Our cooperation with METRO Cash & Carry Ukraine started at the turn of 2017 and 2018. We received excellent references from MAKRO Cash & Carry ČR s.r.o. and METRO Cash & Carry SR s.r.o., for whom we have successfully implemented a similar B2B e-shop. Their recommendations were beneficial during the current contract negotiations.
After signing the contract, we performed an in-depth pre-implementation study. Thus, a long process started, where we faced significant and minor obstacles and struggled with new customer needs and requirements. Converting a highly complex business model into an e-commerce format was particularly difficult. In any case, we tried to meet all the expectations and turn them into reality to ensure that the e-shop would work successfully.
High variability of pricing policy
Our most challenging aspect in preparing the e-shop was the specific ERP system that METRO uses to manage the company – it is completely different from the tools we already knew in the Czech Republic. In addition, we also had to consider several other APIs used for making calls, logging in, etc. For these reasons, it took us several months to fine-tune the data to guarantee that it had the correct format, thus, preventing any manual errors.
In addition, setting the correct prices was challenging in this respect. The price of each product varies depending on various parameters, such as the customer type (whether they are a gold, silver or platinum member) and whether the customer has an individual price set. The quantity of goods, or how much the customer buys, is also taken into account. Likewise, various promotional strategies are involved, including special-priced items, as well as offers under the so-called (the price of particular products changes when a certain quantity is purchased, for certain clients and only at a given date and time). All these settings can be combined in different order to generate hundreds of different resulting prices.
Benefits for users
The user interface constitutes a great added value of the e-shop, as it can be fully customised to the end customer’s needs – for example, they can easily view only re-ordered items. Customers can also annotate individual products, which can be duplicated in subsequent views. The function for setting up the so-called quick orders, allowing the generation of shopping lists in XLS or CSV format, is also useful. Lists can be named and sorted; thus, making the shopper’s job much more manageable. The system also keeps all invoices for purchases made via the e-shop and those made by the customer in the brick-and-mortar store.
The future plan is to expand the e-shop to other regions in Ukraine to cover all METRO Delivery customers. You can always find only those items on the website available in a given city or delivery area. The system also calculates shipping costs and determines if the address you have entered lies within the relevant service area. Next, we shall continuously improve the entire project and automate the e-shop, including scheduling the delivery of orders according to the end customer’s requirements.
We asked Igor Ganshevsky, Project Manager at METRO Cash & Carry Ukraine Ltd, who was responsible for the e-shop project on the customer side:
What have you gained by launching the new e-shop, and how has it met your expectations?
“The METRO company considers the new online sales solution very important. In fact, we are keen to digitally transform our business in the coming years. We are really satisfied with how much we have improved compared to the original system.”
Looking back, what do you see as the biggest challenge on the project?
“Food retail is a very complex business relying on several core systems within the company. The main challenge we faced was consolidating such a complex system into a fully functional online form.”
Makro’s e-store has created a new brand channel in the Czech Republic and accounts for one-third of all sales. Do you think that will be the same in Ukraine?
“We believe that online sales have great potential in Ukraine. Therefore, we expect that the new website will help us to direct sales made through this channel and, at the same time, provide us with a competitive advantage in attracting new customers. We expect to know the exact numbers within a year.”
And what are your next plans based on the successful launch of the e-shop?
“We have some big plans in terms of expanding the e-commerce operation nationwide and also further improving our website.”