Optical: why Carrefour wants to sell you glasses with Atol

Carrefour continues to expand its range of services. Six months after launching Czam, the first current account that is accessible in the shelves of the retailers, the group, led since July by Alexandre Bompard announces the creation of a new activity in France: Carrefour Optical and Hearing. In the framework of an exclusive partnership with Atol opticians independent of this sign will manage the points of sale in the colors of the Crossroads, from 2018.

Target: 250 stores

“At this stage, it is just to test five or six stores in 2018,” warns one at Carrefour. But Eric Tv, president of Atol, reveals, in the background, high ambitions: “If the tests are conclusive, we will proceed to a massive deployment, with the aim of opening 250 stores in major shopping malls hypermarkets Carrefour.” The approach of the Crossroads there is nothing surprising. After all, the group had it not already been open in the past of the Carrefour stores-Optical, re-Afflelou in the early 2000s? And its main competitor, Leclerc has he not already points of sale and on an internet site specialized in the optical? “The large-scale distribution has always had an affect, with the lens in its vicinity search, and client service”, confirms Sabine Durand-Hayes, partner at PwC.

Boosting sales in hypermarket

But Eric Dish ensures that the half-dozen points of sale that will open up will have nothing to do with the current shops Atol. “This will be a concept particularly innovative that will allow us to propose and price new services in order to simplify and facilitate access to glasses,” warns the boss, refusing to say more. No doubt, in any case, the fact that these sites respond to the three issues that are inextricably linked to Carrefour. The first? The erosion of the sales of hypermarkets, a decrease of 2.1% in France in the last quarter. “The challenge is to report the traffic in their malls,” confirms Eric Dish, who says: “hypermarkets are becoming the poles of life and relaxation.” Therefore, why not imagine that the future Carrefour stores operated by Atol incorporate a space for leisure and play, enabling for example to test the virtual reality goggles? This track would not be far-fetched, when we know that Georges Plassat, who once again led Junction when the partnership with Atol has been imagined, had recently discussed the idea of a “dramatization” of the hypermarkets, where the animation and the services would have a place of your choice.

Always more services

The second trend that follows the Crossroads is precisely to build on the services. “Behind this offer, there will be a range of services specific to Carrefour offered to consumers”, announces Eric Tv. “Carrefour has been working for many years to broaden the range of services and proximity, in order to track the expectations of its customers and consumers”, confirms Sabine Durand-Hayes. Crossroads Optical and Hearing will be added to the activities of the Crossroads Bank and Insurance, Carrefour Voyages, Carrefour Spectacles and Carrefour Rental, but also to shopping Cart Chef, or express Delivery service, launched more recently. The underlying issue: differentiate the trade cold, but nevertheless ultra powerful, giants on the net such as Amazon, by a trade the more warm and human, in order to build consumer loyalty.

An omni-channel

This leads naturally to the third issue that Carrefour Optical and Hearing will probably, to its small-scale, to address: the digitalization of the distributor. At the time Carrefour is seeking to become completely omnicanal and to boost his online sales (from only 1 billion euros in France in 2016), it’s a safe bet that the stores operated by Atol will be a new genre. Carrefour will he test one of those showrooms that are connected to the mode, which focus on the lived experience, presenting a reduced number of references? Or will he focus on the ease in creating spaces to retrieve his glasses in record time after having tried virtually on the Internet?

A portion of the answers will probably be made within a month, when the new CEO Alexandre Bompard will unveil her transformation plan for the Carrefour group. The reinvention of the hypermarket there will be a place of choice, it by-passes the partnership with Atol or not.

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