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Alibaba Group has announced plans to invest in Huitongda Network Co, an ecommerce retailer that specialises in distribution to rural areas.

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We look at Target’s plans to expand its fee-based program which enables customers to have their in-store purchases delivered to home.

Customers can choose to have purchases delivered for $7

This service was initially piloted in New York last year at its smaller format concept at Herald Square, Manhattan. This was subsequently expanded to three additional stores in the city. For a flat fee of $7, when checking out, customers can chose to have their purchases delivered the same day, within a two-hour delivery window. By the end of April, Target will expand the service to almost 60 stores in Boston, Chicago, New York, San Francisco and Washington, DC.

Ease and convenience popular with shoppers

This service has been well-received by shoppers at the test stores, appreciating its ease and convenience compared to public transport. Large furniture items have proved to be the most popular items to be delivered. The service will be promoted with new in-store signage, while its integration into the checkout process should support usage.

Stores being reimagined as distribution hubs

Target is in the process of re-engineering its supply chain and stores to make this type of service possible. Last year it acquired Grand Junction, a technology company that helps retailers make deliveries faster and more efficiently. This provided the retailer with access to the company’s technology and carrier network, accelerating the work it’s undertaking to improve the speed of delivery. As part of its strategic focus on becoming ‘America’s easiest place to shop’, its stores are being repositioned as distribution hubs.

Carrefour has opened a new ecommerce facility near Paris.

26,000 sq m facility

The 26,000 sq m distribution centre will supply the retailer’s Drive outlets in and around Paris. Located in Aulnay-sous-Bois, 14km north-east of Paris, it will serve around 50 Drive and pedestrian Drive outlets by the end of 2018.

Preparing for rising demand

The multi-temperature facility will first operate manually. In 2019, it will more than double the numbers of orders it can process daily from 3500 to 8000 when it becomes automated, as well as increasing the number of products available, from 13,000 to 20,000.

A crucial challenge

"Winning the town centre e-commerce battle is a crucial challenge for Carrefour. Thanks to this new platform, we're going to be able to supply our drive sales outlets in the Paris region, as well as our new pedestrian drives in the capital. The facility will be an additional asset for our Group and will enable Carrefour to take the diversity and quality of the service offering that it delivers to its customers to a whole new level", said Alexandre Bompard, Chairman and CEO of Carrefour.

Amazon has announced that it will extend its Amazon Key service to all Amazon customers in the U.S.

The announcement comes a month after Amazon acquired high-tech home security producer Ring in a deal worth over $1 billion. The deal is Amazon's second largest acquisition.

The announcement also comes just six months after Amazon first trialled its Amazon Key service in 37 US cities and surrounding areas across the U.S.

About Amazon Key

Amazon Key allows customers to have packages delivered inside their home without having to be there, as the courier is able to enter the shoppers home through a one-off code that allows them access via the Amazon Key smart lock.

Delivery is available on tens of millions of items sold on and the delivery is available at no extra cost for Prime members.

Test, learn and improve

Amazon has added a new feature to Amazon Key. Users are now able get entry and exit video clips of people entering and leaving their home. Customers have the option to view motion video clips of a person entering or leaving when the door is locked or unlocked.

This provides customers with increased peace of mind and security with real-time notifications and the ability to watch the clips at their own convenience. 

"Customers have told us that they love how easy it is to use Amazon Key for keyless entry and door monitoring from anywhere with the Amazon Key App," said Rohit Shrivastava, General Manager, Amazon Key. "It's a great service for busy families; you no longer have to worry about giving keys to service providers like house cleaners, instead you can give them their own code right from your Amazon Key App. We're excited that customers across the country can now take advantage of these convenient features."


Amazon is not the first retailer to trial unattended in-home delivery through utilising smart locks. ICA in Sweden, and Walmart in the US have all run trials. More recently we have seen Bringmeister, the online supermarket of Edeka, and Cary Services offering unattended home grocery deliveries straight to customers' fridges in Berlin.

However, the announcement is the first nationwide application of such a service, and plays very much into Amazon’s strategy of providing a great customer experience with particularly fast and reliable fulfilment.

Amazon Key aims to improve convenience in more ways than just through delivery.  Amazon has previously announced that in the future Amazon Key will provide customers with professional service scheduling with thousands of providers.

This includes integrations with some of the leading service brands, including home cleaning experts from Merry Maids to pet sitters and dog walkers from, as well as over 1,200 services from providers across 60 professions via Amazon Home Services, which will help Amazon build out its ecosystem and aim of being the “Earth’s most customer-centric company”.


This report highlights four key supply chain trends that will emerge and develop in 2018. It also assesses how the trends IGD identified at the beginning of last year are impacting the supply chain today.
Discover IGD’s framework for customer centric supply chains to understand how leading FMCG organisations are shaping their supply chains from the shelf back.
Welcome to the second report on our new benchmarking series, Building a successful supply chain. Our new framework assesses 24 different measures of supply chain maturity. You can find the first report in our Powered by people trend hub.

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