Latest News
News Feature image

France-based Leclerc has partnered with local start-up Shopopop to expand the range of delivery options for shoppers.

More News

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.

I attended the second day of this visionary event, and I took away quite a few insights and reflections from the day. You’ll be aware that the IGD Supply Chain Summit is coming soon, and I’m sure that will be just as insightful a day – if you haven’t booked, we still have tickets left!

Disruptive technology

As you’d expect at an event entitled Digital Commerce, there were plenty of new developments being showcased. Yuguang Han, Senior Product Manager with JD.com highlighted Retail-as-a-Service, which involves the retailer making their technology and infrastructure available to partners. JD.com is increasingly renowned for being one of the most advanced retailers in the world, so this seems like an amazing opportunity for other businesses to leapfrog forward. The speaker described JD.com’s role as follows:

  • Co-create value
  • Empower partners
  • Open ecosystem

Chris Conway, Head of Digital at the Co-op made the very clear point that digital is much more than just ecommerce. He showed how store security cameras are now helping them visualise and analyse shelf layouts, and how their digital team has developed an shift management app to help store managers and staff. We took away that his digital development team is increasingly multi-disciplinary, and focused on delivering a range of small but noticeable improvements for Co-op’s people and customers.

This “test, learn and iteratively improve” approach was echoed by Beth Marchant from Sainsbury’s Instore Digital team. We heard how her team are working to improve shopper experiences offline and online. They are testing an app for customers to use instore to scan, pay and walk out, eliminating the need to queue up. But it was the agile and customer-centred approach which most hit home for me from the session.

Transparency and sustainability

Businesses are working hard to keep up with and lead shoppers’ expectations of more ethical, sustainable and transparent operations. Tom Pickford from P&G described an example of rethinking product formats to reduce emissions and shipping costs. In this case he referred to a fascinating new product called DS3 that P&G has “incubated”. DS3 is a range of 8 different home and body care products sold as small solid single-use swatches which have had all the water removed. Compared to standard liquid-based versions of the products, DS3 removes 80% of the weight and 70% of the space, and they are activated by water when used.

We heard from Rachel Jeans of Amazon about their Frustration-Free Packaging programme, partnering with manufacturers to optimise packaging for ecommerce delivery. The most impactful example was a razor shipped to Amazon in theft-resistant (consumer-resistant?) plastic. The manufacturer redesigned the packaging to use a box which could simply be labelled and shipped by Amazon, reducing the amount of air shipped by 82%. Overall, the programme reduced packaging waste by 16% in 2017, avoiding the need for over 300 million Amazon outer boxes.

Yuguang Han from JD.com outlining how it is using blockchain to increase transparency and confidence in the provenance of its food. JD.com is offering consumers the chance to see key shipping, storage and purchasing information. Beef was highlighted in the presentation but it will no doubt be rolled out to other products before long, and JD.com’s influential role in China and worldwide will help build confidence in the technology.

Last mile fulfilment

My final set of reflections look at the changing ways that products will get delivered, starting with JD.com again. We heard about its programme to develop drone technology. The current roll-out is focused on hard-to-reach rural areas, but our speaker also highlighted some research into drones carrying heavier loads. When the payloads are approaching a tonne in weight, you can tell that it is more likely to be part of their logistics operation rather than a last-mile solution.

Tom Pickford from P&G explored the world of gadgets that reorder supplies without you even clicking “Buy Now”. Smart washing machines – who knew? But they make up 10% of the machines sold in the UK last year, and Miele’s latest range have space for bottles of detergent to be connected up and added to each load as needed. So when it runs out, the washing machine just orders more!

We also heard about the hypermarket which fits into a 50m2 city centre space. Thomas Pocher, owner of two Leclerc hypermarkets in Lille described his newest ecommerce offering, called “Drive Piéton” or Pedestrian Drive. Thomas wanted to bring Leclerc’s low prices and wide choice to the urban population, and with these tiny counters in the downtown area, he has done that. Inventory is stored and picked in his edge-of-town warehouses, then small, frequent deliveries are made to the city centre units.

Towards the end of the day, we were treated to a real-life demonstration from Chris Conway, who had an autonomous delivery robot on standby to deliver a prize to the lucky winner at her seat! These small units can be seen in Milton Keynes, UK as part of a trial with Starship Technologies, but it was fun to see one in operation in the hall.

Final thoughts

Overall, the event demonstrated to me again the extent to which supply chain is at the heart of leading business strategies. Much of what we heard combined the best of online and offline retailing, and it is getting harder to separate off “pure ecommerce” from shopping more generally. So this flexible omnichannel approach needs to be central to the ongoing development of our supply chains.

Alistair Balderson

Alistair Balderson

Head of Supply Chain Insight

Get the latest industry news and insights straight to your inbox with our range of newsletters.

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".


Customer centric
Customers are evolving faster than ever. Truly understand the customer and use this to drive action that pulls the supply chain forward.



Online order fulfilment: building online success on shifting sands
Supply Chain Analysis subscribers: Find out why businesses are prioritising some online initiatives over others and discover how these priorities may need to shift to help businesses deliver more profitable online operations in future.



Supply chain benchmarking: Customer centric
Supply Chain Analysis subscribers: Use this report as a framework to compare yourself to your peers and as a roadmap for future development to become a more customer centric business.



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.

Presentations

21/08/2018
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.
03/02/2017
Learn how click and collect is developing in the UK, France and the US, and how you could create a seamless omnichannel experience for your customers.
14/08/2014

As Drive solutions expand globally we review how retailers in France are adapting their strategies to add fewer sites, boost their appeal and focus on improving the format’s profitability.

The supply chain industry is evolving rapidly. Driving an incremental skills and talent shortage in its wake. Uncover the five routes to success to allow you to equip your supply chain for the challenge ahead.

Get the latest headlines delivered directly to your inbox every Thursday.

A practical one day workshop for all roles in suppliers, to help develop your understanding of the vital part that supply chains play in underpinning FMCG businesses.