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As part of their strategic relationship, Walmart and Rakuten have opened their first ecommerce store in Japan. We look at the model being used and implications for future expansion.

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Promotions and new hires within leadership team.

Chief business officer for Walmart India appointed

Following the departure of its chief operating officer, Walmart India has announced Sameer Aggarwal as its chief business officer. Aggarwal will now oversee strategy, merchandising, cost analytics, ecommerce, technology, marketing and replenishment for the retailer in India.

According to his LinkedIn profile, Aggarwal has worked previously for Yum! Brands in Thailand and Sainsbury’s in the UK. He joined Walmart India in April of this year as the executive vice-president, chief strategy and administrative officer. He will report to country CEO Krish Iyer.

In addition, the retailer has hired Anuj Singh as head of category merchandising. Singh brings with him more than 20 years of experience from Nestle, Philip Morris International and Hindustan Lever. He will lead merchandising programmes across all categories as well as private label development for Walmart India.

Movements in Flipkart’s management team

Flipkart’s chief executive officer, Kalyan Krishnamurthy, has also announced key appointments within its various departments. He has named key personnel to head up Flipkart’s grocery, appliance and smartphones business units.

These management changes should place both Walmart and Flipkart in a better position to compete in India’s grocery retail market

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France-based Casino has signed a deal with Natixis Payments and acquired online services start-up Stootie to expand the range of solutions met by its ecommerce subsidiary Cdiscount.

Deal signed with Natixis Payments…

The partnership will jointly develop an e-wallet and integrate Dalenys as payment service provider partner for Cdiscount. From 2019, Cdiscount users will be able to purchase goods in one click, without entering their bank details. They will also be able to choose to pay in full or in instalments and can receive cashback on purchases.

Natixis will provide e-wallet expertise through its S-money digital platform and Dalenys will help roll out the e-wallet. Cdiscount will benefit from Dalenys’ expertise ahead of the implementation of new online transaction security protocol 3DS 2.0, which is expected to be rolled out in 2019.

Casino’s head of strategy and digital transformation, Cyril Bourgois, said, “This move is part of our strategy to swiftly develop an extensive range of value-added services for our customers…this new wallet created with Natixis will offer Cdiscount’s millions of customers a secure and seamless payment experience as well as a range of new services”.

…as start-up Stootie is acquired

Cdiscount has acquired online services start-up Stootie for €720,000. Stootie was put into receivership in October following cash flow difficulties. The move followed a period of struggle for Stootie, which had been challenged to makes its business profitable. Stootie brought together a community of 150,000 ‘Stooters’ (people offering their services) who provided home improvement, troubleshooting and cleaning services, amongst others.

In 2017, Stootie and Cdiscount formed a commercial partnership where Cdiscount offered its users installation services, carried out by Stootie. Cdiscount will extend this partnership, provide expertise and implement cost synergies to strengthen Stootie’s development. The partnership echoes the step taken with incorporating Dalenys as a payment provider by helping Cdiscount build a diversified services platform.

China-based Alibaba has signed an agreement with the Belgium government to create an ecommerce trade hub. The agreement is part of Alibaba’s Electronic World Trade Platform (eWTP), of which Belgium is the first European country to join.

Logistics division Cainiao to invest €75m…

Alibaba’s logistics division, Cainiao, will initially invest €75m (US$85m) in the project, which will commence in 2021. It will also lease a 220,000 sq. m logistics port at Belgium’s Liege airport.

Commenting on the agreement, Alibaba’s CEO, Daniel Zhang, said, “We strongly believe that under the eWTP, we will open up the huge potential for European businesses to reap the benefits of global cross-border trade, especially into the China market”. Zhang has stated that Alibaba is aiming to help create the opportunity to generate US$200bn worth of imports to China over the next five years.

…to help reduce barriers for ecommerce

Alibaba’s eWTP aims to help reduce existing trade barriers for ecommerce trade between countries. This includes lowering or removing tariffs and improving the customs clearance process. The aim of the hubs is also to extend the reach of Alibaba’s other services, such as cloud computing, financing, logistics, and mobile payments. It has also been designed to “compliment” the World Trade Organisation.

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