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Journal of Retailing and Consumer Services 39 (2017) 145153

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Grocery pickup creation of value: Customers benets vs. spatial dimension MARK
a, b a
Dany Vyt , Magali Jara , Grard Cliquet
IGR-IAE, Graduate School of Management, University of Rennes 1, Rennes Cedex, France
IUT of Saint-Nazaire, University of Nantes, Nantes, France


Keywords: This article examines an Internet grocery shopping model very frequent in the UK and in France: the grocery
Click and collect pickup system. It strives to answer this research questions: does this system create value for consumers? The
Customer value methodology relies on in-depth interviews with retailers and data from French retail grocery industries. The
Grocery pickups exploratory approach through experts interviews concerning the content of retailers selling propositions for
consumers reinforces the theoretical framework related to customers value and grocery pickup. It appears that
Spatial dimension
long term value could exist through the satisfaction of functional, experiential and relational benets responsible
for the uniqueness of the retailer's positioning. Given the asymmetry between retailers approach and consumer's
one, the second part is focused on a particular aspect of the functional benet: closeness in retailing. Then, an
entropy measurement in a French context from two large samples of 1576 hypermarkets and 1473 grocery
pickups are conducted. Results show that grocery pickup locations fulll this sine qua non successful condition.
Nevertheless, it is made evidence that this new channel is most of the time developed in overstored areas.

1. Introduction France, Auchan Group started with a dedicated subsidiary called

Chronodrive in 2004 and Centres distributeurs E. Leclerc (called Leclerc
Retailing expansion throughout the world is probably one of the below) followed in 2007 by adding grocery pickups to their hy-
main economic features of the second part of the 20th century and permarkets opening then a new marketing channel. Today, more than
today retailers are among the largest companies in the world, over- ten years after the rst opening, France registers more than 3632 gro-
taking former huge manufacturers. Founded in 1962, Walmart has more cery pickups, which means nearly twice as many as hypermarkets.
than 11,000 stores in 30 countries around the world and reached a This grocery pickup system, called drive by French retailers,
turnover of more than US$ 482 billion during the scal year 2015. The corresponds to a retail format evolution based on Internet burst in retail
networking, or reticulation, of these retail companies has shifted retail sectors and the development of multi-channel distribution networks.
management from very local concerns to true regional, national, and With this Internet grocery shopping model, consumers can shop
even international issues, and network spatial management is now a big whenever and wherever they want. In France, this new system can
stake for these companies (Cliquet, 1998). Internet is now upsetting account for 30% of the growth of a retailer: it appears as a real internal
retailers strategies even in the grocery sector forcing them to propose growth potential for networks. In the US, Walmart develops this new
this new channel and to respond to pure players like Amazon settling channel and expands grocery pickups to 23 markets1 and new locations
physical stores or buying brick and mortar retail chain (Whole Foods). are planned. However, brick and mortar retailers have to fulll certain
Hypermarkets display a retail system designed to let consumers conditions to successfully become multichannel retailers (Agnihotri,
buying whatever product in a minimum of time through an in-store self- 2015).
service organization in a big boxes. The development of Internet sales Grocery pickup is a way, on the one hand, to response to consumers
has enforced retailers to envisage specic systems to mix both in-store new buying modes (Beck and Rygl, 2015), and on the other hand, to
sales and Internet sales. French hypermarkets companies, following UK compete with pure player retailers and now with Amazon one-hour
examples like Tesco, decided to open grocery pickups as it is called in deliveries (and even half an hour in Paris and London according to
the U.S. These grocery pickups allow their customers to order and pay Amazon's website). For instance in the US, Walmart grocery pickup
on Internet and then to drive to a specic station located either close to system represents a way to conquer new territories such as mid-size
an existing store or to a contender's one to collect their products. In markets where home delivery is more challenging and neglected by

Corresponding author.
E-mail address: (D. Vyt).
Source: Springer J. (2016, April). Walmart expanding grocery pickup, Supermarket news.
Received 2 April 2017; Received in revised form 17 July 2017; Accepted 2 August 2017
0969-6989/ 2017 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
D. Vyt et al. Journal of Retailing and Consumer Services 39 (2017) 145153

