Germany Edeka Invests in Grocery Online

Matthias Queck (Research Director)
23 August 2017

Edeka is accelerating efforts to improve its grocery e-commerce offer in Munich, Berlin and elsewhere, Lebensmittel Zeitung reports. The leading German grocer is multiplying the logistics capacity of its Bringmeister home delivery service with the erection of an additional 6,000 sq m warehouse in Olching, near Munich. This adds to the existing 1,700 sq m centre which Edeka inherited through the acquisition of Bringmeister from Tengelmann. 

Meanwhile in Berlin, Bringmeister has taken on Amazon Fresh, Rewe and Kaufland, extending its service by offering one-hour delivery slots. Furthermore, same day deliveries have now become possible for orders placed by 14:00, which will then be delivered after 18:00. 

In a separate project, Edeka Südbayern, a regional division of the co-operative grocer in Southern Bavaria, has installed pick-up lockers for click & collect orders at the Audi plant in Ingolstadt. The time slots for collections have been co-ordinated with the shifts of Audi workers.

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Matthias Queck (Research Director)
Matthias Queck (Research Director)

Opinion Edeka the E-Experimenter

23 August 2017

Contrary to what one may have expected up until last year, Edeka has turned out to be a very active and agile experimenter in the grocery e-commerce field. The acquisition of Bringmeister from Tengelmann, which only became effective in January this year, is worth a fortune in this regard. It has provided the co-operative grocer with a well-established, running home delivery service in two of Germany’s biggest cities. Given its decentralised structure of independent owners, it’s a perfect solution for Edeka, which has previously had difficulties finding a viable way to take its food business online on a broader and uniform scale.

Edeka is not hesitating to raise its hand in the competition with its fellow grocers, namely Rewe and more recently Kaufland. It seems that Bringmeister is competing more with Kaufland than with Rewe since Edeka has invested heavily in price cuts for a service that, under Kaiser’s/Tengelmann leadership, was known for being anything but a price-led provider. Still, Edeka could do more to point out its competitive pricing particularly in a city like Berlin, where spending power is far lower than that in Munich and many shoppers would therefore customarily prefer big-box discounter Kaufland over Edeka. 

But Edeka is working on other points, too. It has extended its Bringmeister range to 14,000 articles, encompassing all of its private labels (including economy options), as well as a sophisticated fresh food offer. This is impressive for an e-commerce late-starter such as Edeka. Same-day delivery and one-hour slots (for a premium fee) are another unexpected feature that one would more likely expect from logistics master Amazon Fresh, which just launched its service in Berlin and Potsdam. But why shouldn’t Germany’s biggest grocer be an experimenter and capable of testing new standards of service? Deliveries until midnight are another feature that make the service quite attractive – especially in a city of hundreds of thousands of young people, for whom a midnight delivery is much more to their liking than an early morning slot. 

Perhaps it’s not that much about speed of delivery, but about the right timing of delivery. Viewed together with the Audi installation where slots are co-ordinated with working shifts, the customisation of delivery services with shopper needs is a feature that will only gain in importance. Different shopper types have different delivery needs. Co-operation with big enterprises to align times – as in the case of Audi – could make a grocer the preferred food provider for most workers there, creating new loyalties. 

In a later step, customisation can also can take the form of personalisation. Of course, this is thanks to the shopper data generated through the orders. But also thanks to the co-operative structure of Edeka, turning a presumed disadvantage into a USP. No other grocer, not even Rewe, has such a comprehensive network of independents’ stores; meaning that when shoppers input their post code (which they have to do anyway for deliveries) they could be welcomed by a picture of the local independent shopkeeper, with his personal recommendations, tips and local specialities; perhaps even information about instore events (to lure shoppers back to the physical outlets) – all of this based on the central, national online shop structure behind. That is what I call a truly local, personalised, emotive experience one that cannot simply be replicated.

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