The recently launched ‘Le Marché’ store formula, a first collaboration between Carrefour and Tencent, allows customers to pay with face recognition at unmanned checkouts.
Pay with WeChat Pay
It seems that Carrefour has targeted Alibaba in China. Alongside its partner Tencent, the French retailer has just opened a first high-tech supermarket in Shanghai. It resembles its competitor’s connected Hema supermarkets, is called “Carrefour, Le Marché” and is about 4,000 sqm. Similar to Hema, it offers a free delivery service for online orders and an open kitchen where customers can get the fresh foods prepared so that they can be consumed on the spot. The main attraction is the payment solution however.
Shoppers can create a Carrefour account when they enter the store, using facial recognition, and attach that to their WeChat profile, a social network like Facebook with more than 1 billion users in China. Subsequently, they can scan their own groceries with their smartphone. A facial scan at the cash register will suffice to validate a payment with the WeChat Pay app.
More stores on the way
In a country where you can do practically everything with a smartphone, the physical store has to adapt, Carrefour China CEO, Thierry Garnier, said. “The store should become a meeting point, where one spends a nice time”, he told Le Monde. He considers China to be a retail lab where Carrefour can launch more innovative applications in the future.
Carrefour has struggled in the Chinese market for quite some time and had even considered a sale of its Chinese division. CEO Alexandre Bompard chose another path and entered a deal with Tencent. Le Marché is the first tangible result of its new collaboration and it wants to open another two stores in Shenzen.