Tunisia. Carrefour aims to open a dedicated e-commerce warehouse
In Tunisia (with a population of 11.5 million), Carrefour aims to accelerate sales via e-commerce. The Group is planning a move from a pilot business model of in-store picking and delivery to building a dedicated e-commerce warehouse. This will initially stock a few thousand products, with the majority as food items. In Tunisia, the France-based grocer operates 1 hypermarket and 93 supermarkets in 19 cities. “The Carrefour grocery stores in Tunisia have not been designed for efficient item sales, as there is no space dedicated to in-store reserve,” commented a company source. “This project is still under discussion but there are workshops across the company. The ambition is clear. We want to
start on a small scale with a dedicated “dark store” unit which prepares online orders. It’s the easiest format to set up. In terms of customer service, it’s also the most efficient solution as it helps reduce out-of-stock problems.” Carrefour-Tunisia will manage this pilot warehouse without an integrated O.M.S. (Order Management System). When there is a second e-commerce warehouse in another city, the plan is to integrate OMS to incorporate artificial intelligence in the warehouse’s “back office” as well as in the preparation of online orders.Carrefour’s strategy for Tunisia follows a recent U.S.A. trend by an array of retailers, from Wal-Mart to H-E-B. They are transforming non-profitable hypermarkets into dedicated e-commerce warehouses.
Tunisia’s e-commerce market is essentially focused on non-food items. A differential factor is that cash on delivery accounts for 70% of the market. In 2017, the local digital market value reached €48 million, making it the 4th largest e-commerce market in Africa and the 79th largest worldwide (source: UN).