Google is entering the grocery business in Europe. The tech giant inked a deal this week to work with Carrefour to sell groceries online in France, a move that comes as part of the retailer’s new digital push.
Starting in early 2019, Carrefour shoppers in France will be able to order groceries using a new Google shopping website or Google’s voice assistant, with items delivered to their homes or available for pick up in-store. Carrefour’s CEO Alexandre Bompard says his company is the first in Europe to partner with Google to explore grocery e-commerce.
Financial details of the partnership were not disclosed. As part of the deal, Carrefour will open an innovation lab in Paris this summer in partnership with Google to develop online services.
“We wanted to explore new distribution models and e-commerce technologies to deliver simple, frictionless and deeply relevant experiences for shoppers in France,” said Sébastien Missoffe, vice president and managing director of Google France.
Google will also provide digital training for more than 1,000 Carrefour employees over the next six months to help prepare for the shift. Simultaneously, more than 160,000 Carrefour employees will also adopt Google Cloud’s G Suite tools, which include Gmail, Hangouts and Google Drive, among other services.
Carrefour’s deal with Google follows an existing partnership announced in April 2018, when the companies revealed a collaboration to create an online voice assistant for the retailer’s shoppers called “Léa.” Prior to that, Carrefour kicked off 2018 by rolling out a new strategy that will see it invest $3.46 billion in digital commerce by 2022, a move that comes as the retailer is facing increased competition from e-commerce players like Amazon.
It may be awhile before Carrefour shoppers can buy groceries online in the Middle East and North Africa, but the hypermarket and supermarket chain is expanding in the region, where e-commerce is on the rise. Dubai retail conglomerate Majid Al Futtaim is the exclusive franchise owner of the Carrefour brand in the region, and recently announced plans to open 100 new stores in Egypt, adding to the 37 already in operation. Last year, Majid Al Futtaim also acquired 26 Geant hypermarkets across the U.A.E., Kuwait and Bahrain, with plans to rebrand them under the Carrefour name.