Built in only four months, the new Makro webshop offers an easy and fast way to make a purchase in one flow.

MakroShop wanted their site was to stand out – and not be “just another e-commerce website.” Working with Sitecore partner, The Reference, they met their goals in less than four months.

Challenge

MakroShop’s website represents the full end-to-end e-commerce branch of one of Belgium’s largest “Cash and Carry” resellers. The target audience includes both private as professional users, and each have their own specific product catalogues.

MakroShop wanted their site was to stand out – and not be “just another e-commerce website.” Makro (part of the Metro Group), has six physical mega stores in Belgium. They wanted their e-commerce platform to represent an online retail view that encompassed their physical mega stores. There were three main challenges:

  1. Product offering should be a data flow that is continuously injected in the e-commerce platform.
  2. Pricing and stock information should be available as in the actual stores. The total of these 12 data flows should also be continuously injected in the e-commerce platform.
  3. The available cash register systems have to be used to generate the invoices of the online sales. All procedures and databases at Makro are based on Oracle 9.

In addition, the company wanted to launch a brand new and successful medium to generate sales, with an optimal use of all the backend systems in place.

Solution

Working with Sitecore partner, The Reference, MakroShop chose Sitecore as the platform for their new site, based on the following reasons:

  • An open system was a must because many connections with the backend systems needed being created: going from over 10,000 product synchronizations to generating the online invoice.
  • Given the challenges of a high traffic site, a load balanced solution was required. The final implementation has four servers: two load balanced frontend delivery servers, one authoring server and one database server.

The Reference customized Sitecore:

  • A vast amount of caching was implemented in this 4-server setup. In order to realize this, the Sitecore caching mechanisms have been extended.
  • In order to have correct real time information, the Sitecore publishing queue was extended to destroy and create a new version of product information, but without destroying and having to rebuild the whole cache.
  • For product management, where all products originate from the Makro back office systems, the Sitecore UI was extended to create a custom tabbed view, with pricing, stock and other information that is stored in an external SQL Server database. This UI extension made it possible to generate a single Sitecore CMS look and feel, where the content is partially stored in Sitecore and partially externally.

Result

Built in only four months, the new Makro webshop offers an easy and fast way to make a purchase in one flow. Considering the Makro culture, which lives and breathes “cash and carry”, the experience for both the end user as Makro as a company is a strong evolution.  In just three weeks after the launch the targets defined by clients for the first phase of the project were achieved. An increase in sales is definitely noticeable. The results have helped Makro in defining the next steps of their sales strategy. The website is supported in both Dutch and French.