Continente goes online in Portugal
Portuguese grocery chain Continente has entered Portugal's developing online market. The company has taken the Tesco route to home deliveries, using existing bricks and mortar stores, as opposed to the more usual (in the US, anyway) practice of opening special 'picking' warehouses from which customers' orders are despatched.
Nearest store The model used is uncomplicated: when Continente receives an order online, it is automatically routed to the customer's nearest bricks and mortar store. The order is filled with products from the local store's shelves and delivered to the customer by refrigerated van for a nominal delivery fee.
Consistency Continente has decided to maintain consistency between its online and off-line operations. Over three quarters of the company's 20,000 food products in its stores are available online. If a product is not available instore, special software ensures that it won't appear on the web site. The software also ensures Continente's promotions and pricing are the same both on- and off-line.
Out of the box Continente wanted to establish an Internet presence quickly and so used an out-of-the-box solution that integrated with its brick and mortar pricing, inventory and promotional operations without requiring an extensive integration team. For this, Continente chose Blue Martini Software's external Customer Relationship Management (eCRM) applications and expertise.
Because many of Continente's customers are working parents with little time to spare, the site had to be easy to use. If the site was slow or poorly designed, Continente would stand to lose its target audience.
Shrewd approach "Continente has taken a shrewd approach to the online grocery business," said Monte Zweben, president and CEO of Blue Martini Software. "Realizing its primary business will continue to come from its brick and mortar stores in the foreseeable future, Continente is prepared for growth both with its online presence and with [online] promotions that drive traffic into its bricks and mortar stores."
Continente has already established itself as the highest volume online grocer in Portugal. Today, its online business serves four regions, including Lisbon, Porto, the Algarve, and Coimbra.