pure players. In this multichannel shopping context, retailers may retailing wheel (McNair, 1958), but simply an evolution of the store
question the location of their grocery pickups, and more generally itself by completing its range of services to consumers.
speaking, the spatial consistency of their network. This research in-
vestigates, on the one hand, customers attraction in order to see
whether grocery pickups bring any real value, and on the other hand, 2.2. Grocery pickup in a multichannel strategy
the importance of the spatial dimension in retail networks management
by focusing on grocery pick-ups and wonders whether they are eective The grocery pickup system stems from the idea by ROBO (Research
tools to fulll closeness in retailing and to optimize their territorial Online Buying Oine) or ROPO (Research Online Purchase Oine)
coverage. (Kalyanam and Tsay, 2013). Despite some high-quality syntheses of the
This article is structured as follows. The rst section presents some literature on multichannel (Doherty and Ellis-Chadwick, 2010; Kent
theoretical background to better understand how a grocery pickup and Gear, 2017), interrelationships between channels are still ques-
stands in the retailing evolution. Then, it deals with consumers benets tionable. Are grocery pickups a utilitarian channel, or is it a perfect
(functional, experiential and relational) and the future of grocery substitute for traditional brick and mortar store? Online and oine
pickups for retailers through interviews with experts. Given the asym- channels are undeniably very connected whether is loyalty or sa-
metry between retailers approach and consumer's one (Schultz et al., tisfaction to a retailer (Wallace et al., 2004; Byoungho et al., 2010). For
2016), the second part is focuses on a particular aspect of the functional example, using brand extension theory in a Chinese bank context, Yang
benet: closeness in retailing. Indeed recent research in the grocery et al. (2013) demonstrated that online channel adoption is linked to
pickup led made evidence that geographical closeness is the rst se- oine channel service quality.
lection criteria for customers. The question is: can the spatial devel- A multichannel strategy encounters many disadvantages and the
opment of grocery pickup increase retailer's territory coverage? So, the multiplication of channels does not necessarily imply an increase in the
second section questions retail spatial strategies by mobilizing the re- number of customers (Rosenbloom, 2007). If the size of the potential
lative entropy measurement. Results of the third section show evidence market stagnates, the addition of a new channel entails additional costs
that the grocery pickups do not represent any competitive advantage for the brand and therefore a decline in protability (Van Baal and
for retail network spatial strategies. Finally, the discussion of the Dach, 2005). Worse, researches have denounced a possible cannibali-
ndings is presented, including implications, limitations and research zation between channels (Rosenbloom, 2007; Seck, 2010; Colla and
perspectives. Lapoule, 2012, 2015).
Another stream of research shows that multichannel strategies
create opportunities for synergies across channels (Verhoef et al., 2007;
2. Grocery pickups value: customers benets in question Zhang et al., 2010). Wallace et al. (2004) demonstrate that channel
complementarity increases the satisfaction of the shopper, thus leading
2.1. Grocery pickup implementation him to be more loyal to the store chain. It seems that the relationships
between the channels also depend on the life cycle of each sale mode.
Argos, a UK retailer and a subsidiary of Home Retail Group, with 809 Indeed, Fornari et al. (2016) studied the impact of stores opening for an
shops in 571 towns in the UK and in Ireland,2 was the rst to open a initial pure retailer and made evidence that initial cannibalization ul-
grocery pickup in early 2000. In the food retail sector, Tesco was the timately turns into positive synergies between the channels. Kollmann
pioneer and the rst to be really successful (Colla and Lapoule, 2012). et al. (2012) analyzed the multichannel system from the consumers
Then the French Groupe Auchan launched Chronodrive in 2004. This point of view and concluded that cannibalization and synergetic eects
system is composed of a two-step process: 1) the consumer visits a retail between channels depend on customers and their channel switching
website to browse, buy and pay for selected products; 2) the consumer propensity.
drives to the store or to any place where products can be picked up, Recent research in the eld of grocery pickup shows that the pur-
unlike cybermarkets which are based on a home delivery system. The pose of this grocery pickup is to consolidate the service relationship
consumer delegates to the retailer the task of preparing his order: established by the company with the customer (Douard et al., 2015; Vyt
grocery retailing has switched from self-service to free service. et al., 2017). This channel is perceived as a complementary service and
A pickup point can be either located close to a store or isolated from tends to make the customers more loyal.
any store in the same chain. In the rst case, customers using the Regarding multichannel retail mix harmonization, grocery pickups
Internet order their products and pay for them and drive to the store do not respect the usual practices of multi-channel retailers in terms of
where the service is available to pick them up at least two hours after assortment. While most multichannel retailers use online shopping to
theyve ordered. This is called a drive-in system. Order picking operates complement the oine oer of brick and mortar stores (Zhang et al.,
from stores that have the products at hand. In the second case, called 2010), grocery pickups oer a narrower and shallower assortment than
drive-out, there is no physical store, but only warehouses serving as traditional hypermarkets or supermarkets. That is to say that grocery
collecting points. This expansion strategy is mainly used in an oensive pickups propose few goods categories and a limited assortment in each
conquest of a territory (Marouseau, 2013). The drive-in consists of lo- category. The assortment of a grocery pickup is three times less than
cating a near point of sale, a bonded warehouse and order picking. In that of a supermarket and nearly six times that of a hypermarket.3
this context, the retailer implements here a defensive stance (Colla and Fig. 1 shows that the business model is barely fteen years old and
Lapoule, 2012) without any real motivation to conquer territories; it has already 3325 units that cover the French territory. Despite its re-
rather seeks to maintain its position in a given geographic area. cency, this Internet grocery shopping model has every year more and
Grocery pickup prices are either similar to stores or sometimes even more consumers: more than 6 million households used grocery pickups
lower in order to attract new customers. This free service corresponds in France in 2016. This development model now captures around 5.5%4
to the current consumption patterns of consumers who show little market share of consumer products, with an average basket of around
willingness to pay for grocery deliveries (Goethals et al., 2012; Hbner 68 euros to be compared with 43 euros in hypermarkets and 31 in
et al., 2016). And Tesco decided in 2016 to cancel the surcharge on supermarkets.5
"click & collect" orders for sales under 35 euros via the Tesco Direct Concerning data, interrelationships between channels are complex.
website. The grocery pickup is probably not a true evolution of the
Source: Nielsen Scantrack, 4 juillet 2017.
2 4 and Source: Kantar WordlPanel, Distribook, Fvrier 2017.
stores/servlet/ArgosStoreLocatorMainMobile?langId=110&storeId=10151. Source: Nielsen homescan & scantrack, 4 juillet 2017.

