Customer-focused communication
23. May 2018 | Chapter China, Interview, Retail Technology

Interview with Metro COO de Groot about the Chinese market

At C-star 2018 in Shanghai, we talked to Jeroen de Groot, COO of Metro Jinjiang Cash &Carry China, about the retail industry in China. In this interview, de Groot explains how retail companies use customer information to tailor their marketing campaigns to a specific audience, and reveals the decisions Metro China has to make in the near future to strategically position itself for success.

You can also listen to the interview:


Mr. de Groot, on- and offline retail merge into omnichannel, worldwide but also China. And it is supposed to be very customer-driven. Can you explain that a little more detailed?

Who will admit that they are not customer-driven? I think the whole world is customer-driven by now. What is happening in China is what we call “the new retail”. It is also customer-driven but the customer data are clustered in big ecosystems. So, enterprises like Alibaba and Tencent, the winning new retail companies, have a lot of data about the customer. They know more precisely: Who are their customers, when do they need a product, and how do they want to get the products. So these companies are – in a different way – customer-driven.

In order to meet all those disrupting changes in retail, Metro for example has digitalized its complete communication. What does that mean?

It means that everything is on social media. The good thing is that everybody is connected on WeChat so you don’t have to spread your effort on different social platforms. That means that all the communication is done on WeChat which is functioning like a website and like a loyalty program operator at the same time. There we can connect the data of our customers to their behaviour and then have targeted campaigns for the customers that we want to address on WeChat.

That sounds very convenient. One last question: What are the future plans for Metro in China?

The market in China has been very disruptive over the last years. Especially in the last one and a half years, we have seen the acceleration of the new retail but also the big players like Alibaba and Tencent moving into the market. We are slightly different, we are not retailer, we have also a large part B2B. But there too you see the internet plus companies having more and more models that will change the market that we are attending to now. So while running Metro China it is very important that we make a wide selection of strategic choices like: How to run the stores in the future? And what is the role of the store in the future? But also: Are we able to do this independently or should we team up with another partner. But those are choices that we will see in the next couple of months and that will be very exciting.

Yes, that will be very exciting and thank you very much for the interview.

You’re welcome.

The interview was conducted by the EuroShop.mag team.

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