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The first end-to-end, on-demand, omni-commerce solution for the grocery retail industry is now available in the U.S., courtesy of a strategic investment that Sterling, Va.-based EnterWorks Holding Company has made in Digital Foodie Ltd., Finland.
EnterWorks, a leading software provider for master data management (MDM) and product information management (PIM) solutions, announced today that its investment in Digital Foodie Ltd., a software firm that operates across Europe, will enable a swift and scalable expansion of Digital Foodie’s omni-commerce cloud platform that powers on-demand ordering, personalized shopping planning, digital commerce, order management, and efficient fulfillment for small, medium and large grocery retailers. The combined strengths of the two companies provides what they describe as the first offering that provides all-encompassing content and management for manufacturers, wholesalers and retailers. The strategy connects the sophisticated, but typically back-end content with the more consumer-focused elements of shopper engagement to create a seamless solution for both retailer and shopper.
There was a natural fit between the EnterWorks’ strength in MDM and PIM solutions, and Digital Foodie’s desire to accelerate its on-demand grocery and food penetration in new markets, particularly North America.
“Product data scrubbing had been very time consuming for us, and we needed to both speed it up and scale it up. EnterWorks was able to speed up the process dramatically,” says Kalle Koutajoki, co-founder and CEO of Digital Foodie. “While we have good scale in Europe – with both large and small retailers – we saw an opportunity through EnterWorks of having an instant presence in the U.S. EnterWorks’ investment will also allow us to further develop our platform, to speed localization efforts.”
While the U.S. grocery retailers understand consumer demand for digital shopping solutions, most remain cowed by the complexity of the process and the unknowns of bridging the gaps. What’s missing from U.S. omnicommerce solutions, says Koutajoki, is the ability to bring the back-end and customer experience tools together. “There’s been a lot of trials and tests with retailers in the U.S., but most miss the overall view of how it plays together; it’s usually separate vendors that work together. I don’t see any providers that have all the elements on one platform the way we do.”
Rick Chavie, CEO of EnterWorks, says that “those who have tried omnichannel have struggled with bridging the physical store with online, click and collect, mobile, all the content – which is dynamic and complex. Our goal is to make it so easy and integrated that with a push of a button, you can have your groceries – even anticipated purchases – delivered to your home.”
Both agree that to make money with an omnichannel solution, retailers need to have a fully integrated process, and one that works to support the retailer and its products. “An external solution provider on top of a retailer’s existing business isn’t integrated enough,” says Koutajoki. “We help retailers optimize the correct inventory for both online and in-store, as well as the pricing of products. We offer the ability to create deep personalization for the customer, but put control in the hands of the grocer, rather than a third party. It’s something we’ve been doing in Finland for some time,” and why the digital grocery market in Finland is at 6 percent penetration compared 1 % of grocery sales in the U.S.
Digital Food’s cloud platform powers the largest Finnish grocer, S-Group, and has been deployed in more than 1,100 stores in Europe, ranging from hyper-markets to grocery stores and convenience stores. In the U.S., IGA stores including Wynn’s Market in Florida, will be the first to roll out the Digital Food platform.
While the company sees tremendous opportunity in the lagging grocery retail space, it will also extend to other retail markets in the U.S., such as electronics and home goods sectors.
EnterWorks Holding Company was acquired in 2015 by Black Dragon Capital, a technology-focused private equity fund.