French consumers are increasingly turning to online retail giant Amazon, according to Frédéric Duval, the company’s managing director for France.
“More and more consumers in France are visiting our site, and our Prime service is very popular in the country,” he told French news site JDD. “Since 2010, we have invested more than €2bn in France. The Hexagon is an attractive territory and is doing well.”
Amazon’s strategy to win over French consumers is roughly the same as it is elsewhere, according to Duval: to offer considerably greater product choice than its supermarket competitors, along with low prices and fast delivery.
“When I'm at home in Telgruc-sur-Mer in the Crozon peninsula, I have the same buying possibilities as if I were in Paris,” he said. “It's great to allow all French people to have the same offer wherever they are.”
Specifically concerning Amazon’s food offer, Duval explained that this was a key area of development since the launch of Amazon Fresh in the US in September 2016 and its acquisition of Whole Foods last June.
“Of course, we would want to launch this service in France too, but everything in its own time,” he said. “A launch represents an investment.”
For now, French subscribers to Amazon Prime can order everyday items like batteries, light bulbs and razors. Since 2016, the company also runs its express delivery service, currently restricted to Paris, called Amazon Prime Now.
Each year, Duval said, the company is strengthening its supply chain. “Before, we basically provided the distribution,” he said. “We then added sorting centres that route the parcels and, locally, delivery agencies that handle the last few kilometres.”
Such developments necessitated the creation of 1,500 jobs at Amazon France last year and will require just as many new appointments this year.
“In 2018, we will recruit 2,000 people on permanent contracts, at all levels of qualification and in all trades, but mainly in the preparation of orders,” said Duval. “These positions are located throughout France, in our five distribution centres, our two sorting centres, our seven delivery agencies, but also in our Paris offices in Clichy and La Défense. With these new hires, our French workforce will increase to 7,500 employees.”
Meanwhile, Carrefour has announced plans to cut thousands of jobs in France, as it launches a new partnership with Chinese groups Tencent and Yonghui to help revive the retailer's mainland China business.
The move forms part of an overhaul designed to boost growth under new chief executive Alexandre Bompard, with the three companies seeking to work together on data, smart retail, mobile payments and data analysis.