D. Vyt et al. Journal of Retailing and Consumer Services 39 (2017) 145153

According to Keller (1993), Functional benets are the more intrinsic

advantages of service consumption and usually correspond to the tangibles
attributes. These benets are often linked to fairly basic motivations (p. 4).
This need is expressed concretely through the purchase of low in-
volvement products, especially grocery items such as water, milk,
laundry soap, canned products. Thus, in 2016, the grocery pickups re-
present 8.8% of poultry meat sales, and 7% reading plain water.6
Mevel and Morvan (2015) add that functional benets play a more
important role than other benets when the grocery pickups is new
(customers do not have a long experience with the channel). The sa-
tisfaction of functional benets is neither perceived nor conscious to the
consumer, leading to "basic requirements," being easily imitable.
However, based on our in-depth interviews, retailers have to remain
Fig. 1. Number of Grocery Pick-Up Stations in France. Source: Drive Insights, 2016.
vigilant in two aspects: the choice and stock-outs of their grocery
pickup stations.
Indeed, Carrefour which is not very present on the grocery pickup Grocery pickups assortments are extensive. They provide a huge
channel, is still the number one food retailer in France in 2016, but quantity of products (not only food items but also non-food products) in
encounters a decline of 0.5 points whereas Leclerc, the number one on a huge quantity of categories in order to satisfy the functional needs of
the grocery pick up channel in terms of stations and penetration rate, consumers. For instance, in France, Cora has the most important as-
increases its global market share (online and oine) buy 0.4 point. sortment with 31,961 SKUs7 on average for its drive-in system, and in
Even if the territorial development of the grocery pickups seems to the US, Walmart grocery pick-up has 30,000 SKUs.8 In this case, tra-
inuence the performance of the networks, it is dicult to establish a ditional stores provide the infrastructure to accommodate this shopping
causal link whether there is a cannibalization process or a real com- mode.
plementarity. However, retailers are aware that it is possible to have a more
limited choice, particularly in terms of solitary stations (70008000
3. Grocery pickups and consumers benets SKUs on average) even if they aim at satisfying daily needs: The choice
is ok. It is less than in hypermarket, but it meets all the necessary units
A literature review about customers benets reveals sources of the conrms a network manager. Thus, all retailers increased their on-line
value creation. This framework is reinforced by an exploratory research assortment: + 21% for the drives-out of Casino and even + 21% for the
revealing current managerial practices towards grocery pickups custo- solitary stations of the Carrefour.
mers. Hence, improvements emerge to maximize this value creation. Even though it does not create any value, stock-outs can damage the
Our exploratory study was based on in-depth interviews with gro- click and collect in the same way as traditional outlets where the re-
cery pickup managers and network managers. Experts interviews are peated lack of a branded product will cause dissatisfaction, leading to a
recommended in this research because of the absence of theory speci- store change (Campo et al., 2000; Connan-Ghesquire, 2011). We dont
cally dedicated to this phenomenon and to reveal its critical aspects. have all the products at the same time due to stock-outs. The stock-out rate is
The interview guide was structured around the three theoretical con- not explosive, but when there are stock-outs it is more apparent than in
sumer benets: functional, experiential and symbolic (Keller, 1993). hypermarkets (from an in-depth interview with a grocery pickup
Once a retail format reaches maturity, benets from functional ex- manager). Grocery pick-ups must therefore ensure that they oer a
pectations to the consumer are insucient. They become basic re- complete assortment to satisfy functional benets and to ensure repeat
quirements, not ones creating value. Thus, a study of all expected purchases (Fernie et al., 2010).
consumer benets, functional, experiential and symbolic or relational More than functional benets, consumers can nd experiential and
(more adapted to a specic service perspective) is interesting. relational benets. By satisfying these benets, retailers ensure a dif-
ferentiated and unique image (Keller, 1993), dicult for competitors to
3.1. Functional benets imitate, therefore creating signicant value.

