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We have seen several retailers across Asia launch their own e-wallets recently, including AEON in Malaysia, and FamilyMart and Carrefour in Taiwan.

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Carrefour announced a strategic collaboration with Dada-JD Daojia, an online grocery and delivery firm owned by JD.com.

New business platform

Around 6,000 products are available to be traded on the new online platform, of which 400 are imported goods. These products cover multiple categories including fruit and vegetables, dairy, ready-to-eat, BWS (beer, wine and spirits), snacks, cooking ingredients as well as health and beauty. The goal is to make all offline products of Carrefour available online over time.

Wide reach and visible results

This collaboration will create a wide reach for Carrefour. Currently 158 Carrefour stores in 31 major cities across the nation are listed on JD Daojia. The plan is to have 200 listed by the end of 2018. Following the collaboration, Carrefour’s online sales increased by 720% vs. the previous month according to JD Daojia’s data.

Boundless retail

Carrefour regards this collaboration as an important step towards its boundless retail by having more prominent presence online and reaching more shoppers across China. Dada-JD Daojia has two integrated business “Dada” and “JD Daojia”, all owned by JD.com. Dada is an on-demand logistics platform and JD Daojia a ecommerce platform. JD Daiojia also partners with a number of major retailers, such as Walmart, CR Vanguard and Yonghui. It is not surprising that Carrefour is following suit.

Carrefour just published its Q3 results, click here for details and how it is growing its omnichannel presence globally. 

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Carrefour Asia’s executive director, Thierry Garnier, has highlighted how the retailer’s operating profit has improved in 2018. Garnier said the progress had been driven by its digital transformation, which has been aided by its strategic partnership with Tencent.

Partnership driving progress

Garnier pointed to Carrefour creating a strategic partnership in China with technology company Tencent. He said negotiations were continuing with supermarket operator Yonghui, which could lead to the latter investing in Carrefour China to help strengthen its overall operations.

Garnier went on to say further Carrefour Le Marche stores would be opened by the end of 2018, in Shenzhen, adding to the one already opened in Shanghai. As the more digitally-enabled Le Marche stores are rolled out, Carrefour China will look to extend its digital transformation to other stores and cities across the country.

China proving its worth as a testing ground

Garnier has previously said China is ‘the ideal location to develop new methods for attracting shoppers’, noting that the retailer was ‘very positive’ about its outlook in the country.

Speaking at Carrefour’s AGM its chief executive, Alexandre Bompard, noted the positive effect alliances were already having on its day to day operations. Bompard said the retailer’s digital commerce expansion was an ‘absolute priority’ given the growing competitive pressures in France and across Europe. The results from China will likely add weight to Bompard’s point of view and encourage Carrefour to see how it can use these alliances to support its operations globally.

Transmart Carrefour partners with Indonesian Mosque Council to open up to 300 stores.

Convenience stores located in mosque districts

Trans Retail Indonesia, the operator of Transmart Carrefour hypermarkets, has signed a memorandum of understanding with the Indonesian Mosque Council (Dewan Masjid Indonesia, DMI) to launch up to 300 convenience stores.  

These stores, with a maximum size of 250 sq m, will operate in selected mosque districts. The stores will be located in Jakarta, Sukabumi, Bandung, Bekasi and Depok, as well as other provincial centres.

Under the agreement, Trans Retail Indonesia will supply and stock the stores while DMI will look after operations and retail infrastructure. Trans Retail Indonesia will also share its retail experience in areas such as merchandising, purchasing and logistics. Revenues from this partnership will be split evenly between both parties.

Providing different facilities to remain competitive

Although these stores will compete with existing retailers such as Indomaret and Alfamart, the Transmart Carrefour stores intend to provide different facilities and services to differentiate itself from the competition. Such facilities include co-working spaces and specialised loyalty discount programs.

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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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