Migros is the largest supermarket and food and non food retailer in Switzerland. Founded in 1925 in Zurich with the simple idea of creating a direct sales organization linking producers and consumers, the company has since evolved establishing its own production facilities and factories and creating new retail brands.
The Migros Group is a complex organization, consisting of 10 cooperatives operating in several retail markets, including grocery, electronics and media, sports apparel, department stores, etc. With more than 600 supermarkets, Migros is the market leader in Switzerland, renown for product freshness, sustainability and their own brand of chocolate.
At the beginning of the project, Migros’s main goals were the standardization and harmonization of the POS environment across the 10 cooperatives and to find a solution supporting business growth and evolving market needs. Until 2001, each cooperative had a different POS application not compatible with each other. This caused difficulties in collecting and consolidating sales data and delays in defining and optimizing the group trade policies.
From an economic point of view, such dishomogeneity resulted in the soaring of the operating costs, due to the need to maintain diversified competencies and skills, specific for each POS application and not sharable within in the company. The same situation existed for the POS hardware installed, which was different from store to store.
In addition Migros had to manage relationships with different IT suppliers, with all the complexity and inefficiency related to that.
In 2001 Migros selected VisualStore, a solution developed by S3 – Store System Solutions, a company belonging to IBM Italy Group, for its openness, functional richness and adaptability to their existing processes, supporting an overall performance improvement whilst still maintaining the operational uniqueness of various divisions.
In particular, shopping malls with multiple stores formats can be run by a single VS Server with a multi-store logical architecture, and the entire solution can be configured, maintained and managed from a single central location.
The solution is implemented on a Linux OS open platform (IBM IRES2/Novell Slepos11), with an automatic application software deployment mechanism from the store Server to point-of-sale units, and is ready to be implemented on additional existing and future front-end devices and consumer touch-points, particularly in the self-service area.
The components of the VisualStore Suite implemented are the following:
- VisualStore Server: the heart of the entire system, hosting all the store parameters and data, managing the POS terminals and handling all the communications among the systems
- VisualStore POS: the sales application, including the rule based promotion engine, running on the point-of-sale terminals and managing the peripherals
- VisualStore Scale: the application for PC based scales, both self weighing scale and scales operated at the counters inside the stores.
- VisualStore Configurator: the application managing all store parameters and front end device configurations (including display layouts) from a central site
VisualStore is fully integrated with Migros back-end architecture, including a bidirectional interface to SAP, LDAP and the support of the proprietary loyalty system.
At the moment VisualStore is installed at Migros on more than 8.000 IBM SurePOS 700, the high end IBM point-of-sales units, based on open standards that assure easy integration of applications, operating systems and peripherals. Recently, the deployment of VisualStore was extended with the implementation on 4,500 Bizerba multimedia scales, seamlessly integrated in the store environment.
With a single standardized, yet flexible solution for the entire group, Migros have significantly reduced their store IT operational complexity and management costs, obtaining significant economical returns, while improving the internal information sharing and leverage.
Moreover, VisualStore supports Migros in their long term strategy to constantly adapt to the evolving consumers shopping behavior and expectations, thus improving customer loyalty and spending and maintaining a leadership position in the market.