Functional benets have already emerged from the grocery pickup,

as it relieves consumer purchasing constraints like time pressure, for 3.2. Experiential benets
instance (Colla and Lapoule, 2012). Retailers are well aware of the is-
sues of the grocery pickup's practicality as an explanation for the According to Keller (1993), experiential benets provide a sensory
growth of this new channel. According to a grocery pickup network pleasure or cognitive stimulation and are part of the hedonic con-
manager, grocery pickup is ideal in terms of convenience for time-saving sumption of the customer. Holbrook and Hirschman (1982) state that
and shopping convenience. No longer carries four times the products". In- this experiential perspective is phenomenological in spirit and regards
deed, usually the consumer manipulates products between the point of consumption as a primarily subjective state of consciousness with a
sale and his home. He takes the products in shelves, places them in his variety of symbolic meanings, hedonic responses, and aesthetic criteria
basket and then releases them during the checkout control. Then he (p. 132).
puts them back in his basket before nally putting them in the trunk of Filser (2002) and Dupuis and Le Jean (2004) add to the knowledge
his car. of generating experience. Filser, in 2002, oered a synthesis of various
Retailers eorts to reduce time of preparation and removal illus- past contributions dedicated to experiential marketing. These two
trate the response to this functional need. In most cases, delivery time is major contributions (Dupuis and Le Jean, 2004; Filser, 2002) show that
reduced from two hours to thirty minutes. Retailers can go even further marketing oriented to an experiential dimension generates creative
when competitive issues are at stake. This is a way to counteract a solutions, original and additional opportunities untested by retailers.
competitor by reducing delivery times to zero, especially a when a brick Based on their qualitative research, Colla and Lapoule (2012) reveal
and mortar seller develops a grocery pickup service: Delivery time is
reduced to zero in some grocery pick-ups especially in the oensive ones. 6
Source: Iri, Distribook, February 2017.
This is our competitive advantage over picking drive-ins. That's how you kill 7
Source: Drive Insight, Distribook, February 2017.
a Carrefour drive (from a grocery pickup manager in-depth interview). Source:

