Customer Stories

A story of superlatives: Building Carrefour’s online store on VTEX IO

Sorana Gheorghiade
Sorana Gheorghiade July 22, 2021
A story of superlatives: Building Carrefour’s online store on VTEX IO

Carrefour Brazil has rebuilt its ecommerce, launching a new website with higher performance in order management, marketplace, and omnichannel services. An ambitious project to reach the ambitious goal of becoming the leading online grocery required a powerful new digital commerce solution. VTEX was chosen as the new platform and the migration of the entire ecommerce ecosystem of the retail giant from its previous provider began in November 2019. 

For their customer focus, Carrefour has a large palette of specific operations they perform on a daily basis, which had to be translated to VTEX in the slightest detail. Many people and cross functional teams were involved in the project, working remotely on the migration during the pandemic, piece by piece, and the whole group was closely managed by VTEX’s project management office. It has been a wonderfully ambitious ride delivered without delay—with a challenging environment due to the pandemic and on the verge of Black Friday—and you are now reading its finest insights. 

Carrefour is a French multinational corporation specialized in retail. Carrefour Brazil—which is the biggest market outside France—first expanded to the country in 1975 and today is one of the major supermarket chains in the country, selling more than 25 million products per year. With 817 stores in Brazil, including 241 hypermarkets and 41 supermarkets, Carrefour was a large migration project. According to the team of architects who made this process possible, sometimes migrations can be more complex than implementations, just as it is easier to buy a black car than getting a white one and paint afterward, but VTEX and Carrefour were up for the challenge.

As we worked through the first stage of the migration, the results started to show. Among the best, we can proudly count:

  • New and better ways to do promotions;
  • 30% growth in conversion rates;
  • 40.2 NPS of food in October (was 15 with the previous commerce platform);
  • Improved checkout experience with VTEX SmartCheckout, enabling one-click-buy for consumers without the need to enter a password, in a quick, simple and completely secure way;
  • Omnichannel and regionalized experiences, allows the consumer to choose the most convenient option (cost and time) to receive the product, either receiving at home directly from the store or picking up at a store of their choice;
  • More payment options for the consumer;
  • Autonomy in front-end developments; 
  • Continuous delivery methodology.

When you think big, you think of Carrefour

Carrefour Group’s annual national gross merchandise value is around 62 billion BRL, with 350 million BRL from online grocery shopping every year. This includes Carrefour’s online marketplace, which has 3000 third-party sellers and more than 4 million products. The goal of the VTEX team is to guarantee the success of Carrefour’s implementation, thus increasing the conversion rate and customer experience, for the retailer to outperform previous sales levels and operating margin. 

Meticulous migration of Carrefour’s data from the old platform to VTEX, was critical for a successful soft launch of the new online store and online marketplace in  mid-September. VTEX’s scalability and master-data-management capabilities made handling a large amount of data possible for Carrefour.

“We had to build an application to migrate all the catalogs from SAP-Hybris to VTEX. That was a huge challenge because of the time constraint, but we were ready to get the application live. And so we did.”

Jamal Almeida, VTEX Solution Architect

With VTEX, Carrefour has optimized both the customer’s purchase journey and the admin’s work for managing a customer-centric online marketplace and experience. In addition to having introduced a more personalized search based on the customer’s previous purchases, the platform offers click & collect as well as improved home delivery options, integrated POS tools and more. With this successful migration project, Carrefour aims to accelerate sales in Brazil despite the pandemic.

It’s a SKUs avalanche! 

7 million, to be precise, as of the 1st of October! And 13 million customers in the database, all successfully migrated to VTEX. Carrefour functions with two main operations: grocery and non-grocery, the latter covering everything from electronics to fashion and apparel. Fortunately, VTEX has the flexibility to adapt to Carrefour’s digital ways and easily integrate with their ecosystem of custom-built and third-party systems and solutions. 

Since VTEX is a cloud-native multi-tenant commerce platform, it is resilient and can scale dynamically to handle peak orders or volume traded. With their old platform, high traffic posed a challenge to Carrefour. Fortunately, VTEX automatically dispenses necessary resources to handle high traffic, cyber-events such as Black Fridays and all kinds of catalogs, irrespective of the shape and size.  

VTEX IO, our serverless and low-code development platform is designed to create scalable, production-ready web applications. With VTEX IO, merchants can combine pre-built services from VTEX with custom-built and third-party applications to build a truly tailored solution, one that fits the unique needs of their business. The beauty of VTEX IO is that not only you can plug in those third-party partners that have the solutions you need, but you can build your own applications and platform extensions. 

With VTEX, Carrefour was able to build truly headless mobile applications, where  the front-end customer experience and back-end commerce functions are decoupled and managed separately from one another. This enables Carrefour to unify experiences,   displaying the same promotions, prices and leveraging the same checkout system for both mobile and desktop interfaces. 

3, 2, 1, Implement! 

Together, the VTEX and Carrefour teams have meticulously accounted for and accommodated all the particularities of Carrefour’s ecommerce and online marketplace business and experiences. Besides the implementation process and overseeing every step of the migration, the VTEX solution architect team helped orchestrate Carrefour’s implementation and other technology partners to ensure a successful project. 

The VTEX Solution Architect team dedicated its time to help Carrefour implement the VTEX platform and improve their ecommerce experience altogether. After understanding their needs, VTEX and Carrefour decided that it made sense for VTEX to take a more technical approach to the Carrefour project, taking part in the decision-making process, as well as getting acquainted with other partners and participants that were part of the project. 

In the endeavor to ensure a successful migration and overcome  any issues along the way, VTEX built a strong relationship with the Carrefour team. No less than 16 external companies were involved in the migration, along with almost every single internal department in Carrefour. Additionally, the COVID-19 pandemic posed another challenge for the team. In normal circumstances, everyone would be in the same room together, seeing each other’s screen. Unfortunately, it didn’t happen, but it’s important to say that, although difficult, working remotely didn’t stop VTEX and Carrefour from delivering a successful migration on time.

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