Majority of Carrefour’s French supermarkets are loss-making – claim
Supermarket chain Carrefour has become the first retailer in Europe to integrate its customer loyalty programme with Apple Pay.
The integration means shoppers are enabled to pay for their purchases and collect loyalty points at the same time using their iPhone or Apple Watch. If Carrefour customers add their customer loyalty card to their Apple Wallet they can use their phones and Apple watches as a contactless payment card at store checkouts without needing to use a separate loyalty card. Points can be securely collected by using Face ID, Touch ID or by entering a phone password, whichever the customer prefers.
The move is significant because Carrefour is a giant of a retailer, with stores across the world, and this is a major win for Apple, which has struggled to compete against the many wallet offerings in the marketplace. Many banks have elected to introduce their own wallets, and so have a number of retailers, leading to a very confusing payments picture. The internet biggies, including Amazon and Google also have wallet aspirations.
As the Covid-19 pandemic has had the consequence of encouraging contactless payments, and led to the increasing of the monetary limit, so there has been a renewed interest in payment using a handset, to avoid the need for separate plastic cards.
The downside of Apple Pay of course, is that it only works with Apple phones and watches, but Carrefour also has a relationship wth Google.
Three weeks ago it announced it was integrating voice-based e-commerce grocery shopping on the on Google Assistant.
Through the partnership Carrefour and Google have already achieved multiple innovations.
- Google Assistant has allowed shoppers to add items to their shopping list using common words like milk, butter, and cheese
- The conversion is customized
- The specific item added to the list by Google Assistant reflects the shopper’s product preferences as closely as possible, where the shopper can even delete, modify, or add products as they wish
- Once the cart is confirmed on Google Assistant, the shopper moves immediately to Carrefour’s e-commerce site to finalize their order, confirm their slot, and their delivery method, pay and get loyalty benefits
“The partnership developed with Google gives Carrefour a head-start in terms of technology and customer experience. Carrefour is the first retailer in the world to integrate with the new voice-based grocery shopping experience on the Google Assistant. This innovation, developed with Google, will further accelerate the trajectory of e-commerce at Carrefour,” explains Amélie Oudéa-Castéra, Carrefour Group’s executive director of e-commerce, data and digital transformation.
This partnership has introduced three key features for users, which include:
- Voice command
- It allows the user to say a specific voice command to start the experience on Google Assistant and then build their list using common language. That includes words like “cheese,” product names, or brand names.
- Shared shopping lists
- Users can share their shopping list with whomever they choose, like family members, who can also add any items they want
- Preferred product recognition
- Google Assistant converts the shopping list into a shopping cart which proposes specific products that most closely reflect the user’s preferences, either if they already know, the shopper has already purchased the product, or because the Google Assistant deduces the preferences, based on the general purchasing habits of the customer at Carrefour, best price available, and best sellers. If the customer has never shopped at Carrefour, the Google Assistant only takes the latter two criteria into its suggestions
Carrefour France has its challenges. It was recently reported that no less than 104 of its 185 supermarkets in the country are loss making, accounting for 56% of the sites. This is evidenced by a trade union report published by the trade journal Linéaires. And these figures do not yet take into account rental costs and possible depreciation. It is also alarming that losses have worsened compared to the previous year: in 2018, 89 out of 191, or 46.5% of the French Carrefour hypermarkets still recorded losses before rent and depreciation.
The supermarket group is trying to turn the tide with, among other things, contactless payments and digital shopping experiences, which should make the buying experience as smooth and frictionless as possible. Especially during the corona lockdown, the adoption of this mobile technology took off quickly, says Marie Cheval, director hypermarkets and financial services for Carrefour France.