D. Vyt et al. Journal of Retailing and Consumer Services 39 (2017) 145153

that many consumers said they would like easier-to-use, more intuitive to listen to him; to explain and to nd a positive solution (from an in-depth
navigation (p. 854). The design and the ergonomics of the website interview with a grocery pickup manager).
have to have a high level of quality to play a key role in the grocery To conclude, the corporate dimension can create the highest value
pickup's success. In this way, we can imagine that it would begin by for customers, because personality and trust towards the retailer cannot
taking orders from the Internet, through exciting navigation and re- be imitated by others; however, retailers cannot increase customer
dened e-merchandising, and would continue up to the point where the value without satisfying functional expectations rst. This approach is
goods are replaced (by new additional services). In the case of grocery in line with the ndings of Shamim et al. (2016) the corporate brand
pickups, the presence of tablets generates an additional service that experience plays an important role in positive customer behaviors. One
makes the delivery immediate: Some stations are equipped with a tablet way of dealing with these problems of productivity and protability
at the reception. It's possible to order some last minute products. The fu- could be to wait for some closings. In retail groups like Leclerc, Inter-
ture objective is to improve the experience lived on the station by adding march or Systme U, which are retail cooperatives, members could
music, interactive terminals, for instance. We are thinking of enriching the decide one day to end the grocery pickup experience if there is an ab-
physical collect point by exposing non-food products to create a specic sence of appropriate customers, as Picot-Coupey et al. (2009) high-
atmosphere; making pancakes and tastings to animate more for instance; we lighted in their study.
are thinking also of extending services on the collect point by providing a The creation of value is so far analyzed from the viewpoint of the
deli, bakery, steakhouse Adding new services (from an in-depth inter- retailers. However, recent research shows that there are huge dier-
view with a pickup point manager). ences between retailer's sense giving and consumers sense making
In addition, retailers work on the aesthetic dimension of physical (Schultz et al., 2016). So, previous researches made evidence that an
collection points. This topic largely concerns managers today, as stated important element for consumers in their decision to visit or not a re-
by a network manager: The appearance is not terrible. We're in a ware- tailer remains spatial closeness (Bergadaa and Del Bucchia 2009,
house. Sometimes it's creepy. There is nothing around. We have to work on Schultz et al., 2016). Especially, regarding grocery pickup, spatial clo-
the experiential. Our eorts will have to be concentrated on this variable; it is seness appears to be the rst criteria choice for customers (Mevel and
clearly our future priority (from an in-depth interview with a grocery Morvan, 2015; Vyt et al., 2017). Hence, the second part of this research
pick-up manager). This comment joins the qualitative results of Colla focuses on this specic aspect of the functional benets and wonders if
and Lapoule (2012) concerning the importance of the geographical area the introduction of grocery pickups may increase territory coverage to
as a key factor of the grocery pickup's success. satisfy this functional need.
More than experiential benets, relational benets lead to sustain-
able relationships between customers and retailers. They emerge from 4. The spatial strategy as a determinant of grocery value
the retailer side, specically a higher consumer condence.
By developing the grocery pickup on the whole territory, retailers
3.3. Relational benets multiply the points of contact with their customers. They now have the
choice in the same area between a traditional store and a pickup point.
All research focuses on the relationship marketing conrmation that The location of these grocery pickups therefore represents a denite
condence is a mediating concept of the relationship between the competitive advantage in terms of choice made by the consumer. Since
consumer and the brand (Frisou, 2000; Gurviez and Korchia, 2002; the new network can become a determining lever in the optimization
Sirieix and Dubois, 1999). The concept of trust in the relational para- strategy of the territorial network, the second part of this research
digm, gives the brand a central role (or the retailer), since the consumer consists in measuring if grocery pickups improve global territory cov-
relies on it to reduce uncertainty and make decisions. Gurviez and erage of French retail chains. This seems to be the sine qua non to
Korchia (2002) provide a clear and concise reading of the concept. develop functional benets from the consumer points of view.
Brand condence can be dened as a psychological variable that re-
ects a set of accumulated presumptions about the credibility, integrity 4.1. Territory coverage as a retail spatial strategy
and goodwill that the consumer attributes to the brand. In grocery
pickup, consumers are connected to the brand and the product and their Spatial strategies suer from a dearth of research in marketing and
opinion of the brand can be expressed in many ways, as explained by a retailing literature if we except useful but old and rather descriptive
network manager: On the website, consumers can request a product they studies (Laulajainen, 1987) or methodological approaches (Ghosh and
want to see in the assortment. In addition, there are suggestion boxes to rate Craig, 1991; Ghosh and McLaerty, 1987).
the reception of the stations. Finally, it is possible to write directly to the When a territory is more or less saturated or when opening new
stations; we answer all emails. stores is impeded by law, as is the case in many European countries like
Note that the measure of this concept is dicult because consumers France, the temptation is strong to develop a new format and to use it to
use their past experiences to infer beliefs and future behaviors (Gurviez increase presence in the market and, hence, territory coverage.
and Korchia, 2002). In other words, trust is both a cause and a con- Grocery pickups benet from network image as well as logistics and
sequence of the created value. massive purchases (Cliquet, 1998; Cliquet and Guillo, 2013; Colla,
Based on this brand condence work, we propose dening retailer 2003). As studied before, several spatial development strategies of
condence as a psychological variable that reects a set of accumulated networks do exist. In order to benet from positive synergies with the
presumptions about the credibility, integrity and goodwill that the store network, new grocery pickups are located close to one another,
consumer assigns to the retailer. The rm works trust through re- that is to say, close to a traditional store under the same banner fol-
assurance to develop a more human image of the station. We need to lowing then the former location strategy of the retail network which
permanently animate collection points. We need a deliveryman, especially entails a real disparity in the location of grocery pickups in France as
during rush hours, to represent the quality of the group. It is not developed shown in Fig. 2. Therefore, a rst hypothesis is proposed:
enough. That's to say reinsurance during the waiting time. The relation
H1. Grocery pickups improve global territory coverage of French retail
with customers and their condence towards us are more intense than in
hypermarkets. We try to personalize the relation with a customer by taking
into account his personal requirements for instance, one of our customers Fig. 2 shows that grocery pickups are mainly located in the western
demands green bananas; another wants [their products] to be delivered in a part of France. Thus, the density of grocery pickups per capita high-
box (instead of bags). We save these specic needs to satisfy customers all lights this disparity. In the East of France grocery pickups density is
the time. In the case of problems, we take time to personally call the customer very low: Alsace has one grocery pickup for 35,604 inhabitants and

D. Vyt et al. Journal of Retailing and Consumer Services 39 (2017) 145153

Fig. 2. Food Drives in France. Source: Authors, made with data

from LSA expert, 2016.

