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Connected washing machines and a robot delivering gin. These were just two of the unexpected things I experienced at last week’s IGD Digital Commerce event.

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We look at how European retailers are innovating in online.

Increased use of pedestrian Drives in France

Pedestrian Drives allow shoppers to place orders online and collect them from convenient locations in the centre of cities or towns. Retailers are marketing them as enabling shoppers to buy from a hypermarket’s range and prices, while not having to leave city centres. Pedestrian Drives are becoming increasing popular with retailers in France as they look to compete online and create profitable last mile fulfilment solutions.

Leclerc tested its first pedestrian Drive in Lille in 2017 and now operates a total of six in Anglet, Aurillac, Lille, Meaux and Reims. Leclerc has said it is aiming to open four more pedestrian Drives in Caen, Montbéliard, Montpellier and Toulon, without giving a timeframe for doing so.

Meanwhile, Carrefour has opened 16 pedestrian Drives. The sites are a mixture of points being added into existing convenience stores in Paris, Lyon and Saint-Étienne and standalone pedestrian Drive sites. Cora experimented with Drive points in Metz in 2016 and Verdun in 2017, calling them “Cora in town”, while Auchan will open its first pedestrian Drive in Lille on 10 October 2018.

Amazon lockers installed in E.Leclerc hypermarkets

E.Leclerc and Amazon have partnered and will install Amazon lockers across the grocery retailer’s hypermarket network in Spain. The lockers are already installed in many stores, and installations will be completed across the rest of the network soon.

Last year in 2017, Amazon partnered with DIA to install lockers across selected stores in its network. For DIA and E.Leclerc the move helps to make their physical outlets more attractive and convenient for shoppers. According to Amazon, there are over 120 lockers in Spanish cities and towns. Some of these are open 24 hours, whilst other share the times of the buildings they are located in.

Colruyt will trial home delivery in 2019

Belgium-based Colruyt will trial a grocery home delivery service in 2019. The company will first test the service in large cities, such as Antwerp, Brussels and Ghent, with smaller locations, such as Namur and Liège, to follow eventually.

Colruyt said a home delivery solution had to be developed in a sustainable way. Hanne Poppe, spokesperson for Colruyt, said, "Home delivery will only happen if it can be done in a sustainable way, i.e. with cars on sustainable fuels (electric, hybrid or CNG gas) and in city centres, where the distances are shorter".

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As it looks to expand its ecommerce offer in Paris, Leclerc has strengthened its position by signing an agreement with ID logistics.

Paris to act as testing ground for Leclerc

The retailer is set to use Paris as a test bed for initiatives to help it target shoppers in large cities, both in terms of physical stores and digital commerce. The new agreement will see ID Logistics support Leclerc’s new ecommerce operations in Paris, specifically home delivery and click-and-collect.

The new warehouse will be built in Pantin, in the outskirts of Paris, with the 6,000 sq m distribution centre initially accommodating around 9,500 items, including dry, fresh and frozen categories. The warehouse will be tailored towards ecommerce fulfilment. To drive efficiency in the warehouse ID Logistics said new technologies would be incorporated.

Coordination between the two companies will be achieved through Leclerc’s new information system. The warehouse will be supplied via Leclerc’s new logistics platform in Bruyères-sur-Oise. The latter centre is fully automated and has been built by Witron. It was built specifically to support ecommerce operations. The site also incorporates the headquarters for Scapnor, Leclerc’s central purchasing department that supports the Paris Nord and Sud de Picardie areas.

Investment underlines growth for grocery ecommerce

Discussing the partnership, ID Logistics’ chief executive, Eric Hémar, said: “ID Logistics is proud to be supporting E.Leclerc again on its latest venture. For us, this partnership represents another milestone in the rapid growth of food ecommerce, and our goal is to be the partner of choice for the major retail chains. Our teams work hard every day to fulfil the promise of rapid and reliable delivery for our customers’ customers.

As Carrefour and Leclerc discuss online developments in Poland, we look at the two retailer’s contrasting views on the channel’s short term development in the country.


Carrefour beta tests marketplace



Carrefour has launched the beta version of its online marketplace in Poland. The store will massively increase the size of its range enabling both it and third-party retailers to sell through the site. Shoppers using the site will be able to have orders delivered to home or made available through click and collect counters in-store.



Carrefour said that products that are successful online could be added to its in-store ranges, especially its hypermarkets. The site will enable Carrefour to collect data on shoppers, their buying preferences and help it to better target in-store ranges as it looks to make stores more appealing to shoppers. The launch of the marketplace in Poland builds on Carrefour’s growing online skill and scale in the country, which has been expanded to carry new products and cover more cities in recent months.



Leclerc cautious about online prospects



Meanwhile, in an interview with Wiadomosci Handlowe Leclerc Poland’s chief executive, Jean-Philippe Magre, said his company is more cautious about online’s prospects in the country. Magre feels demand for ecommerce is not as established as it is elsewhere in Europe, but noted that Leclerc will develop an ecommerce solution at some point. The process to unify all its stores and develop a process to operate online is expected to take two years.



11 of Leclerc’s stores in Poland operate some sort of online solution, with more likely to launch an offer soon. Magre says that the direction of travel is inevitable and that shoppers will increasingly want ecommerce solutions as they will want the convenience and choice about where they shop.



Leclerc is the second largest retailer in France and operates a regional co-operative model that keeps prices low for shoppers. Understand what this means for the supply chain in this two page guide, which also features the latest on its multichannel strategy and plans for the future.
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