Have a visual view of customers' location
METRO is a leading international specialist in wholesale and food retail. The company operates in 35 countries and employs more than 150,000 people worldwide. The company provides custom solutions to meet the regional and international needs of its wholesale and retail customers. With its sales brands METRO/MAKRO Cash & Carry and Real as well as delivery services and digitization initiatives, METRO sets the standards for tomorrow. METRO/MAKRO Cash & Carry operates more than 750 wholesale stores in 25 countries with a workforce of about 108,000 employees.
In 1996, METRO Cash & Carry, the international leader in self-service wholesale, opened its first wholesale store in the international metropolis of Shanghai, and thus brought in the country a brand new business concept. The company has set its foot already in 58 Chinese cities with 93 stores in operation. With a headcount of around 12,000 employees, the wholesaler is serving more than 8 million customers across the country.
THE AIM: DRIVE METRO’S STRATEGIC EXPANSION IN CHINA
“The general concern of all companies in today’s environment is the speed of technical evolution, especially in the field of customer data and customer behavioral data. This is an area where China is growing extremely fast thanks to leading companies such as Tencent and Alibaba.
So the question for Metro was: what reliable data source can we have access to, in order to know better our customers? The main criteria for us was Reliability, Digital and User-Friendly.
DATA ANALYSIS TO ASSESS THE MARKET AND IMPROVE EFFICIENCY IN THE ORGANIZATION
Data was and remains, one of the key elements in Metro’s strategic deployment to assess its market potential and forecast its market expansion. By that time, we knew who were our existing customers but how to deploy our strategy without having a clue of where to find our future potential customers?
Additionally, there was an efficiency drive as well. We reduced the data preparation for possible expansion projects from a full 60 days (an in case of a full manual counting ever longer) to 20 days; after all, we know from 20 million Hotels, Restaurants, Catering companies, Traders and other businesses there exact location in China.”
“Metro stands for quality, as such we needed a business partner who wanted
to achieve the best results for us to be successful. Geoconcept was the correct match.”
- Tim Burghout, Finance & Commercial Controlling Manager at Metro Cash&Carry China.
MORE THAN A VENDOR, A BUSINESS SOLUTION PARTNER THAT DELIVERS TANGIBLE SOLUTIONS
Metro stands for quality, as such we needed a business partner who could achieve the best results for us to be successful. Geoconcept was the correct match. The team offered a remarkable consulting service, enabling Metro to be aware of the different perspective on the data usage and customization. I must say, I was impressed by the openness of their GIS system Geoconcept Sales & Marketing that allowed us to drive market analysis, and by the services provided along with the tool. The collaboration with Geoconcept was fantastic, from sales and technical perspective. I can say that being Customer Centric is one of their values, carried by its team at perfection: professionalism, pedagogy and reactivity are the words that describe them best. As per the data provided, we are highly satisfied with a rate of 80% when physical counting. With such a high turnover rate of companies in China, this is impressive.”
DIGITALIZATION AND DATAEXPLOITATION LEAD METRO SUCCESS
“In the first place, we ran a huge efficiency drive in the assessment of potential expansion areas, to be able to have more time for valuable strategic discussions on our expansion strategy. Although nowadays, this level of digitalization is becoming more and more a prerequisite than a success story, it is important to establish a strong foundation before moving forward.
And that is where the success of collaborating with Geoconcept comes into play, without giving away too much of the secrets of our competitive advantage we are now able to target specific customers for each of the offer which also translates into operational aspects: our salespeople know exactly who to contact within large potential future clients, their exact locations and can collect new information on the field to enlarge our Customer Relational Management System.”
A WIN-WIN COLLABORATION
“At first sight, Geoconcept and Metro are rather opposite entities, and that was also exactly what we were looking for. We believe that development comes from diversity and learning from others who bring a different perspective.
While our team's focus was on knowing better and locate our customers, Geoconcept appeared as the technical player, bringing together the pieces of the puzzle to build the right path for our road to success. Geocoding and mapping our customers enlighted their behaviours that gave us the opportunity to understand them even better and raise adapted offers products and services.
Besides the fact that Geoconcept and Metro are both international players in a local market who stand for quality, it appeared that our core values are the same when it comes to why we do things: making our customers successful. And still, our differences did elevate our opportunities: Metro’s customer-driven experience and customer focus supplemented with Geoconcept digitalization of customer driven data. I would call this, a Win-Win Collaboration.”
Interviewee: Tim Burghout, Finance & Commercial Controlling Manager at Metro Cash&Carry China.