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Digital Shopping Lists Keep Consumers and Retailers on Track

February 17, 2016 by John Ward 75

There are few aspects of domestic life more universal than food shopping. That’s true whether you live in Paris, Shanghai, or anywhere in between.

Planning daily meals and managing your food budget are top priorities in most families. And for many of us, the venerable shopping list remains a valuable tool. But these days, both consumers and retailers alike are turning to higher tech solutions to help them purchase the necessities of everyday life.

No More Scraps of Paper

The psychology behind the simple shopping list is pretty easy to understand. A list ensures you get everything you need while encouraging you to avoid impulse purchases and stay on budget.

Yet it seems the back of an envelope just isn’t good enough anymore.

Witness the growing number of mobile apps that let you keep shopping lists right on your smartphone. These apps can generate lists based on recipes, help you find coupons, keep track of items already in the pantry, and even let you share the shopping chores electronically with your roommates.

A 2015 survey revealed that 42% of cooks with smartphones use their phones in stores to access their lists as they shop. Among Millennials, it’s a whopping 60%.

Controlling Indirect Spend at One of the World’s Premier Retailers

However you do it, maintaining visibility and control over the things you buy all the time just makes good economic sense.

Retailers think so too, and now more and more companies use digital procurement solutions to help them save money and improve collaboration with suppliers.

Groupe Auchan, for example, is one of the larger retailers on the planet. Headquartered in France, Auchan’s global businesses include more than 1,770 hypermarkets and supermarkets. These stores offer consumers up 100,000 different food and non-food products.

It is retail on a massive scale, and Auchan must procure countless goods and services on a routine basis to keep its day-to-day operations running smoothly. In fact, Auchan spends about €4.5 billion on indirect purchases every year.

That’s some shopping list.

“In the past, we recognized that thousands of our employees made purchases without any real control or standardized method of optimizing costs,” says Pascal Delval, chief procurement officer at Groupe Auchan.

In response, Auchan created a centralized organization to handle all of the company’s indirect purchasing. It established nine buying offices around the world – all of which use SAP Ariba solutions.

Today, Auchan manages a full 66% of its indirect spend with these solutions. “We have deployed the same best practices everywhere in the world,” notes Delval, “and we have more than 15,000 suppliers in our catalogs.”

This standardized approach lets Auchan buyers and the company’s suppliers work together on developing new ways to create savings. But reducing the cost on specific goods and services is only one of the organization’s goals. “Greater visibility also helps us make sure that every purchase is really necessary,” notes Delval. “At Auchan, we joke that the best purchase is the one you don’t make.”

A Common Vision

Groupe Auchan continues to grow its operations in 17 countries around the world – from Poland and Portugal to Taiwan and Tunisia.

“We share a common vision among our 34 different business units,” says Delval. “We want to answer the needs of every customer, in every country, with the most appropriate choice of products and services.”

This is great news if you are among the millions of families who grocery shop at any one of Groupe Auchan’s many outlets.

Just don’t forget your shopping list.

Please join me on Twitter at @JohnGWard3.

You might also like:

  • To learn more about Groupe Auchan’s use of sourcing and procure-to-pay solutions in this video and Business Transformation Study.
  • And check out this cool article from the UK’s Daily Mail that photographically compares the weekly grocery shopping of families from two dozen countries around the world.

This story originally appeared on SAP Business Trends.

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