Coop Group: Making shoppers feel at home with a personalized experience across platforms

About Coop Group

At the Coop Group, customers are front and center. That’s because the beloved Swiss institution is organized as a cooperative society, meaning it belongs to its 2.5 million cooperative members. Spread across retail and wholesale, its portfolio includes supermarkets, DIY stores, and more.

Industries: Retail & Consumer Goods
Location: Switzerland

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About Trakken

Trakken is a cloud and marketing technology partner, specialized in services for Google Marketing Platform and Google Cloud.

The Coop Group engages customers with personalized offers in 22 online stores and content websites, enabling more effective marketing campaigns by building a centralized data hub on BigQuery.

Google Cloud results

  • Increases return on marketing investment with targeted campaigns, enabled by a holistic customer view with BigQuery
  • Processes more than 400 unique queries per month to help BI, CRM, and IT teams make data-driven decisions
  • Improves the online and offline retail experience with personalized offers across stores through a centralized marketing data hub
  • Cuts BI and CRM overhead and reduces data analysis workload by up to 60% on average

Delivers insights from 4 TB of active data per month

In Switzerland, the Coop Group is everywhere. There are convenience stores around the corner and mega stores where you can buy everything under one roof. The Coop Group supplies snacks and water to hikers at an outlet 2,000 meters above sea level and food products in bulk to restaurants and catering businesses. Its retail business currently comprises 2,333 sales outlets, supermarkets, mega stores, and hardware stores, plus 22 ecommerce websites. It’s safe to say that whether you’re buying groceries, shopping online, eating out, booking a trip, or pumping gas, chances are the Coop Group is involved.

Organized as a cooperative society, the Coop Group is owned by around 2.5 million cooperative members: its customers. That means more than one in four people in Switzerland have a stake in its success, electing regional councils and setting out the responsibilities of the executive bodies. In short, the Coop Group exists first to serve the needs of people. What started as a small consumer cooperative in 1864 has blossomed into the international retail and wholesale giant that people all over Switzerland know and love.

“Today’s customers expect a seamless shopping experience across all of our sales channels, online and offline. To improve the overall customer experience, we need to give customers accurate recommendations, and for that we need to have the right data at our fingertips.”

Mohamad Kariem, Digital Analyst, Coop

Despite steady growth and expansion, the Coop Group remains committed to its original business model, giving ultimate accountability to its owners and customers. But to meet customer needs in the fast-moving 21st century retail industry, it takes more than regular elections and a dedication to the common good.

“Today’s customers expect a seamless shopping experience across all of our sales channels, online and offline,” says Mohamad Kariem, Digital Analyst at Coop. “To improve the overall customer experience, we need to give customers accurate recommendations, and for that we need to have the right data at our fingertips.”

But data wasn’t always easy to come by at the Coop Group. Each web platform used to handle its own analytics, creating data silos that left the company without a holistic view of customer behavior. This made it difficult to use existing synergies and adjust services company-wide to customer needs. For a cooperation which believes that the way to become stronger is to work closely with every department, share, and learn from each other’s experiences, the situation was in need of improvement.

To optimize the customer experience throughout its many online and offline sales channels, Coop’s marketing team leveraged the company’s wider migration to Google Cloud in 2019 to collect and process all relevant data in BigQuery.

“In the past, we had to consolidate the data manually from numerous sources, which took a lot of effort. With BigQuery, we’ve streamlined this process to a single source of truth in our marketing data hub. Using this unified data, we can drive immersive customer experiences throughout our stores.”

André Hellemeier, Head of Digital Analytics, Coop Group

Unified data for a single customer view

To integrate BigQuery into the Coop Group’s vast data pipelines, the team turned to the Google Marketing Platform and Google Cloud partner Trakken, a specialist in cloud and marketing technology. In a month-long working session in 2019, Trakken helped lay the foundation for the centralized marketing hub by standardizing processes and building expertise. “Basically, we gave them our business questions, and they showed us how we can use BigQuery to answer them with data,” says André. “In weekly calls and training sessions, they helped us to build the know-how and showed us how to best generate insights from the data we collect.”

Today, the Coop Group uses BigQuery to quickly analyze large sets of raw data from its online and offline stores, and Cloud Storage to store the data long term. The data is then visualized with Google Data Studio, which connects with BigQuery out of the box. “Just in the last 30 days, we’ve needed to process four terabytes of active data,” says Mohamad. “BigQuery scales automatically to our requirements, so we’re never constrained from a technical perspective.”

