Auchan Minute, already highly developed in China, arrives in France! From March 2019, the 3,000 employees of the Villeneuve d’Ascq campus will test the country’s first “phygital” store (“physical” and “digital”).
The concept: self-service containers of nearly 200 square feet, without any employee - except to stock up the shelves. In order to enter the store, customers must identify themselves using their smartphone. They then do their shopping by scanning the products which are added to their virtual basket. Finally, they validate and do their payment online.
The containers are open 7 days a week, 24 hours a day; a considerable asset for urban areas. In China, the Auchan Minute shelves offer around 500 items in fresh products and snacks.
Primarily intended for the city centers, the Auchan Minute concept aims to anticipate the competition from Amazon and its Amazon Go containers, which are currently being tested in Seattle. These new stores would be very advantageous for the retailer as it would reduce labor costs. The trade unions, however, raise the alarm over the threat they represent for employment: “these entirely autonomous concepts are a threat for the already precarious cashier jobs,” warns Ludovic Vinchon, Force Ouvrière union representative at Auchan France. “If a retail leader like Auchan starts to remove cashiers, all retailers will have to do the same in order to keep up with the competition. In the long run, the profession will disappear entirely.”
In addition to the Auchan Minute experiment, the group also wishes to develop online shopping with drive-through and home delivery services. The keystone of this strategy: new digital technologies must “facilitate access to the supply” and “provide excellent service”, while allowing to save on labor.