When in Rome, do as the Romans do –what’s applicable to tourists is equally applicable to an international company like METRO. Being active in 35 countries, METRO faces an array of challenges that call for individual answers.
This article includes several parts:
- Part 1: Acting for tomorrow around the world: Entrepreneurship
- Part 2: Acting for tomorrow around the world: Digitisation and sustainability
Analogue and digital strengthening of SMEs
For METRO, developing solutions that take country-specific circumstances into account is its bread and butter. Responsibility takes on many forms within this international trading company, ranging from assisting independent business owners, protecting the environment and boosting food safety to promoting regional produce and maintaining diversity and tradition.
METRO is a partner to many small and medium-sized independent companies– and the focus is on their success. Taking India as an example, there are more than 12 million kirana stores in the country. These are traditional retail stores which are run by families for generations. Everyday items are stacked to the ceiling in space of just a few square metres, making these stores the firstport of call whenever anything is needed. They account for 95 per cent of retail in India – without them, supplying the population with everything it needs would be inconceivable.
METRO assists these independent business owners. For example, the wholesaler not only offers a wide range of products, but also lends support in the kirana stores’ acquisition of digital cash register systems to make payments more secure – a practical and important innovation. METRO also provides assistance with monetary matters, arranging straightforward financing if, for example, a kirana store is to be modernised.
Overcoming the entrepreneurial gap
The METRO International Own Business Study conducted in ten countries including for example France and China demonstrates that local entrepreneurship is valued. According to the study, more than half of those surveyed spoke in favour of helping to support local independent business owners. The study also shows that 48 per cent of all those surveyed were interested in starting their own business – although only 13 per cent considered the chances of their founding a company to be ‘very likely’.
The full study can be found online at www.metroag.de/en/media-centre/publications
To overcome this ‘entrepreneurial gap’, MAKRO Cash & Carry Poland assists budding and existing self-employed retail business owners with its ODIDOfranchise, for example. ‘This concept helps the retailers to design their stores attractively and efficiently in terms of their product range,’ explains Eric Poirer, CEO of MAKRO Cash & Carry Poland. ‘There are now around 2,000 Business owners who are part of the ODIDO franchise,’ says Poirer. METRO lends ist support in financing issues, for example, or with the production of professional TV commercials.
A bespoke solution is required some 500 kilometres further east in Russia too, such as METRO EXPO. This trade fair is a platform for local Business owners in the food service sector, farmers, suppliers and authorities, and attracted close to 20,000 visitors in 2017. Industry representatives attend the fair to learn about the latest retail innovations and to develop professionally in more than 750 seminars and workshops.
"There are now around 2,000 business owners who are part of the ODIDO franchise"
Eric Poirer, CEO of MAKRO Cash & Carry Poland
Digitisation – an unique opportunity
To remain successful in the food and hospitality sector, there is no getting around digitisation. It is therefore a priority for METRO that its customers can benefit from the opportunities offered by digital innovations. An example of this can be found at METRO Cash & Carry stores in France, where the customers can produce their shopping lists digitally using the METRO scan app. The digital shopping list function is made available to the customers on scanners in-store, allowing them to easily compile a list of the items they want. This allows the customers to get their shopping done quickly and then focus on their core business.
The HoReCa Digital business unit focuses on the company-wide development and promotion of digital innovations in the food service sector. This is also where METRO’s start-up support programmes are based.
Part 2: Acting for tomorrow around the world: Digitisation and sustainability