Instead of silos, every team across the Coop Group now has access to the same data, calculated in the same way, which enables a more focused marketing strategy. “In the past, we had to consolidate the data manually from numerous sources, which took a lot of effort,” says André. “With BigQuery, we’ve streamlined this process to a single source of truth in our marketing data hub. Using this unified data, we can drive immersive customer experiences throughout our stores.”

A more personalized customer experience at a lower marketing cost

In the diverse retail lineup of the Coop Group, there’s ample opportunity to cross-sell across different touchpoints. The BigQuery-powered marketing hub allows the company to leverage previously untapped synergies, increasing revenue while upping customer satisfaction. With the data unified into customer profiles, marketing campaigns can cater to the specific needs across Coop Group sales channels. If a customer orders meat at the online supermarket, for example, they’ll be more likely to see offers for BBQ grills at the website of the Coop-owned do-it-yourself store.

Beyond boosting single product sales online, the Coop Group is using big data insights, and the specificity of data-driven customer profiles, to shore up entire business sectors. When ITS Coop Travel, a travel agency that the Coop Group is a shareholder in, struggled to attract interest in family trips, the marketing team used the collected data to identify a target audience with distinct family attributes and then geared advertising towards them.

With Google Marketing Platform, the marketing team connects online and offline insights, painting a fuller customer picture to personalize the shopping experience with behavioral targeting. When a customer makes a purchase in a physical store, for example, the Coop Group uses a loyalty system to reward them with digital coupons on the receipt. This code can be used online, connecting the offline and online profiles of the user.

“By following customer behavior across sales channels, we can track the purchasing behavior of shoppers who move from our retail stores to our websites, or vice versa,” says Mohamad. “When we saw that online marketing drives purchases of offline shoppers beyond our expectations, we were able to allocate more budget to it, while creating more targeted campaigns.”

“Back when everything was in data silos, we didn’t really know who our customers were,” adds André. “Today, we have integrated our on-premises data integration tools with Google Cloud to blend data from multiple sources and build a 360° view of our customers, which helps us focus our advertising campaigns, while maximizing our marketing budgets.”

Upping security while cutting IT overhead

More freedom in the marketing department translates to less work in the Coop’s IT and business intelligence (BI) departments. In the past, cloud workflows were managed manually by the BI or customer relationship teams, and for every single project involving customer data, André needed to gather explicit permissions.

Google Cloud enabled the Coop Group to standardize workflows in fully managed services, streamlining the visibility and reporting of cloud service usage and costs. “Projects are now owner based, which means our IT team can easily trace every action in the cloud,” says André. “Without all that manual maintenance, our IT team has more time for tasks that add real value to the company, with added transparency at their fingertips.” The shift enabled a more aggregated view of customer insights, and allowed the IT team to collaborate with the BI and CRM teams in a more transparent way.

Besides transparency, this standardization also boosted security and data privacy, a key priority for the Coop Group. Optimized identity access management for company-wide cloud operations allows for secure control of cloud resources. “Our IT team no longer needs to manually allocate resources to the marketing team, but they’re still in control over the entire infrastructure and what happens on it,” says Mohamad. “With Google Cloud, they can effectively ensure that the right employees have access to the right data, at all times.”

“With BigQuery, we’ve been able to streamline our data flows and analytics across the business, generating more insights with more comprehensive data.”

Mohamad Kariem, Digital Analyst, Coop Group

Automating the marketing journey with Google Cloud

With constant, secure access to the right data in a centralized data hub, the Coop Group is ready to adjust its marketing strategies to changing customer behaviors and the shift from offline to online sales. “With BigQuery, we’ve been able to streamline our data flows and analytics across the business, generating more insights with more comprehensive data,” says Mohamad. “This allows us to approach customers more effectively with personalized offers, increasing revenue and improving the customer experience.”

In more than 150 years of company history, much has changed at the Coop Group—but its cooperative business model and commitment to each customer remains the same. By combining proud retail tradition with digital innovation, André and his team are taking customer-centricity to a new level. Now, they plan to further automate marketing processes, using Google Cloud to connect all of their existing data tools.

“Our goal is to better serve our customers in each of our Coop Group stores, with a tighter marketing coordination across our vast network of services,” says André. “With the support of Google Cloud, we’ll be able reach any customer through the right channel, with the right message, at any time.”

Tell us your challenge. We're here to help.

Contact us

About Coop Group

At the Coop Group, customers are front and center. That’s because the beloved Swiss institution is organized as a cooperative society, meaning it belongs to its 2.5 million cooperative members. Spread across retail and wholesale, its portfolio includes supermarkets, DIY stores, and more.

Industries: Retail & Consumer Goods
Location: Switzerland

About Trakken

Trakken is a cloud and marketing technology partner, specialized in services for Google Marketing Platform and Google Cloud.