Le Marche is the newest retail venture by Hypermarket chain Carrefour and WeChat owner, Tencent. The concept store, opened in Shanghai on May 20, is fitted out with features to create a New Retail shopping experience.
Multiple sources reported that the store features facial recognition upon entry, alongside scannable products which can be paid for using a customer’s WeChat account. Its size is around half of a typical Carrefour market, at 4000sqm over two levels.
The Shanghai outpost is the first of its kind for Carrefour, but according to Caixin the retailer plans to open more stores in Shenzhen over the coming months.
Although the store features facial recognition payment systems, it is not void of traditional cashiers. Shoppers can choose to either scan their faces upon entry and exit and scan their own products via WeChat to avoid lines, or opt for the traditional checkout method.
The store is a new trial for Carrefour who have seen a decline in success recently in China’s hyper-competitive retail market.
According to Caixin, Thierry Garnier, executive director of Carrefour Greater China, said that Carrefour plans to launch even more small-format grocery stores. Alongside Le Marche, the company has launched Easy – a small format convenience store.
Garnier said that sales in the smaller-format stores have been better than expected, and that they have a promising future.