As China becomes a key global retailing market for companies looking for inspiration about how operating models and formats could develop, France-based Auchan and Carrefour have made separate announcements about the country’s growing importance.
Carrefour says China is ‘testing ground’ for initiatives
Following the opening of its Le Marche concept in May, created with Tencent has increased its use of in-store technology alongside its grocery-focused range, Carrefour has said the country is ‘the ideal location to develop new methods for attracting shoppers’. Carrefour’s executive director for Asia, Thierry Garnier, said the retailer remained ‘very positive’ on its outlook in China, with Le Marche concept set to play a key role. Garnier went on to say Carrefour sees ‘the Chinese market as a true laboratory that can inspire the rest of the group’.
Carrefour has said the concept ‘is smart life store with French touch, focusing on catering, fresh, imported products, with many digital innovations applied with the support of Tencent’. Le Marche offers 25,000, mainly grocery, products, of which 20% are imported, while there is also a focus on health and beauty and apparel ranges. The store also offers free delivery within 3km for orders over CNY188 (US$29.40)
Auchan’s RT Mart enjoys ‘Alibaba-inspired’ digitisation
RT Mart has said it has finished the digital transformation of 100 stores. The initiative has seen it incorporate Alibaba-owned technology. As part of the update programme, RT Mart has incorporated elements of the Hema supermarket design owned by Alibaba. In an attempt to blur online and offline channels, RT Mart said its stores now offer ‘in-store fulfilment of online orders, “smart” shopping kiosks and a selection of popular products from Tmall’.
Commenting on the step, RT Mart’s chief executive, Peter Huang, said: “ New Retail has introduced a new way of thinking. By digitizing the store’s operation, the online and offline business merge into one. This will boost retailer’s online transaction volume.”. One hour delivery of orders to shoppers within a three kilometre radius of a store is part of the solution being rolled out.
Although the most visible elements of the partnership will be in-store, RT Mart also benefits from access to Alibaba’s customer insights, supply-chain management, retail technologies and electronic payments via Alipay, which is part of the company’s wider ecosystem.
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