Discover how our headless eCommerce platform is helping The Co-op roll-out a 2-hour, home delivery service across 350+ stores.
Making ordering groceries online as quick and convenient as ordering a takeaway, demands a lot from technology. Watch our video to find out how we made this possible.
The Co-op’s a convenience retailer and we’ve got over 2,500 shops across the UK. We’ve been going for 176 years, our biggest business is the food business which we turnover about nine billion pounds a year. We’re known as being a local grocer and we’ve got a big footprint close to customers. We’re quite different to the other retailers in that there’s generally always a Co-op somewhere in your street.
The Co-op has kind of dabbled in online operations a couple of times in the past ten years to no avail I guess. We wanted to meet a platform provider that could provide a very good level of service to our customers and a very secure and stable service but also one where we to land it really quickly and test it with customers.
So, what we thought we would do is we would really target those customers who want not the main shop mission, but all the other missions around online that could happen like: “I want a meal for tonight, I want my breakfast in the morning, I want a top up shop or forgotten stuff”.
So, we’ve introduced a new webstore to our customers in a number of cities around the UK – where they can shop a range of products specific to their local store.
The colleague is alerted that there’s an order that needs picking in our store, they then take the picking device – go around the store – pick the order – and finalise the order. That order automatically goes through the virtual till and the customer is charge for that product. The driver will come along to the store, pick up the product, and deliver it to the customer.
I think being able to work with local couriers and reduce the amount of time that it takes to complete deliveries is gonna have a real impact on the environment.
We felt that our stores were actually already our biggest asset and it would make sense for us as a business to utilise those as hubs, rather than a centralised model. At the moment from ordering to delivery it’s 2 hours – and with a centralised model there’s no way we could ever do that.
Being able to offer customers same-day delivery, within two hours is absolutely fantastic and nobody was really doing that at the time.
What this provider has is a kind of open API technology which meant that we could send our API’s to them, and vice versa. Therefore the implementation was relatively straightforward.
The ability of this provider to move from concept to going live to customers, and build out our service in a matter of three to four months was really impressive.
Speed and how we quickly pick in the shops is really important. The technology we’ve implemented is really user-friendly and we’ve had great feedback from colleagues saying how easy it is to pick using it – with the great imagery, the location and the product information has really helped.
We initially started to pick in the shops using iOS iPad devices and ring scanners. I think what’s really great about what we’re going to be doing the future is that’s moving onto an Android device – which will enable our colleagues to use existing equipment in the shops.
As well as being an eCommerce platform, the best thing about the solution is it integrates seamlessly into our EPOS system.
So we’ve managed to to build everything we want on our API and cloud infrastructure and then all we have to do is just one integration.
The support network that the team has provided has been very good. At the outset we had hyper-care as we were launching the program to make sure that everything was right every single day, and we had very regular calls, and updates and monitoring.
There’s always the support there to be able to get things fixed, as well as then get things developed that we want to build on in the future.
We’re growing significantly day-on-day, week-on-week.
This has really changed the lives of some of our customers.
Now we’re in scale phase, which basically means that we’ve given people enough confidence to give us the investment required to open as many stores as possible.
We’ve seen really good sales through the online channel – we’ve got new customers that wouldn’t necessarily shop at the Co-op before, but they’re actually using the Co-op online service which is fantastic!
Overall I think the partnership has been very honest, very transparent, very innovative and I’m really looking forward to the future.