Innovative technology offers Austrian customers a modern, service-oriented shopping experience

MERKUR announces the launch of its online shop on 9 June 2016. This makes the retailer the third company of the REWE Group to offer online grocery orders. In Germany and Austria, REWE and BILLA are already successful on the market with their online supermarkets and deliver everyday food and goods to customers’ homes. Together with the expertise of REWE digital, REWE International AG and commercetools, the expert in the field of cloud-based e-commerce platforms, this already-acquired know-how laid the foundation for MERKUR’s online shop.

Minimizing back-end complexities for a service-oriented customer experience

The online shop offers MERKUR customers from Vienna the wide range of a MERKUR super market, including fresh products like fruit and vegetables and frozen foods. They will also find service-oriented added value here, as well as detailed nutrition information, recipe suggestions and a selectable time slot for delivery. Same-day delivery is also possible. In addition, the “Friends of Merkur” loyalty program with its special discount campaigns is seamlessly integrated into the orders.

To operate smoothly and create a user-friendly shopping experience, several systems must interlock seamlessly in the back end. To ensure this, the commercetools Product Information Management (PIM) carries out the complex management of the approximately 13,000 products. Via a stable interface, data on product information, categories, stocks and prices is imported on an hourly basis. These are fed in partly from other connected external and REWE International AG internal systems. In this context, the system must differentiate between pre-packaged articles with a specific weight, articles where customers can choose from a pre-specified weight range, and normal items in the background. The nutritional values of the individual items are also brought in from a separate system. The VPN of REWE digital connects the various systems with each other and provides fast, secure communication between them.

“We have used the expertise acquired from the development of the REWE online supermarket in the cooperation with MERKUR. This makes it possible for MERKUR to launch highly developed features and interfaces”, says Dr. Johannes Steegmann, Manager of Strategy, Marketing and Ventures at REWE digital.

For the ongoing administration, commercetools developed automated processes to facilitate the work of the responsible e-commerce manager. This means that in the backend, automated publishing is possible if, for example, only the price of a product changes. Since MERKUR provides various special offer prices with the “Friends of Merkur” program and other discount campaigns, an intelligent connection with a corresponding REWE International AG internal tool ensures that customers really receive the correct price valid for them for all the items ordered in the end. After the systems subject to the shop have accepted the orders, these are then received, picked and delivered by the relevant MERKUR markets.

“There is enormous potential in the online area for the retail food industry and therefore for MERKUR – we are aware that by doing this, we have laid the foundation for future developments and are already eager to see where this exciting journey will take us next”, says MERKUR Managing Director Kerstin Neumayer.

About REWE digital

The newly established and rapidly growing unit REWE digital in Cologne pools all of the strategic and some of the operational online activities of REWE Group. REWE digital aims to become the leading provider of online solutions in all of the markets relevant to REWE Group.

One of the most important tasks of REWE digital is the digitalisation of the food retail sector in Germany. In this approach, customers are given the opportunity to order food online which is then delivered, fresh and cooled, to their doorstep in their desired timeframe.

Together with other business units, REWE digital also develops omni-channel solutions and controls investments in and the management of participations of REWE Group in digital ventures. The team is currently involved in the active development of one of the most exciting digital projects of the trade and tourism segment.

About commercetools

commercetools GmbH was founded in 2006 by Dirk Hörig and Denis Werner. The company runs offices in Munich, Berlin and New York. commercetools is one of the world’s leading providers of cloud-based e-commerce technology. On the basis of their highly available platform, complex retail models across all sales channels and for all devices can be implemented. By means of an extensive e-commerce API, existing corporate processes and technologies are connected flexibly. In addition, the platform enables sustainable solutions for B2C and B2B retail. Since 2014 commercetools is a subsidiary of REWE Group. Its customers include Koffer24, Merkur and REWE.

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