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Carrefour Opens Its First “Smart Store” in Shanghai
05/31/2018 Shanghai Youth Daily

The retail giant, Carrefour, joined hands with Tencent recently and opened its first smart store, LeMarche, in Tianshan area of Changning District, Shanghai. This is the first new type of operation of Carrefour in the world. It’s also a smart retail flagship store accepting WeChat Pay. By applying various technologies of Tencent, such as “face recognition membership”, “shopping by scanning QR code on mini apps” and “no password payment for members”, Carrefour hopes to build a smart retail flagship store in the city. LeMarche means “market” in French.

Apart from “smart” services, restaurant, fresh food, imported commodity and private brand is also the feature of LeMarche.

In LeMarche’s Tianshan Store, there is an area covering 300 square meters dedicated to imported food, and commodities are put on goods shelves based on nations of production. All imported commodities are put on goods shelves nearest to the main passageway, and it is easy for consumers to find them. As Carrefour told, food accounts for 78% among all commodities in the store, and 17% of them are imported food. The proportion of personal care products and cosmetics also increased a lot. Consumers would see an entire goods shelf occupied with Japan and South Korea brands and imported commodities that enjoy good reputation among young people. By doing so, Carrefour hopes to create a young brand image.

Private brand will play an important part in the future development of Carrefour. It enriches the category of commodity in the store, and it also offers more products with high performance-to-price ratio to consumers. Currently, most private brands of Carrefour in China are food brands. In LeMarche Tianshan Store, consumers would find beverage, wine, chocolate biscuits and canned jam, and comparing with other imported food, the price of them has more advantages.

Comparing with Carrefour’s other stores, many of them cover over 8,000 square meters, LeMarche Tianshan Store only covers an area of over 4,000 square meters. Carrefour plans to open more supermarkets with compact size (small and medium-sized supermarket covering around 4,000 square meters) in the future, for Carrefour plans to abandon its concept in the past that “large” supermarket inevitably covers large areas.

"We’ll alter the supermarket’s existing structure that the supermarket is separated from the shops outside. In Tianshan Store, we’ll break down the wall that separates the gourmet street from the supermarket, and create a large open space for consumers. In this way, they would have more space of options. We hope to create a community lifestyle in Carrefour,” said Yu Ying, Vice-President of Carrefour China,

"In the past, we believed Internet consumption would be the mainstream of shopping in the future, but the data that we gathered in market studies showed that small-scale type of operation would become the explosive point of retail business, and it will be the most important type of operation in the future,” said Tang Jianian, President of Carrefour Greater China. “Private brand will be our focus in the future. Our objective is to increase the number of private brands from 1,000 currently to 4,000 in the future, and 20% of them will be imported commodities. Organic green food will be another focus of us. We will directly form partnership with farmers. We would even teach them how to improve their products.”

Carrefour plans to establish two more smart stores in Shenzhen. In the future, consumers would see more LeMarche stores nationwide.

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