Welkoop has a colourful history, which dates back to 1896 and the time of farming corporations. In the meantime, Welkoop has developed into a contemporary chain that focuses on modern life outdoors. Welkoop has 154 shops and circa 1,200 employees; an average of 1,000 m2 of sales area per shop and circa 10,000 items in stock. Welkoop uses the motto ‘Expertise in gardens and animals’ to offer a comprehensive range, expert advice and service with a smile. Agri Retail is the organisation that runs Welkoop shops. The head office and distribution centre in Ede features around 100 employees, who all work hard to further improve the market position of all affiliated shops. Agri Retail helps franchise-holders with assistance and advice in relation to formula management, category management, marketing, HR and professional IT support. The old sales system had reached its limits after 11 years of service. The system had become technically obsolete and complicated. This resulted in general sluggishness, high costs, difficulty in adding new functionality and user unfriendliness. People also wanted to connect to new shopping methods, where customers decide where they get their information and how they complete their transactions. That is why a platform was needed which could combine physical shops with the online world. It was also important to improve the experience of customers. In February 2013, a multi-disciplinary work group featuring independent franchisers and participants from Agruniek Rijnvallei, Agrifirm and Agri Retail started to oversee the selection.
A Request for Proposal procedure was reached to go from a long list to a short list featuring 2 providers. Both providers were given the opportunity to demonstrate their solution via a Proof of Concept based on a prescribed script. In October 2013, Valk Solutions, and its cross-channel retail platform ASPOS, was declared the winner. This case study addresses the approach after this decision and the benefits realised for Welkoop.