E-Commerce Auchan Unveils France's Largest Collection Locker Area
Auchan has opened a new grocery click and collect area in Saint-Etienne (Central France) composed of 250 temperature-controlled collection lockers, which the retailer claims is the largest of its kind in France. Online grocery shoppers visiting the AuchanDrive.fr website can place an order and collect their groceries four hours later using their customer and order numbers. The lockers offer three different temperature levels: ambient, chilled and frozen. Users of the service can select from Auchan's 8,500SKU assortment and the service is free of charge, although payment must be made online.
Jean-Charles Fhal, Head of Auchan Retail France's Drive stated "We will be following the results of this experiment closely because we are convinced that this Click and Collect service, backed by our 160 drives in France, can be a complementary solution for customers [...]. This opening is also an illustration of Auchan Retail France's commitment to a phygital business, combining the best of physical commerce with the potential of digital technology to offer consumers a variety of shopping experiences [...].
Gildas Aitamer (Senior Retail Analyst)
Opinion A Closely Monitored Pilot
Auchan pioneered Drive click & collect for groceries in France, a means of fulfillment that nowadays accounts for nearly three-quarter of online grocery sales in France, our LZ Retailytics data shows. The knowledge, infrastructure and processes for grocery e-commerce are already there, and volume is a key consideration on these low-margin products. French retailers are therefore exploring new ways to deepen their presence and reach new clients, whether via pick-up desks in city centres, or a new scheme unveiled last week by Carrefour for clients to also collect groceries on behalf of other customers.
Between suburban car owners visiting the Drives and households willing to pay a premium for home delivery exists a vast untapped audience: urban consumers in general, and students in particular, for whom locker collection may be a more convenient solution. Unsurprisingly, Auchan's hypermarket in Saint-Etienne is located in an urban area, a stone's throw away from several universities and within easy access of tram routes. This appears to be quite a favourable location for piloting this type of omnichannel initiative.
Lockers are a complementary solution to Auchan's online strategy, and this also applies to non-food lockers being rolled out at hypermarkets in 2017.