Customer expectations in online retail are growing day by day. The COVID-19 crisis in particular has shown how important it is to be able to seamlessly shift business operations from offline to online. Retailers who were already working with flexible and scalable commerce systems were definitely at an advantage – and REWE was one of them. 

Due to the excellent preparation of REWE’s digital unit, the supermarket chain was well equipped for contact restrictions and the expansion of its online segment. We asked those who paved the way for this success the question: what do retailers need to consider if they not only want to “bring their business online,” but also want to position themselves for the future? Which criteria have to be considered in the ever faster changing markets?

Dr Zores Robert, REWE digital

Dr. Robert Zores, CTO, REWE digital

Dr. Robert Zores, CTO, REWE digital: Today it is no longer enough to simply install an online shop with selected products. It has to be thought holistically and, above all, from the customer’s perspective. What do consumers expect from me as an online retailer, which products do they want and, above all, which services? How do customers buy and on which channels? And don’t forget to ask: How does the retailer have to set up their IT systems so that they can be flexibly adapted and expanded?

The time of monoliths is long gone. In all of these considerations, the operational systems in fulfillment also play a decisive role: How are the ordered products efficiently commissioned and made available to the customer?

Björn Dröschel

Björn Dröschel, Managing Director Product & Technology, fulfillmenttools

Björn Dröschel, Managing Director Product & Technology, fulfillmenttools: This is exactly where fulfillmenttools comes into play. Originally developed as a fulfillment solution for REWE digital, our software is now available to online retailers in all industries. This is because we focused on modularity and flexibility from the start. In order to survive in the market, online retailers should make sure that their software is usable for all company sizes, and all delivery and collection models, as well as all product groups. In addition, it must be customizable for the specific requirements of individual customers in order to survive in the market.

Both the platform of our colleagues from commercetools and our software fulfillmenttools are based on the API-first approach and can therefore be quickly and easily integrated into existing IT systems. The cloud-based nature of our software-as-a-service approach ensures scalability in the event of unplanned fluctuations in demand and lean IT structures. And last but not least, they can be used with little training because they combine an intuitive user experience and a modern user interface. All in all, ideal conditions for fast-moving commerce developments!

Dirk Hoerig, Co-Founder and CEO commercetools

Dirk Hoerig, Co-Founder and CEO, commercetools

Dirk Hoerig, CEO, commercetools: As a retailer, I have to ask myself now more than ever before, why should a customer buy from me? I have to answer this question from the customer’s point of view. What is the original added value that I can offer. And, is this added value still relevant for the customer in the future and how can it change? Nowadays, a good selection of products at competitive prices with good service is usually no longer sufficient as an answer to these questions, but merely forms the basis for being able to participate in the market in the first place. 

What is it then? The ever faster changing technological trends and possibilities ensure that customer expectations are steadily increasing. Flexible and customer-oriented pick-up and delivery models are becoming more and more attractive. At the same time, customers expect a high-quality shopping experience, be it on a smartphone, on a computer or on-site in the store. The flexibility to react quickly to changing customer requirements, coupled with the possibility to focus on innovation and user experience, ensures a decisive competitive advantage. commercetools offers both.

This is the fourth and final part of our blog series on commerce solutions in the food industry. In part one, Dr. Robert Zores from REWE digital spoke about the challenges that the food market brings with it and why it is worth investing in smart commerce solutions. Find out about clever fulfillment in an interview with Björn Dröschel from fulfillmenttools in part two. And in part three, in an interview with Dirk Hoerig from commercetools, we used REWE digital as an example to discuss how different commerce software solutions can best work together.