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E-Commerce: Carrefour and Google Join Forces

The French retailer keeps praising a digital strategy: they already partnered with Tencent to aim for the Chinese market and an agreement with Google has now been announced to take their strategy one step further. They will soon feature a Google Assistant-based purchasing experience and an innovation Lab to focus on AI technologies. More indication that retailers are adopting a pragmatic approach when working with Web giants.

This agreement will lead them to open an innovation lab in Paris –with Google Cloud– and to install Google office tools for roughly 160,000 of their employees. The point for this retailer is to eventually lead the French e-commerce sector.

They will be implementing a voice ordering service, allowing customers to buy items using their Google Home connected speaker, Google Assistant or Google Shopping Actions. The payment step will be dealt with by Google and the associated data will be managed by Carrefour since the customer will need to create a personal account to store his means of payment. The ordered items will either be shipped to his home address or picked up in-store (Web-to-Store).

These services should be proposed as of Q2 this year and will first apply to other products than food: these items should be added in the beginning of 2019. Google claims that discussions are underway with several French retailers on rolling out likewise sets of services. And this option has already been implemented by Fnac Darty.

Comments – More bridges between retailers and Web giants

In line with their Carrefour 2022 transformation plan, the retailer is building a partnership strategy to reach out for different sub-sectors. Besides their agreement with Tencent on designing a connected store, they bought out Quitoque and have an agreement in place with Marmiton, which now uses their smart data Xperiences platform. Their partnership with Google should help them enter the increasingly competitive market for voice commerce. This highly promising market does in fact require technological skills already mastered by the US Big Four. In March, Monoprix and Amazon, for instance, joined hands to propose food products to Amazon Prime Now customers.

Google tries to match Amazon’s ambitions, and this group also bought out Whole Foods Market in June 2017. Google partnered with other retailers –including Walmart in the US– to deal with the Amazon threat. Their French service stands out as it will also be applying to fresh food products.