Digital property is the way forward

Tesco replicates the success of its online grocery platform in UK, Asia and across Eastern Europe, with a cost-effective and efficient format
Digital property is the way forward

Tesco replicates the success of its online grocery platform in UK, Asia and across Eastern Europe, with a cost-effective and efficient format

After successfully running UK’s leading online grocery shopping service for more than a decade, Tesco decided to extend the business format to other countries. The retailer was gunning for increased returns from developing markets, like the Czech Republic, Poland, Slovakia, Hungary, Turkey, Thailand and Malaysia. Online grocery operations across Eastern Europe, leveraging the existing brick and mortar store infrastructure, was a key engine driving ambitious growth at Tesco.

Developing a home shopping platform

Tesco’s technology team created a standard grocery home shopping template on a virtualised server infrastructure and hosting model. The template was developed by combining custom services, business components and some of the shelf products. It resulted in developing a multi-tenanted and multi-lingual grocery home shopping platform that could be built once, but deployed and customised several times over.

Feature-wise, the grocery home shopping platform was similar to an app store. It held single-serve codes in a multi-tenant environment (like language and regulatory compliance codes) corresponding to each country. In addition, the sites in these countries would run on regional instances (single occurrence) of the same virtualised platform. Tesco provisioned two regional instances, one for Central Europe and another for Asia Pacific, thus optimising total cost of ownership (TCO) of the platform.

It was important to extend the same experience for customers across the world. This in mind, the company created a service layer applying design principles based on a service-oriented architecture (SOA). The team integrated several existing systems into the platform, such as for product pricing and promotion, point-of-sale (POS) and fulfillment. Within 18 months, the company had launched an online grocery site for the Czech Republic.

Building a strong customer base

As a result, the platform for the Czech Republic reduced the cost of deployment and the time to market significantly. Besides, Czech customers now benefit from over 30,000 lines of fresh and frozen food and groceries, pet products and stationery, among others. Tesco further rolled out the model across Poland and Slovakia, Hungary, Slovakia, Turkey, Thailand and Malaysia as well. 

“Since the deployment, more than 100,000 customers have signed up for the new online service; more than five million items have been sold out across the Czech Republic, Poland, Slovakia, Hungary and Turkey in Eastern Europe.”Vinod Bidarkoppa, Director (Group IT) and CIO, Tesco HSC, Member of the Board (Tesco HSC), Bangalore.

Article written by Vinod Bidarkoppa, Director (Group IT) and CIO, Tesco HSC.

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