Fig. 3. Drives-out Leclerc. Source: Made by authors with data from LSA Expert

Lorraine one for 31,364 inhabitants whereas in the West of France, explains it (1929), competing networks are structured in relation to one
Brittany is the densest region with a grocery pickup for 12,252 in- another. The relationship with competitors in twofold: either by
habitants. As shown in Fig. 3, the Leclerc has initially concentrated avoiding or confronting one another. Fig. 3 shows that Leclerc grocery
deployment of its grocery pickups in the Britany, where its commercial pickups are also widely distributed in northern France, the historic
density in terms of hypermarkets is the strongest. Indeed, in this region, stronghold of competitor Auchan. This is a direct confrontation strategy
the historic center of the group, Leclerc owns more than 29% of the with competitors. In a symmetric way, the Auchan uses drive out gro-
hypermarkets and 85% of Brittany grocery pickups are under the Leclerc cery pickup to conquer new territories. For example, since the Group
banner. was not allowed by competition authorities to open stores in Brittany, it
What about location strategies vis--vis competition? As Hotelling opened four drive out grocery pickups under the banner Chronodrive.

D. Vyt et al. Journal of Retailing and Consumer Services 39 (2017) 145153

Auchan group territorial network is therefore judicious since it com- Table 2

bines several spatial strategies enabling it to establish a position of French retailers grocery pickup database.
leader in its territory of origin which is the North of France while
Name of Number of Territory Number of Territory
conquering new ones, the West in particular. This is a very local ex- hypermarkets drive-in coverage of drive-out coverage of
ample. Hence, hypothesis two states: chains drive-in drive-out

H2. Grocery pickups improve territory coverage of French retail chains Carrefour 221 0.91 14 0.53
in specic regions Leclerc 225 0.898 342 0.9246
Hyper U 307 0831 3 0241
It is worth noting the great disparity in the development of grocery Cora 58 0719 0 0
pickups throughout the French territory. At a whole country level, is Auchan 62 0733 61 0688
this strategy sustainable? Can grocery pickups improve territorial cov- Gant/casino 98 0856 12 0546
Intermarch 68 0799 2 0152
erage of a hypermarket chain?
Total 1039 434

4.2. Methodology and data

network and weighs only 3.68% of the channel. These retail companies
4.2.1. Relative entropy measurement have various organizational forms: public companies (Carrefour, Casino,
A method of territorial coverage measurement based on relative Cora), family company (Auchan), cooperatives or retailers association
entropy evaluates the gain in spatial value whenever a retail network (Intermarch, Leclerc, Systme U).
intends to acquire another chain (Cliquet, 1998). It also explains All retailers do not have the same strategy regarding the develop-
longitudinally (over time and depending on the network life cycle ment of the grocery pickup. Thus, Cora does not develop the drives-out,
phase) how the spatial strategies of the network change (Cliquet, 2000). while each of its hypermarkets provides the infrastructure to have a
The relative entropy measures the spatial dispersion as follows. drive-in. In the same vein, the company Intermarch outts nearly 75%
of its hypermarkets with a drive-in so that there are only two drive-outs.
k Carrefour and System U companies are also part of this trend and focus
E = fi. Log (fi) on the drives-in. Conversely, Leclerc has more drives-out than drives-in.

