Metro Group’s eponymous Cash & Carry operation has started to invest in London-based company Yoyo Wallet. Yoyo provides a combination of mobile payment, ordering and personalised loyalty and reward programmes, backed up by an analytics and campaign platform for retailers.
The move follows Metro’s acquisition of a minority stake in Danish software company Planday last week. Planday specialises in workforce management solutions. Utilising the new partnership, Metro intends to target the hotel, restaurant and catering client group in particular.
Metro’s plan to drive additional sales via a digital approach is a clever one. It not only lets the wholesaler – which is not really an outstanding example for innovation on the sales floor currently – appear in a more modern and future-oriented light. Experimenting with these digital products is also not particularly risky compared to tinkering with the chain’s physical assortment or store layout.
Metro’s Cash & Carry division intends to become the one-stop shop for its clients and push loyalty via an extended offering of all-round solutions. Yoyo Wallet and Planday are just the latest additions to the company’s rapidly growing software portfolio. It also cooperates with a great variety of IT development start-ups to guarantee fresh and trendy service offerings, with a view to target the lucrative client group of hotels, restaurant and catering businesses (HoReCa) in particular.
HoReCa clients are currently the most sought after amongst international wholesale operators. In several of its stores, it has also become Metro’s largest client group. As the company’s main competitors (particularly Coop CH’s Transgourmet) have also shifted their efforts to put a stronger focus on these customers in their business models, Metro Cash & Carry should not rest on its laurels when it comes to differentiation or offering advanced services. The German company’s anticipated demerger that will split its wholesale from its consumer electronics operation is likely to give the Metro HoReCa segment the opportunity to grow faster and allow investments to be focussed on this specific sector. Reportedly, the management has indicated that the organisation will be decentralised, which will give it more flexibility to shape its concepts in line with the local client mix.
Nevertheless, the plan is not yet home and dry. Last week, the Higher Regional Court of Düsseldorf ruled that an action for annulment was not valid enough to block an entry of the demerger into the commercial register. Concerning a declaratory action, however, the Court decided it could not be authorised. This action will now be debated at the registry court.