As an omnichannel operator, METRO Wholesale combines a wide network of modern wholesale stores with a delivery service (Food Service Distribution, FSD) and digital services, such as an online ordering system. Our customers can choose between shopping in a store,having their products delivered to them, or – for example in France – they may take advantage of the click-and-collect online shopping service which allows them to pick up their pre-packed products directly from their preferred store. Our wholesale business is distinguished by a strong international presence: METRO Wholesale can be found in 35 countries across Europe and Asia. We operate 769 METRO and MAKRO wholesale stores with a comprehensive delivery service in 25 countries. In the remaining 10 countries, the business is limited to delivery services. In the FSD area, our dedicated delivery specialists Classic Fine Foods, Pro à Pro and Rungis Express make a substantial contribution to the success of our business. METRO Wholesale’s workforce stood at more than 100,000 employees in financial year 2017/18.
Focus on customer benefits
The objective of METRO Wholesale is to strengthen the competitiveness of its customers – not only to make them and their business model more successful, but also with the aim of increasing customer retention over the long term.
Most of our wholesale customers are small and medium-sized companies and sole traders. We want to assist them in better mastering their business challenges by supplying long-term solutions with superior added economic value. To achieve this, we leverage our knowledge, our resources and our global presence. We consistently align our business model to customer value and strengthen our local organisations to establish a closer relationship with our B2B customers.
Our B2B customers can be broken down into 3 core customer groups: HoReCa, Traders and SCO (service companies and offices). HoReCa includes hotels and hospitality businesses, restaurants, bars and cafés, as well as catering companies and canteen operators. The Traders section includes small grocery stores, kiosks, street food retailers, petrol stations and wholesalers. SCO are professional service companies and organisations, such as offices and institutions.
Our markets are divided into core customer groups and regions. Depending on our main customer focus in the respective countries, we offer a tailored product range that matches the specific preferences and requirements of our customers. We increase the satisfaction of our customers by gearing our products, services and sales channels to the local requirements. This allows us to exploit the local market opportunities in the best possible way.
Our interpretation of customer orientation and the way we bring it to life is exemplified in the new METRO Wholesale brand campaign ‘We don’t work for METRO. We work for ...’ and the closely related METRO Own Business Day. The Own Business Day was established to assist our customers in what matters most for them: the marketing of their own business. Our website allows business owners to publish their campaign offers to acquire new customers and advance their business. The new brand campaign also puts our customers centre stage and illustrates how METRO assists them in their daily business operations.
Value enhancers for the business
Based on our business model, our local companies develop and implement their individual value creation plans that enable transformation and growth according to local conditions. The central organisation supports local value creation and actively manages the portfolio. Based on the country-specific and locally generated value creation plans, we have identified 5 major strategic value enhancers for our wholesale business (see also the wholesale strategy chart):
- We exploit the full potential of our markets across all customer groups. We accomplish this by distinguishing the wholesale stores, for example by designing stores that are specifically tailored to the different customer groups and their respective needs. Good examples are the Compact Store concept in France or the revamping of our wholesale stores in Germany, for example in Düsseldorf and Krefeld. Moreover, we are replacing our centrally managed, unified growth model, which is based on the opening of new wholesale stores, with a distinguished, sustainable model focused on like-for-like sales growth.
- We continue to expand our Food Service Distribution and the delivery business because they represent an attractive business that is complementary to our core business in the wholesale stores. Delivery is an important procurement channel for HoReCa customers in most countries. By expanding our delivery services, we strengthen relationships with these customers and their commitment to us.
- We are expanding the trader franchising model in countries such as Poland, Romania and especially Russia. METRO Wholesale operates in a similar way as a franchisor with its own-brand identity. It provides products and offers additional services to the participating independent grocery stores, such as training courses and assortment consultancy. The expansion of the model helps open up new growth opportunities in relevant markets.
- We are increasing operational capacity to reduce our cost base. We aim at reducing our procurement costs and in turn improve our competitiveness by conducting cooperation projects with international retail and wholesale companies, such as the international procurement alliance Horizon International with Auchan Retail, Dia Group and Casino Group as partners.
- We share our know-how with our customers by offering them training courses, tutorials and professional advice. We develop digital solutions and applications for our customers, such as our free service for creating a website, online reservation systems for hospitality operators or efficient personnel management systems. These activities allow us to assist our customers in their business processes and to make their relationship with us more efficient.