E-Commerce Bringo! Says Carrefour Romania

Gildas Aitamer (Senior Retail Analyst)
20 July 2017
Carrefour Romania has become the major shareholder of Bringo, an online platform organising home delivery by courier, Magazinul Progresiv reports. The mobile app displays couriers located nearby a selected store, as well as the grocery assortment of that store. Shoppers can submit an online order and have it delivered to their home by courier for a ROL20 (EUR4.45) fee within 90min. Payment is made on delivery and the service is limited to Bucharest. 

The assortment available naturally varies by store, but can reach up to 35,000 products for a Carrefour hypermarket. Its mainly grocery selection also includes household goods and health & beauty. Below is an interview presenting the partnership between Carrefour and Bringo (in Romanian).  

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Gildas Aitamer (Senior Retail Analyst)
Gildas Aitamer (Senior Retail Analyst)

Opinion Let Others Do the Work

20 July 2017
Crowd-based couriers have already transformed the transport and foodservice industries and are discreetly making their way into grocery retail too. This practice is not new to Europe, we can think of Coop Denmark working with Osuma platform for instance, but the continent has not yet reached the scale seen in the US. There, Instacart already works with retailers including Publix, Wegman’s, and Whole Foods Market to name but a few. Rival Kroger even teamed up with Uber to deliver orders to customers' front doors earlier this year. 

But not all retailers are outsourcing to third parties, some prefer to develop their own platforms in-house.  In Denmark, Reitangruppen's discounter Rema1000 introduced its Vigo (We Go) service, exclusive to its own stores. Other retailers have turned to their clients for solutions. Carrefour Poland recently unveiled its SąSiatki (Neighbour) program rewarding shoppers with discount vouchers for fulfilling orders on the behalf of others. This tactic was briefly trialled by Auchan Drive in France but rapidly shelved. And when shoppers are not ready and willing, retailers may rely on the goodwill of their own staff, a path US giant Walmart is considering. 

All operators are innovating and experimenting with different concepts and models. Beyond the desire for innovation and goodwill towards a collaborative economy, retailers are moving heaven and earth to avoid falling into the pitfall of doing grocery e-commerce unprofitably. Crowd-sourced solutions indeed keep costs to a bare minimum for retailers while satisfying home shoppers. Smart, indeed. Without mentioning the legal loophole around crowd-based services in many European countries, we believe the system has three major flaws: scale, availability and reliability.

As much as driving a car or delivering a pizza that's still hot is one thing, picking fresh produce on behalf of someone else and transporting frozen items in good condition is arguably another. This increased uncertainty for shoppers also tends to rely on their willingness to pay a (relatively) high fee. This may be a problem in price-sensitive markets or those where free click & collect is widely available. Grocery purchase and delivery platform Shopwings for example gave up on the German market back in 2015, but now operates in Australia. 

We support retail innovation and the efforts that are being put into new technology, but believe time will be needed to assess the value of the new opportunities that a collaborative economy brings and whether these can successfully be integrated into retailers' e-commerce platforms of the future.
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