Carrefour China has extended its ecommerce coverage, officially launching its offer in Wuxi and Suzhou on November 22.
The website and app now covers six Chinese cities including Shanghai, Beijing, Kumming and Chengdu.
And Carrefour China has stated that it plans to extend its online coverage to more cities, such as Wuhan, by the end of the year.
The ramping up of Carrefour’s online activities comes as the French retailer continues to make heavy weather of gaining traction in the market.
A succession of poor-to-dismal quarterly showings have left many questioning whether it actually has a long-term future in China at all.
Carrefour has made destination shopping very much its focus in the market in recent years
On ecommerce, it has defiantly pursued a standalone operation and is seemingly loathe to explore local partnerships with 3P platforms such as JD.com or Alibaba.
This has been the avenue taken by fellow international operators such as Walmart or Auchan.
The latter has enjoyed significant dotcom success by hooking up with local players and offering a diverse range of platforms to target specific Chinese shopper segments, often centred on tempting membership schemes.
Carrefour, however, has made destination shopping very much its focus in the market in recent years.
Its mall-based big boxes have proved popular with mid-income family shoppers attracted by their destination appeal.
As Chinese families grow … family-focused destinations will be well placed for future growth
It has been rewarded with a positive shopper perception in megacities, as Planet Retail discovered talking to consumers during a recent visit to Shanghai.
As Chinese families grow following the relaxation of single-child laws and a government push to drive up the birth rate, family-focused destinations will be well placed for future growth.
However, questions must remain as to whether Carrefour can differentiate its online offer sufficiently to stand out from far stronger and more dominant digital rivals.
China is a highly-evolved ecommerce market and Carrefour’s online evolution seems several generations behind already.
- Howard Lake is senior editor at Planet Retail