Personalised portals for 1,500 retail companies

EK Netherlands (formerly Euretco) is the largest retail service organisation in the Netherlands. They work with 1,500 entrepreneurs in the home, fashion, sports, DIY and book sectors. EK supports these entrepreneurs both in-store and online.

Released 2022

A retail organisation uses many different systems, such as a system for stock, cash registers, purchasing, support and internal communication. Euretco aims to link these systems in one personalised mine environment, per organisation and even per branch. In this web and mobile application, users can easily find all information from the previously different systems: the EK SPA (Single Point of Access).

 
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Single Point of Access for users

Whether it’s new discount offers, shop stock or support, users need 1 login to 1 system to find all information. This saves them a lot of time and effort, which they can now put into what really matters: serving customers and turning over sales. In addition, when working with 1 system, you minimise errors. By not storing information in different places and making it editable, you increase the consistency of your data.

 

“With Ciphix, we realised a central communication portal that serves more than 1,500 entrepreneurs from various retail sectors. Each with its own identity, but still centrally manageable.” –Lisanne Redczus, Manager Customer Touchpoints

Internal communication is key

A retail company can sometimes have dozens of branches, with hundreds of employees. Being able to communicate smoothly with each other internally is therefore very important to work as efficiently as possible. Employees can send each other notifications with tasks, but also share information via the knowledge base. Lessons learned from one branch can come in handy in another branch. In addition, the head office can easily send information to all branches: for example, internal changes, discount offers and general announcements.

 

White label personal portal by organisation

It is important for users to feel like they are in their own organisation’s environment. Therefore, a white-label environment is designed for each organisation, with its own house style. An organisation with multiple branches can also add its own clusters. For example, each branch of Intersport has its own environment with customised functionalities. The user thus has a perfectly personalised environment, with only information that is really relevant.

 

Application available via web and mobile

Users on the shop floor do not always have access to a computer or laptop. That is why we also developed a mobile-friendly app for EK, allowing them to access the mine environment anywhere, anytime. This app was developed in Mendix Native Mobile for iOS and Android, making it perfectly suited to both operating systems technically and in terms of UX. The mobile app is of course linked to the web application, ensuring that they always correspond to each other.

 

Application requirements

At the outset, a set of requirements has been identified for the MVP, first going live of the application:

  • Start by merging: intranet, helpdesk (support) and knowledge base. This was followed by the linking of the POS and inventory system.
  • With 190 branches, retail chain HUBO becomes the first organisation in the application. The application is then rolled out among Intersport and the other companies.
  • A smoothly functioning native mobile app for iOS and Android is required for going live.

Implementation of Mendix

Low-code platform Mendix was used to link the systems and build the web and mobile application. This allowed the application to be built technically fast and is fully scalable. Without the intervention of developers, EK can add new companies joining the service platform. 

 

Result

Within 4 months, a web application and a Native Android and iOS mobile app were developed in collaboration with EK. The app was rolled out at the largest retailer HUBO, linking the following systems: intranet, helpdesk (support) and the knowledge base. Other systems and retail organisations will follow in further development.

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