Where E = entropy; k = number of geographical areas; ni = number of 5. Results: Territory coverage measurement of grocery pickups in
stores in the i area; fi = store frequency in an area (fi = ni/N); N = France
number of stores.
We can then measure relative entropy as follows: 5.1. Grocery pickups development and global territory coverage
Relative entropy = = E / Log k ,
Table 2 provides the number of grocery pickups, drives-in and
The use of the relative system allows a measure calculated in the drives-out, in 2016 and their territorial coverage, measured by relative
interval [0, 1] and allows simpler comparisons with competing net- entropy. The entropy enables to measure the spatial dispersion of a
works (Cliquet, 1998). The closer it is to 1, the better the territorial population, here of the French retail networks. The more spatially
coverage is. dispersed a population is, the greater the entropy is. The French d-
partement will be the geographical reference area. More specically,
4.2.2. Data on French grocery pickups we used the 94 dpartements in Metropolitan France (excluding
The study focuses on French grocery pickups and studies if this Corsica).
Internet grocery shopping model is an eective tool for enabling hy- The network of 342 drive-outs of the Leclerc is located in 84 de-
permarket networks to optimize their territorial coverage. Can grocery partments of metropolitan France out of a total of 94 departments. In
pickups be useful to conquer yet uncovered areas? The propositions are the department of Meuse, there is one Leclerc drive-out, hence a fre-
tested in a hypermarket setting. According to INSEE (French National quency of 0.0029 and a log value of 0.0074. In the department
Institute for Statistics), in France, the ocial denition of a hy- of the Finistre, there are 14 Leclerc drives-out, hence a frequency of
permarket is the following: a self-service retail store deriving less than 0.0409 and a value for log of 0.0568. We have done all these
three-quarter of its sales from food and having a sales oor area of calculations for each department and obtained an entropy value of
25,000 square feet or more. This article uses real data as shown in 1.8244 and a relative entropy value of RE = 0.9246. Then we did this
Table 1. for each group, for drives-in and drives-out. Table 2 shows that even
The sample consists of 1576 hypermarkets; all belonging to the with less drives-in units Gant Casino has a greater territorial coverage
seven largest retail network in the French territory. Although Carrefour than the System U. If we focus only on drive-outs, Leclerc has the highest
is the leading retailer in Europe, it has 309 hypermarkets in France, entropy with a value of 0.9246. Cora chose not to develop drive-outs
compared with 530 for the Leclerc. Cora hypermarkets represent a small which explains an entropy equal to zero for this channel. Table 3
quanties the exact contribution of drive-outs to the territorial
Table 1
French Hypermarkets Database. Table 3
French retailer coverage.
Name of Number of % of cluster
hypermarkets chains hypermarkets Terrirory coverage: Territory coverage:
hypermarkets hypermarkets + drive-out
Carrefour 309 19.60
Leclerc 530 33.63 Carrefour 0.923 0.920
Hyper U 345 21.89 Leclerc 0.950 0.949
Cora 58 3.68 Hyper U 0,846 0,847
Auchan 135 8.56 Cora 0,719 0,719
Gant/Casino 108 6.85 Auchan 0,840 0,843
Intermarch 91 5.77 Gant/casino 0,869 0,874
Total 1576 100 Intermarch 0,815 0,818

