METRO Helps to Provide Retailers with new Possibilities
How METRO supports small and independent retailers with a customized online shop
36,5 billion € annual turnover
Based in 36 countries
~2.000 IT Specialists
METRO is a leading international specialist in the wholesale and food trading industry – a business sector in which IT rather used to have a support function for the classic B2B wholesale business.
At METRO, however, the use of omnichannel is already a significant part of the corporate strategy. The main focus of METRONOM, the wholesaler’s tech-unit, is the digitization of B2B commerce. The overarching objective is to create the right technical conditions for digital transformation.
METRO primarily serves the following three groups ofcustomers:
traders (small, independent retailers, for METRO mainly based in Eastern Europe).
In order to optimize the customer centricity and promote customer loyalty, digital services must adapt to each group of customers, their location and individual needs:
For example, one restaurant might not necessarily pay the same price for flour as another. Depending on factors such as the purchase quantity, customers have an individual price model. However, in order to collect and evaluate such data, it must be possible to map the ongoing personal communication with the customer and a large amount of data in the group's digital tools. METRO itself has the credo of developing their own system components that promise a competitive advantage.
An app as a navigator for the customer
METRO AG focuses on the omnichannel approach in order to make customer purchases as fast and efficient as possible. This is where analog shopping merges with digital components. Using a currently piloted app, customers can be navigated through the very large stationary store to help them quickly find their desired products. The focus is clearly on comfort for the customer.
Internationalization made easy
As METRO is represented in numerous countries, many different customer requirements come into play. Therefore, METRO is using the API-first approach:
"We use the Spryker solution as a front-end tool and connect it to our back-end systems via our APIs. The motivation for this cooperation was to amplify our technology, to scale faster and to provide our customers with this diversified range of functions."
- Timo Salzsieder, CIO/CSO at METRO AG and CEO at METRONOM
This is why METRO and Spryker teamed up to launch a second shop with a different set of functions that is rather aimed at small retailers, the so-called traders.
"We launched the trader shop as a pilot in Romania – other countries are yet to follow. We chose Spryker as a partner because good scalability of the online shop was very important to us from the very beginning."
- Timo Salzsieder, CIO/CSO at METRO AG and CEO at METRONOM
The trader shops’ concept is based on a standardized back-end. The APIs enable shops to be accessed internationally on a 1:1 ratio and simultaneously allow for adaptations based on local needs. The so-called “Advanced Services” offer a high degree of flexibility. Thus, the API-based back-end makes it possible to be modified if a country’s needs change or in case they do not comply with the Corporate Standard or Advanced Services.
Topics such as new touch points, alternative front-ends, integrations and open developer programs are essential. Spryker offers a REST-API called Glue API, a separate layer of the Spryker Commerce OS that enables data exchange on various systems, especially web services. This is also METRO’s starting point for the configuration of various touch points. It serves as an easily accessible source of information for all international and external stakeholders.
The Spryker Glue API simplifies the implementation of various contact points. These touch points are available in alternative front-ends that use Software Development Kits (SDKs) such as Progressive Web Apps. With the Spryker Glue API, METRO can collect relevant data from individual use cases and optimize business processes accordingly.
Technical Implementation With the Spryker B2B-Suite
In the HoReCa industry, B2B buyers primarily search online for prices and offers before making a purchase decision. A large majority of them prefer a B2C-like online shopping experience with a user-friendly experience and customer focus. Under this premise, the Spryker B2B Suite serves as the foundation for the METRO Trader Shop. The following Spryker features have simplified ordering processes in the Trader Shops:
Company Account Management
The customers of the Trader Shop have other requirements than B2C end customers. This includes ordering processes, authorizations and roles. The Spryker Commerce OS Corporate Account allows you to easily reflect hierarchical structures and roles. This allows B2B customers to accurately replicate the organization of their business as well as authorizations and permissions for budgets and purchasing processes.
With the Sales Assistant feature, sales or customer service employees can provide customers with optimal support in their purchasing process. In this special screen, the shop is displayed to the employee in the same way as the B2B customer perceives it. The agent is shown the relevant products, prices and discounts for the specific customer and can make purchases in the customer account. All purchases made in the Sales Assistant mode are also marked as such.
State Machine Modelling
Spryker State Machines support the METRONOM Trader-Shop in the definition, implementation and visualization of various processes in which certain activities are executed in a predefined order and automatic processes are triggered. These include, for example, order processes and the automated dispatch of an order after successful payment processing. The Spryker State Machine can be used in many places and adapted to individual needs.
A well-structured, individually adapted product catalogue enables the customers of the Trader Shops to have a positive and straightforward shopping experience. With the help of Spryker's Catalog Management, a clear product catalog could be created that meets the customer's requirements. Structures such as category trees can be defined and managed without great effort. Elements such as category filters can also be easily integrated with the Spryker Commerce OS.
Realizing the new Trader's Shops
Following strategic workshops and consulting, Inviqa helped B2B retailer METRO to define and prioritise a digital roadmap and implement its new trader shops.
With many years of experience implementing B2B platforms, Inviqa worked with the retailer to identify Spryker's flexible commerce OS, as the ideal frontend tool for the new trader shops.
Spryker enables the team to connect METRO-NOM’s various legacy systems via APIs, bringing flexibility and scale to the retailer’s core systems.
As a Platinum Partner, Inviqa has successfully implemented several projects using the Spryker Commerce OS.
METRO sets new Standards in the food Wholesale Industry
Transforming an analog business model, such as the wholesale industry, model into the digital world is not an easy task. METRO is combining an optimized customer centricity and a technology-oriented approach in order to support the digitization process. Particularly regarding traders, METRO is boosting internationalization using the right technology and is creating new possibilities for retailers for the wholesale of food trade.