour adds to list of retailers trialling technology

Carrefour’s announcement follows other retailers who are aiming to use Blockchain technology to improve the traceability of fresh produce. In November 2016 Walmart began testing Blockchain as part of its Food Safety Collaboration Centre in China and as part of its goal to be the most trusted retailer in the country.

Using Blockchain technology, retailers and their suppliers are aiming to create a safer, more sustainable food system. The goal is to “shine a light on the food system” through significantly improved transparency and delivering improved traceability. At the same time it will help all parties; save time, remove costs, reduce risk and, ultimately, increase trust in products.

Want to better understand Blockchain technology? Subscribers, discover how it can be used to improve product traceability.

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