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A look at SPAR Hypermarket’s Omnichannel journey

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SPAR Hypermarket, operated by Dubai-based Landmark Group’s , recently entered the Omnichannel space to provide its customers an easy and hassle-free shopping experience across channels.

How Spar Hypermarket unravels its omnichannel journey

The hypermarket is looking to extend an assortment in terms of range and freshness to online customers. The idea is to provide an e-commerce system with multi-channel capabilities to existing brick-and-mortar customers and to acquire new customers.

The company had to first dealt with the following challenges before preparing its futuristic e-commerce solution:

Challenges:

  • Transform the organization from brick-and-mortar based hypermarket to Omnichannel ready e-commerce enterprise
  • Provide customers with pick up from store option in addition to home delivery
  • Utilize brick-and-mortar store inventory for online customers as well
  • Complex and store specific business rules for promotions, prices, inventory, employee discounts, delivery slots etc.
  • Return and refund management for complete and partial returns and no-show cases
  • User location and its mapping to specific store for picking and delivery
  • Comprehensive fraud check rules
  • Complex pick and pack process enabled to pick meat, non-meat, fresh, frozen, and chilled items in most optimized way
  • Short picks, fulfillment through IST (Inter Store Transfer), fulfillment through local purchase, MRP differences during picking
  • On-time cost effective last mile deliveries to customer considering one order may contain meat, non-meat, fresh, frozen, and chilled items
  • Payment reconciliation and commercial SOPs
  • Leverage the existing brick-and-mortar store operations for online order fulfillment

SPAR Hypermarket, which is present in more than 40 countries with over 12,000 stores, appointed technologies to come up with an effective solutions that will answer all the above challenges and bring about a confluence between SPAR’s online and offline worlds.

The HCL team evaluated the best in class e-commerce platforms from Oracle, IBM, SAP and Magento and finally decided to use SAP Hybris as platform for SPAR.

A few salient features of HCL’s approach include:

Program Perspective

  • HCL’s design methodology is to use proven state of art technologies and best practices to assemble a scalable, flexible, extendable and easy to maintain  multi-channel e-commerce platform that offers high performance and availability
  • The overall program is multi-phase development or Iterative development model to allow more flexibility for changes.
  • The program was phased as incremental functionality releases to facilitate business operations familiarize with digital transformation and ramp-up the brick and Mortar operations gradually. The first release was a closed Beta release delivered in two months

Solution Perspective

  • Captured the challenges faced by each individual category and did a holistic analysis of AS IS operations and challenges faced by them to identify the gaps and accordingly designed the TO BE state e-commerce solution for smooth operations
  • Hybris OOTB features were used extensively to provide extensibility, flexibility and maintainability to the solution
  • Understand  the interfacing solutions for pick & pack, last mile delivery, gift cards, ERP, POS, products attributes data, payment gateways etc. and designed their integrations with e-commerce system for building a complete e-commerce system
  • Inventory management, being very important in implementing e-commerce solution, was built after multiple iterations and discussions
  • Application  validation against industry standards such as W3C compliance and Applicable Security Compliance
  • Application performance testing against industry standards
  • Implementation of Solr search engine for predictive and self-learning search
  • Integration with Google Analytics and other third party tools
  • Hybris cockpit customization are done to support CSR
  • Solution provides mobile Apps along with Web store to provide true Omnichannel experience to customers
  • Customized Hybris services to support both web and native mobile app front ends
  • The solution is hosted on Azure cloud and managed by HCL to support 10k+ SKUs

What HCL did:

  • HCL took end-to-end ownership of e-commerce system development, hosting and support
  • Engaged with MAX Hypermarket’s third party systems’ vendors to elaborate requirements and integrations
  • Hosting the solution on Azure cloud to ensure scalability and ongoing Infrastructure support

Approach

  • Low cost and investment model – OPEX driven
  • Leveraging available Brick and Mortar infrastructure to provide pick up from store with home deliveries
  • Engaging customers across a host of channels- in-store, web, mobile Apps etc.
  • Keeping emphasis on USP of Client i.e. freshness of products to be delivered and convenience of deliveries made
  • Incremental Agile development approach
  • Support started along with development
  • Performance testing ensured that system works well under load
  • Security testing ensured that system remain secure and non-vulnerable
  • Azure cloud based hosting to ensure scalability
  • 24X7 support for Apps and Infra
  • Solution design to address business complex scenarios like:
  • Pick & Pack – The system has the ability for assisted picking to improve the picking efficiency based on the store layout. The pick order of SKU’s will be sorted to minimize the ‘picker’s travel during picking process and improve picking efficiency.
  • Last mile delivery – Ability to assist to dispatch orders, delivery van route optimization using Google Maps and handling delivery, returns and doorstep card payment

Capabilities

  • Leveraged HCL E-Commerce COE expertize for help prepare the vision for the solution and translate it into digital transformation tasks
  • HCL provided e-commerce Functional and technical consulting aligned to MAX Hypermarket’s business and operations
  • HCL delivered the beta version within 2 months of requirements finalization

Business Benefits

  • Cost reduction/savings
  • OPEX model has been proposed and used by customer for e-commerce system development
  • Another source of revenue (online orders) added
  • Brick and Mortar store inventory and infrastructure has been used for online order
  • keeping the overall cost low and ensuring better inventory management
  • Existing POS based invoicing has been used to improve efficiency and save cost
  • Existing ERP system used for data

Efficiency/productivity gains

  • Automation of Pick & Pack and Last mile delivery systems help achieving operational efficiency and minimizing errors
  • Existing POS based invoicing has been used to improve efficiency and save cost