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Casino’s online business, Cdiscount, is to launch a rapid delivery service in French cities.

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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.

UK online specialist retailer Ocado and French multiformat retailer Casino announced a deal today for Ocado to extend its Smart Platform technology outside the UK.

Ocado will build a new Customer Fulfilment Centre (CFC) in the Paris area, which will make use of their automated warehouse technology already in use in 3 UK CFCs. This will extend Casino's online presence in the Paris, Normandie and Hauts de France regions, specifically focusing on home delivery.

Ocado creating partnerships beyond UK

The deal extends Ocado's reach into the "solutions" business, where they are already working with Morrisons in the UK and another unnamed retailer elsewhere in Europe.

Casino will find and build the initial site with Ocado taking over to fit out their proprietary robotic mechanical handling kit. Customer deliveries should go live in about 2 years' time, and Casino will then have the option to extend supply from this CFC as well as exclusivity with Ocado in France to build additional CFCs.

France currently has a (relatively) mature online grocery shopping market, which is focused on the click-and-collect model.

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Carrefour France has announced that it has launched a new ‘ultra-fast’ delivery service covering Paris and Neuilly-sur-Seine. Carrefour has been trialling the service since October in around 10 Paris districts.

Service to offer range of about 2,000 products

Carrefour’s service enables shoppers to choose from a range of about 2,000 everyday staple products for delivery within an hour, within a 30-minute timeframe. Carrefour has said that the range is akin to the range available in a ‘town-centre supermarket’, which should mean that a in-store pick solution will be the fulfilment method of choice in the medium term. Shoppers are charged €4.90 for using the service and there is no minimum spend. Meanwhile Carrefour stressed that, potentially targeting Amazon, there is no need for shoppers to subscribe to take advantage of the service.

Deliveries are made between 09:00 and 22:00 Monday to Saturday by ‘Stuart’, a start-up in which GeoPost has invested. Carrefour has said that an app will be launched soon for the service, which will allow shoppers to track their deliveries in real time.

Service raises the competitive levels in Paris

Carrefour’s announcement comes soon after rival Casino-owned Franprix extended the range of products it would make available for delivery in an hour, following a tie-up with start-up company, Les Nouveaux Fromagers, while Amazon has made a steady stream of announcements about its own capabilities in Paris during 2016.

A growing range of ecommerce solutions

The extension of the service in Paris suggests that shoppers have taken to the service, while Carrefour believes that it is key to maintaining market share in the key city and continue to be successful in the medium term. The new service adds to Carrefour’s growing range of ecommerce solutions and provides it with a way to compete in urban areas around the country, utilising its extensive store estate, which was bolstered through the acquisition of DIA. If it continues to be successful in Paris, Carrefour could extend it to other cities in the country as a way to gain first mover advantage over Amazon and its mainstream rivals.

Looking for more on Carrefour?

If you're looking for more information of Carrefour, check out our Carrefour supply chain snapshot, for an essential summary of supply chain priorities, latest network developments, and other key statistics for the retailer.


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