The main challenge facing the Covid-19 lockdown context was to adapt our services as fast as we could to offer the possibility of online shopping to all our customers. Our online groceries demand expanded at least five times our usual one within the first days of lockdown. Thus, we created, designed and developed a brand new express delivery service, Tu Pedido. It allowed our clients from all over the country to place orders and access a 24H express delivery experience.
Time to look for creative solutions
First of all, online food shopping is a trend that has been growing rapidly in the last few months in Argentina. We witnessed a 19% growth if we look at months prior to the coronavirus outbreak.
For us, the pandemic context meant thousands of new online consumers that multiplied our sales up to 5 times. So, what’s the problem with getting new clients every day? Basically, we had an overflow of the supply capacity and weren’t able to respond efficiently to such a demand.
Within the first days after the government announced the official national lockdown, all retailers, including Carrefour, were working at full capacity, offering to deliver an order 14 days after a purchase was made.
It was a general crisis, affecting not only the online services of Carrefour but of all our competitors from the national market.
With a growing demand and current clients unsatisfied, we wondered how to respond to this abrupt change. We only had 12 stores available to prepare and deliver e-commerce orders concentrated in Buenos Aires and Rosario. So, we had lots of places in Argentina with stores but without the capacity to offer an online shopping experience.
This situation led us to think about the business on a totally different scale, focusing on all the resources that a leading company such as Carrefour has. We had many stores with idle spaces (mainly warehouses) around the whole country. So the challenge was to use those spaces to create an efficient and easy-to-replicate model. In turn, that would allow us to multiply our orders’ preparation capacity.
A clear solution for our clients
The business idea we were chasing after had to answer a simple question: what does the customer need? To answer that, we identified three main needs from our customers:
- Stock up on food and hygiene products
- Minimize the exits from their home
- Receive their orders in the shortest possible time
Our main obstacle was crystal clear. The e-commerce capacity, as we knew it at that time, was not prepared to respond to that kind of demand if we continued working with only 12 stores.
What could we do? In this scenario, we started designing our delivery service strategy focusing on three pillars:
- Take advantage of a branch network with stores working throughout the country
- Expand our service with a simple and efficient model, allowing the supply of at least 80% of the basic products. This means more than 1,000 products with guaranteed stock at all times
- Use idle spaces to operate productively and facilitate a place for the current teams working in the stores to collect and prepare orders efficiently
Taking into account those important advantages, we managed to design, create and offer a new site with a list of essential products, a pick-up system first and a delivery service a few weeks later. That’s how Tu Pedido was born.
Carrefour Argentina: one team
To make this new business model come true, the eCommerce team, together with the executive committee, started working on a commercial proposal. Then, the IT team managed to develop a brand new in-house e-commerce site in record time, and most importantantly, our teams working in-store set up what we call a ‘side store’ of about 500m² to collect and prepare the orders.
With those things happening at the same time and at full speed, in less than 10 days after the idea was pitched, we already had the first laboratory at the San Isidro Hypermarket (our first store launched in the country 38 years ago).
After 4 days of testing, we made the necessary adjustments for a rapid expansion. With a huge effort from the in-store teams, we managed to replicate this model in more than 50 stores in only 30 days, covering the main cities throughout the country.
The formula for the success of Tu Pedido: Roll-out + Evolve
Launching a successful e-commerce model in a challenging context is only the first step for us. However, we must be vigilant and try to anticipate future behaviors in order to become market leaders.
As of today, we continue adjusting the model to prepare it for a context of permanent high online demand. We are always taking into account that our competitors will be designing new and innovative services as well. Thus, we need to prepare ourselves for an even more challenging context.
To continue improving our services for our express delivery service Tu Pedido, we have incorporated more shipping alternatives. We have also improved the assortments and we follow our customer’s feedback very closely. For us, the path to success and to evolve will always be to ask ourselves: what do our consumers need? Surely there will be more changes in the future, but we have to follow the most important rule which is listening to our clients.
During this crisis, Carrefour Argentina’s online business doubled its market share thanks to actions such as this new delivery service with ‘Tu Pedido’. We wanted to share with you the difficulties of finding the right solution for a given problem in the midst of a crisis. However, as we say: ‘in every crisis hides opportunities’. We must never fall into resignation and we should lean on other teams to seek innovative and creative workarounds to a problem.
Don’t forget to check our other articles about e-commerce projects.