Following new alliances with Tencent and Google, Carrefour’s chief executive Alexandre Bompard said that the company is making big progress on the digital front. He explained that the retailer’s expansion in digital commerce was an “absolute” priority as the company faces competition from online rivals, such as Amazon, Reuters reported.
“Six months ago we were isolated,” Bompard said at the company’s yearly shareholders meeting. “All the retail alliances were taking place without us. Now we have deals with Tencent and Google. Your company has become attractive again and is resolutely offensive. I am very proud of the Google partnership, which shows that Carrefour is back at the highest-level worldwide.”
The news comes days after Carrefour announced a strategic partnership with Google that will enable new distribution models and commerce experiences for shoppers in France. The partnership centers around three initiatives: a new buying experience from Carrefour across Google platforms (Assistant, Google Home and a new experience on the Google Shopping website in France); the opening of an innovation lab in Paris this summer, in partnership with Google Cloud, where Carrefour engineers will work side-by-side with Google Cloud AI experts to co-create new consumer experiences; and a training program to accelerate the digital transformation of Carrefour Group.
More than 1,000 employees of Carrefour will be trained with the support of Google Cloud in six months, and Google Cloud’s G Suite productivity and collaboration solutions (Gmail, Calendar, Drive, Hangouts, Docs, etc.) will be deployed to more than 160,000 Carrefour employees. The partnership enables Google to deliver its technology and skills in AI, cloud and new consumer shopping interfaces to Carrefour, while the retailer offers its product expertise and knowledge in logistics and sales.
After taking the helm in July 2017, Bompard sought to reinvent the company’s brick-and-mortar hypermarket business and expand its eCommerce operations. Following Amazon’s purchase of Whole Foods last year, Carrefour could face competition from the eCommerce giant if it were to take on the retail food space in Europe.