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E-commerce Drive-ins: Growing in France and the U.S.

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Especially for bulk shopping the delivery by a German parcel service like DHL, UPS, DPD or TNT is not always the most convenient (and cheapest) solution. For German customers, it’s a new trend that comes from France: click & drive – they can collect their articles ordered online at a collection point. In France these drive-in solutions are offered by Auchan Drive and its subsidiary Chronodrive, and cash & carry vendors are picking up on the trend.

Retailer cooperative Leclerc already has 32 “Express Drive” collection points and wants to open another 15 by the end of June. Rival retailer cooperative Système U has 200 packing stations and wants to double this number without, however, specifying a timeframe.

Metro Group’s French Cash & Carry subsidiary has opened four packing stations in the south of France, but these are exclusively for its bulk customers who prefer to save time on collection rather than for end consumers wishing to order online. Metro Manager Philippe Bappel says he wants to open 15 drive-ins this year and a total of 55 throughout the country medium-term.

Mike Dawson, editor of German newspaper Lebensmittel Zeitung, reports not only on this trend in France but also in the U.S.: “At over 40 per cent of its online orders are picked-up from the local store. This has encouraged the retail giant to test ‘drive-thru’ pick-up options and redesign stores to include front-of-house pick-up counters.”

According to Dawson, “Sears Holdings is testing a MyGofer store outside Chicago, where 80 per cent of the floor space is devoted to backroom storage and the rest to pick-up. Sears Holdings’ Kmart subsidiary even encourages competitors to use its outlets as a central pick-up location. Speculation is also rife that might begin to create pick-up locations.”

German operators Metro Group, Schlecker, Rewe Group and Globus answered pertinent inquiries evasively or not at all which leaves a lot of space to speculations.

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