Carrefour extends its marketplace to Spain and Belgium as it tempts third-parties to sell online and in-store

French hypermarket giant Carrefour is extending its marketplace to Spain and the Belgium in the coming months as it seeks to offer its customers an ever-growing range of goods both online and through its stores.

The Carrefour Group already operates marketplaces for third party merchants in France and Poland. Spain is now open for business, says the company, and Belgium is set to launch in the Spring.

The company is looking to offer a wider range of goods to its Spanish customers, increasingly available inventory from 100,000 items to more than 2million. But what is perhaps more significant is that it is looking to boost online sales via Carrefour.es and use its footprint of stores across Spain – ranging from hypermarkets to small local stores – to encourage click and collect.

The omni-channel retailer is already a significant online player in Spain with 87 million visits, 35 million unique users and about 320 million page views per year.

Carrefour has also revealed that it will be installing digital terminals in shops so customers can make online purchases too. As Amazon has revealed with collection lockers in branches of Whole Foods, such features can increase footfall in store.

“We consider that it is a disruptive and quite interesting idea for our customers. The biggest advantage of a marketplace is the speed: to be able to have a wide offer in a very short time. A marketplace is a magical place that can bring together the interests of customers and sellers.”

– Rafael Sánchez-Sendarrubias, director of ecommerce, Carrefour España

So how is it going to work for merchants? According to the company, the marketplace will allow merchants to list on Carrefour.es without fees and for no fixed time period, as well as considering merchants and their goods for hard sales within Carrefour shops. For merchants, Carrefour hopes that the halo effect of being associated with its brands will increase sales for merchants – something that non-Spanish retailers and brands may consider to be a useful leg up into this lucrative market.

According to the retailer, retailers and merchants simply need to upload their product catalogue to the marketplace and sit back and wait for the orders – which will come through as email notifications from the Carrefour marketplace team. The merchant then has to pack and ship and await payment from Carrefour, which will be handling all the money. The cut taken by Carrefour has not yet been clarified.

It sounds simple, but other retailers have tried and failed with this already. Here in the UK, motoring and cycling emporium Halfords set up its own third-party marketplace site to augment what it sold, but has been forced to close its doors next month as it has cannibalised its own inventory.

Carrefour, being a grocery-to-electricals and beyond retailer must be hoping that it has itself such a diverse range of goods that this won’t happen. It is also clearly looking to use its brand penetration to help drive it against Amazon and eBay and become a pan-category online marketplace.

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Halfords is the only one we have seen so far failed. Most the retailers are working with Mirkal which Carrefour is using also. It is interesting from my time living in Spain, Carrefour was the one stop shop for everything it is where we did nearly all our shopping. We work with a very similar outfit to Carrefour, but find them not flexible with creating or uploading new products not already in their inventory, we are lucky to get 50SKUS on it this is where they are failing. It really limits what we can sell, for us to do well we need to source different and unique products away from larger companies. The more niche retailers are far better another one we work with overseas we have more SKUS than eBay available, and is by far our most successful marketplace, we get direct contact with an account manager who is always open to new products and ideas, it is an actual breath of fresh air. We have been able to lose Amazon as an outlet by using these retailer sites, which has made up the sales but more important increased our margins.

SAM • 29th March 2018 •