In conversation with an e-commerce integration specialist
Roel van Alebeek
Roel van Alebeek, e-commerce architect, was asked 7 years ago if he wanted to help set up a new Coop.nl platform. During the project, he was responsible for the integrations and technical developments of the platform. Today we talk to him about his experiences at Coop.nl, the choice for the Intershop commerce platform and of course the collaboration with Fenego.
4th supermarket chain in the Netherlands
“Coop has been a supermarket chain in the Netherlands for more than 125 years,” says Roel. It is a cooperative of entrepreneurs who serve the market under one name. During recent years, Coop has developed into a strong brand and has grown into the 4th largest supermarket chain in the Netherlands, partly thanks to its innovative online proposition.
Coop is one of the leading supermarket chains in the Netherlands with a strong online presence. They are strongly committed to offering an omni-channel experience to their customers both online and in their 300+ stores. To make this strategy happen and to keep it optimized, they turned to Fenego in 2018. It became a long-term collaboration where we keep Coop's webshop performing and future-proof. Coop implemented Intershop back in 2016 to be able to show the right products, prices and promotions for each store in their webshop. They chose Intershop because of the channel structure that can be set up without custom written code and because it was a proven technology at the time. In 2018, Fenego became a co Intershop partner for Coop. At the start of the project, we sat down with Coop to make sure we were on the same page in terms of vision, objective and timing. As soon as we had a clear picture of this, we got to work.
Intershop Commerce Platform
Making the right platform choice
Roel was closely involved in the choice for the Intershop Commerce platform. This decision was made based on 2 factors:
Two of the larger supermarkets in the Netherlands, Jumbo and Plus, already used Intershop. Therefore, it was a logical decision to consider the platform for Coop as well.
Each store within the cooperative had to be able to acquire a unique identity within the Internet domain of Coop.nl. This with its own range, its own price and its own communication options, despite the fact that you work online on one platform.
Roel: “The choice for Intershop turned out to be a very good choice and this was not only because the specific requirements could be met by giving each store its own channel on the platform. Despite the fact that we have set up a very large environment, with a lot of data, many actions and many integrations with the SAP landscape, there have never been any major technical problems and good performance has always been achieved.”
A partner with an exceptionally high degree of expertise
Initially, Fenego was not involved in the project. When the partner at the time had capacity problems, Fenego jumped in. “Initially to work on the Coop project together with that partner, but it soon became clear that with Fenego we got the quality we were looking for, for a long time,” says Roel.
The collaboration with Fenego has led to a successful upgrade from intershop 7.7 to 7.10 in a limited time frame. After this, the headless front-end was developed and Fenego developed one of the main functionalities, reversing the price from the time of ordering to the price at the time of delivery.
Competence centers that work together and complement each other
One of the many advantages of working with Fenego is that Fenego is part of Xplore Group, which gives you quick access to all experts and solutions within the innovation incubator. Coop.nl was able to quickly discover this advantage. The choice was made to not only transfer the Intershop domain to Fenego, but also to transfer the complete technical management to Xplore Group. This allowed Coop to make a huge leap forward in the technical support they could receive in the areas of hosting, database management and monitoring.
Coop switched to the monitoring party nFuse, also part of Xplore Group, which monitors the coop.nl platform 24/7. In addition, they make it very clear in a monthly report where the problems lie. As a product owner and architect, these reports allow Roel to see which problems are crucial and need to be tackled immediately. Due to the monthly repetition of this process, the technical condition of the platform, both in terms of back-end and front-end, can be greatly improved in the long term.
Goals of the e-commerce initiative
Setting up e-commerce for Coop.nl
A somewhat difficult task in a 125-year-old retail organization that was used to working through physical stores. The online thing had to be embedded in the entire organization to make Coop.nl a success.
Coop has achieved year-on-year growth, but the biggest growth came during the Corona crisis. Online shopping in supermarkets really took off.
Flawless customer experience
The customer must be able to shop effortlessly. Coop has been able to support the enormous growth during the Corona crisis without any problems and without loss of performance. In fact, with performance gains.
An award-winning webshop
Roel is very satisfied with the result. The coop.nl website and the apps that have been developed in recent years have resulted in enormous growth.
“We are extremely pleased with how Intershop can support the growth, how Fenego helps us with that and how nFuse ensures that that environment also performs well and stays up in the air. Not only do we think it is a good result, the consumer is also very satisfied. In addition to the year-on-year growth in the number of orders and the increased turnover per order, Coop.nl was also named the most popular supermarket website in the Netherlands in 2021. With that, we received a reward for 7 years of hard work on an initiative that many people have put their heart and soul into.”
Roel van Alebeek
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