Rewe Group’s discounter Penny is preparing to launch an online shop in Germany, Lebensmittel Zeitung reports. The e-store will initially focus on non-food goods from its instore promotions, together with wines. The buying department is currently finalising negotiations with suppliers regarding quantities and requirements for logistics.
DHL will serve as the delivery partner. There will be a four-week trial phase from the beginning of July. The technology will be designed and managed by Rewe Group’s subsidiary, Rewe Digital.
Retailers need to set modest ambitions when it comes to grocery e-commerce, especially in Germany. ”In percentage terms, sales are growing faster than losses – that’s something good after all”, said Board Member Jan Kunath who has been responsible for Rewe Group’s online business since the beginning of the year. This outlook from the head of Rewe’s supermarket delivery business now seems sufficiently positive to persuade the group’s discount banner to go online. The time seems right as Penny is finally back in the black with its bricks and mortar business. Surely Rewe Group CEO’s Alain Caparros’ ambitions to be the pioneer in grocery e-commerce should include the discount business as well.
Unsurprisingly, Penny’s will be a non-food shop with wines. That’s the standard offer for a discounter, as can be seen by leader Aldi’s e-commerce operation in the UK – selling a range of promotional non-food goods from the stores, together with some mid- to higher-ticket wines by the case. The same goes for Edeka’s Netto and Norma’s web stores. Penny may have the additional advantage that it can fall back on the group’s own wine specialists –Weinfreunde.de and Austrian Wegenstein.
Talking of Austria, Penny’s online experiment there has been going on for years. Not much is known about its success, but judging by the random range that is being offered – the haircare assortment for example consists of just two basic shampoos, that’s all – it has never been more than a half-hearted trial. This experience may explain why now it is the Rewe Digital division, which operates independently of the operational grocery retail arm, that will oversee Penny’s German e-commerce project.
It is a proof of determination that online experts have been charged with building up the store. In reality, just being another retailer selling non-foods and wines online will not be enough to make it a major player in the market. Finding a catchy name for the online shop is one way of making it stand out. More than this, the shop needs to become a shopping destination, a brand in its own right. Unfortunately, Penny’s current store concept positioning cannot help here as it focuses on neighbourhood, localness, sustainability and health. Not exactly the features of a non-food online shop.