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As part of their strategic relationship, Walmart and Rakuten have opened their first ecommerce store in Japan. We look at the model being used and implications for future expansion.

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China-based Alibaba has signed an agreement with the Belgium government to create an ecommerce trade hub. The agreement is part of Alibaba’s Electronic World Trade Platform (eWTP), of which Belgium is the first European country to join.

Logistics division Cainiao to invest €75m…

Alibaba’s logistics division, Cainiao, will initially invest €75m (US$85m) in the project, which will commence in 2021. It will also lease a 220,000 sq. m logistics port at Belgium’s Liege airport.

Commenting on the agreement, Alibaba’s CEO, Daniel Zhang, said, “We strongly believe that under the eWTP, we will open up the huge potential for European businesses to reap the benefits of global cross-border trade, especially into the China market”. Zhang has stated that Alibaba is aiming to help create the opportunity to generate US$200bn worth of imports to China over the next five years.

…to help reduce barriers for ecommerce

Alibaba’s eWTP aims to help reduce existing trade barriers for ecommerce trade between countries. This includes lowering or removing tariffs and improving the customs clearance process. The aim of the hubs is also to extend the reach of Alibaba’s other services, such as cloud computing, financing, logistics, and mobile payments. It has also been designed to “compliment” the World Trade Organisation.

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

Orders delivered by ‘Shoppers’

Through the partnership, Leclerc customers can have their online orders delivered to them at home. Customers buy through Leclerc’s web site and then fill out their order’s shipping information on

Source: Shopopop

They can then choose their preferred day and time for a member of the retail-delivery community, called Shoppers, to deliver. Shopopop relies on collaboration within the community to provide a fast delivery service.

To be trialled in six stores

Leclerc is trialling the service in six stores; Basse Goulaine, Guérande, Pleumeleuc, Pornic, Reze Oceane and Saint-Gilles Croix-de-Vie. If the experiment is successful, Leclerc with expand the partnership to cover all its stores.

Fulfilment becoming growing focus area

Faster, flexible fulfilment options are receiving growing attention from retailers in France. From Carrefour and Franprix trialling new delivery options to the emergence of the pedestrian Drive format, so retailers are creating options for shoppers to receive their orders when and where they want.

Global food company Kellogg announced a significant initiative to streamline its packaging portfolio in 2019. At its Company Investor Day in November, it described a move to just three standard pack sizes.

The main aim of this is to improve consumers’ ability to shop for cereal products, by creating better differentiation between small, medium and large pack sizes. But in doing so, it should also create significant supply chain benefits over time, for customers as well as Kellogg itself.

Source: Kellogg

During his presentation, Doug VanDeVelde (Senior Vice President, Global Breakfast Categories) outlined these additional benefits: “What will come with that is harmonized cube sizes, which will make us more efficient over time. We've also moved to reduce case packs. Reduced case packs will allow us to match brands with velocity, with channels, with customers, and actually help us improve our distribution over time.”

The transition period will doubtless be challenging, moving to new pack weights and case sizes. But the end goal is a great demonstration of how major strategic initiatives can increasingly either come from supply chain or involve significant supply chain capability to execute.

This week, IGD published its keynote piece of supply chain research for 2018, Supply Chains for Growth . It’s a fantastic insight into the future characteristics of our industry’s supply chains and an analysis of the response needed.


Food and grocery businesses are undergoing significant change and there’s no doubt that our food and grocery supply chains will have to adapt to mitigate risk and grow. In this report, we look at 5 ways that businesses can strengthen their convenience supply chains.
Albert Heijn is trialling smart door locks to enable home delivery when customers are not there to accept it in the Netherlands.
At this year’s IGD Supply Chain Summit, we heard from business leaders, academics, supply chain directors and more, on a wide range of topics. Here is our summary of the main stage presentations.
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