D. Vyt et al. Journal of Retailing and Consumer Services 39 (2017) 145153

coverage of networks. Two measures are analyzed simultaneously: the as a tool for conquering new territories, in particular the North, terri-
territorial coverage of hypermarkets and then that of the hypermarket tory of origin of its competitor Auchan. In the same vein when removing
and drive-out networks. The objective here is to evaluate the con- the drives out of the Auchan in the "New Auquitaine" region, the relative
tribution of drives-out in the group coverage. entropy decreased from 0.843 to 8.03. This simulation reects a sig-
We can see that most hypermarket networks show a very good nicant deterioration in its territorial coverage.
coverage of the French territory. Thus, the 225 Leclerc hypermarkets Moreover, the results show a signicant deterioration in the terri-
cover homogeneously the country, which explains its relative entropy torial coverage of certain networks if the drives-out are withdrawn of
of 0.950. Only Cora has a lower entropy of 0.719 due to the high their region of origin. Thus, the relative entropy of the Leclerc passes
concentration of hypermarkets in eastern France. It means that this from 0.949 to 0.924 if one removes the drives out of Brittany (territory
retail network is absent from several departments and that its territorial of origin of the retailer). In the same vein, the relative entropy of the
network has several "holes". In a purpose of territory coverage optimi- Auchan decreases from 0.843 to 0.814 if one removes the drives-out
zation, grocery pickups allow Auchan (Auchan drive, the drive-ins, and located in the region Hauts de France. In this context, retailers are in
Chronodrive, the drive-outs of the group) to increase its relative entropy. a defensive logic (Colla and Lapoule, 2011), with no real motivation to
The single presence of hypermarkets confers relative entropy of 0.840 conquer territories. They aim to maintain their dominant position over
whereas this measure reaches 0.843 when drives-out are added. a given geographical region. The territorial networks of the Auchan and
Regarding Leclerc, the French retailer with the largest number of gro- Leclerc are therefore judicious since they combine several spatial stra-
cery pickups, the relative entropy slightly decreases regarding the lo- tegies enabling it to establish a leading position in their respective
cation of the drives-out and hypermarkets. It means that drives-out are territory of origin while conquering new ones.
located in the same dpartements as traditional hypermarkets and The individual territory coverage of the retailers can change in
increase concentration. Carrefour faces the same situation. This shows specic cases, when solitary stations are withdrawn of specic regions.
evidence that retailers develop grocery pickups in areas where they are The individual relative entropies are partially consistent with hypoth-
traditionally present in order to strengthen local positions. esis 2. In other words, grocery pickups partially improve territory
Finally, no signicant change occurs between relative entropy when coverage of French retail chains in specic regions.
considering only hypermarkets and relative entropy when hy-
permarkets and drive-outs are included. For all retailers, contrary to the 6. Discussion
prediction of H1, solitary grocery pickup stations openings have not
signicantly improved territory coverage in the French territory. H 1 is 6.1. Theoretical implications
not supported.
Based on a literature review and in-depth interviews, conditions for
5.2. Grocery pickups development and territory coverage in specic regions a successful grocery pickup that benet consumers are identied. More
precisely, customers experiential benets are key factors. Retailers
Since it is made evidence that grocery pickups are not deployed in have to innovate when it comes to customers sensory pleasure and
strategic locations to improve retail chain global territory coverage, cognitive stimulation to provide customers with an exciting and easy
what about a more micro-level analysis at the regional level? In other shopping experience, leading to a unique positioning of their pickup
words, can grocery pickups be used as a tool to conquer specic re- stations. Websites and all features in physical areas are concerned with
gions? To verify H2 we still use relative entropy. providing customer satisfaction. Retailers have to maintain relational
Table 4 show relative entropy of the global network: stores and eorts to ensure customers sustainable condence towards them, in-
solitary stations (drives-out). It simulates territorial coverage without cluding, at a local level, intensive human contact between the sta and
drives-out in each of the twelves French regions. This means to making customers and corporate brand communication at a strategic level. The
simulations with a hypothetical value of zero concerning the number of corporate dimension plays a signicant role in value co-creation ac-
drive-out, region by region basis. For example, Intermarch Group has tivities, as measured by Shamim et al. (2016).
no solitary stations in Britany and Normandy, so it has the same relative Based on an exploratory approach with experts, this research pro-
entropy as the network as a whole. In the same vein, there is no Car- vides the necessary theoretical background to conduct later exploratory
refour drive-out in the "center" region or in the "Grand Est" region, and conrmatory analyses in order to measure customers perceptions
which explains why the relative entropy without drive is identical. and to nally identify precisely key components of the value creation.
The relative entropy of the Leclerc network as a whole (hy-
permarkets + drives-out) is 0.949. This retailer has 34 drives-out in the 6.2. Managerial implications
"Hauts de France" region (i.e. northern France). Hence big entropy
change when we simulate no drive-out in the specic region. Indeed, This paper shows that retailers are too often using grocery pickups
relative entropy falls to 0.921. This shows that retailers use drives-out as tactical tools to hinder local contenders activity. More positively, it

Table 4
Territory coverage of French retail chains without specic regions.

Name of the Relative Relative entropy without specic regions

chain entropy of
the Bretagne Normandie Center Auvergne Bourgogne Ile de Hauts de PACA Occitanie Nouvelle Grand Est Pays
network Val de Rhne Franche France France aquitaine de la
(HM+ Loire Alpes Comt Loire

Carrefour 0.920 0.918 0.920 0.920 0.915 0.920 0.911 0.919 0.918 0.920 0.918 0.920 0.920
Leclerc 0.949 0.924 0.917 0.930 0,919 0.935 0.925 0.921 0.935 0.948 0.918 0.923 0.931
Systme U 0.847 0.846 0.847 0.847 0,845 0.847 0.847 0.847 0.844 0.847 0.847 0.847 0.847
Auchan 0.843 0.827 0.829 0.836 0.830 0.843 0.816 0.814 0.821 0.833 0.803 0.837 0.840
Gant Casino 0.874 0.870 0.874 0.874 0.863 0.874 0.850 0.874 0.865 0.865 0.874 0.874
Intermarch 0.818 0.818 0.818 0.818 0.818 0.818 0.807 0.813 0.818 0.818 0.818 0.818 0.818

D. Vyt et al. Journal of Retailing and Consumer Services 39 (2017) 145153

enables to understand how retailers could improve the value creation of service (highest service to customers) compared to the grocery pickup
their new formula. Based on the customer literature review and experts service; 2) the increase of fresh products available from the grocery
interviews, this research provides future potential positioning axes to pickup range. And Amazon bought recently Whole Foods, a US grocery
develop a unique image leading to create a sustainable relationship retail chain specialized in organic product.
with customers. It provides a theoretical framework to consider the
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