Auchan France: What Happens to the Best European Hypermarkets

December 12, 2014

Seven innovations that are being tested in Europe to improve the usability of hypermarkets through connections in motion.

Eros Casula & Antonello Vilardi 

Originally published by RETAIL WATCH.

AUCHAN FRANCE has one of its strengths, from the beginning, the hypermarket in Faches-Thumesnil, near Lille, where there is also the headquarters of the Group led by Gérard Mulliez

It is the place of the trial, in large and small, where the managers of the various functions try the “new concept” to individual departments, new services, and now also digital integrations.

We list seven initiatives:

1. Click & Collect with withdrawal in large area

It is a service quite problematic. 

In fact, where to place it within the layout? If it is placed at the beginning or in the middle, the customers do not run other departments;if it is positioned at the end, in the vicinity of the cash desks, the operators are engaged in different tasks. 

Auchan has chosen a dedicated zone without assistance but clearly visible from many angles, where the products are to be collected on the shelves lined up and sorted alphabetically by the last name of the customer. It's up to checkout to verify the identity of those who withdrew the product, found in a document. The product comes out of the box after being scanned as usual. The customer can also have it shipped home while purchasing online.

2. Payment in the department

It is usable with the help of an iPhone or an iPod, that are able to scan the product. The transaction reaches normal flows and traditional cash (bank licenses, etc.). The payment system described is not yet 100% usage and Auchan has pledged to seek better solutions.

3. Payments and promotion with smartphone at the cash desks. 

Auchan aims to accept payments by means of mobile phones, while managing loyalty cards, promotions and receipts.To do this, it is using a device FLASH'N PAY, developed for ONEY BANQUE ACCORD. In practice, the consumer can scan a QR CODE (Quick Response Code) via smartphone and pay through the application FLASH'N PAY integrating the application MyAuchan, already developed previously. The customer may also pay by traditional mode, without using NFC technology (Near Field Communication): smartphone allows the recovery of the receipt, identical to the paper. The issuing of a voucher is sent to the smartphone. It is a payment system designed and developed by Auchan, that in this way exceeds the services of Google and Apple.

4. The satisfaction questionnaire 

The hypermarket can send a questionnaire to the client to ask him the satisfaction of all services provided. The results can be read in real time by the staff who can act quickly on the different uses of the hypermarket itself. 

5. Technology on the Department: the case of wines. 

A device installed in the wine section, created by PHOCEIS, allows consumers to evaluate the different products on display; by means of the bar code of a bottle is possible to assign a rating from 1 to 5. A video wall, above the linear exhibition, records this judgment and lists the last seven bottles judged by customers. The result then can be printed on the bottle label, with the stars expressed by the guest review score, which can also be enhanced in the portal

In this particular type of initiative lies an extremely significant: the distributor is exploiting the propensity to socialize purchases, the result of natural predisposition to imitate other people's choices.

6. The use of beacons. 

This new technology is being tested and has been used for example in the category of batteries.  During the passage of the customer, a note will be sent to his smartphone reporting any price reductions. 

7. Integration between paper and digital flyer

Always with PHOCEIS, Auchan has developed a system of mobile tactile to find the products within the product layout and the layout of the plant of the hypermarket. If the product is out of stock, the customer can order it through the same tool, recording the phone number of the smartphone and the amount of product required. Soon Auchan will call the customer to propose the purchase, perhaps suggesting some complementarity.

These are some of the innovations that Auchan is experimenting, although it is working extensively on other, not yet known by the press. 

…for those who plan to make a visit to France, right in this area: Route de Vendeville, 59155 FACHES THUMESNIL.