Kaufland is preparing for its grocery ecommerce launch in Berlin with the discounter now taking registrations for the new service.

Kaufland's Eastern European business joins EMD buying alliance

The German grocery retailer has added a point of service finder to its webpage. It welcomes online visitors to ‘Kaufland Delivery’ and asks people to register and receive a personal access code.

With personal access, the retailer offers exclusive benefits, such as a coupon for your first purchase and free shipping, fresh food that matches in-store prices and home delivery six days a week.

News of Kaufland’s grocery ecommerce aspirations emerged earlier this year, indicating a plan to go online by 2017.

By June, it was reported that Kaufland would ensure a broad product assortment within this offer, including fresh food.

Receptive market

Berlin is strategically important for Kaufland. A major city, with over 3.5 million inhabitants and competitors such as Rewe and Tengelmann already active in the online channel.

Amazon is also active, with Berlin a likely next step for its Amazon Fresh service.

In addition, there are several start-ups trading in the online grocery space, ensuring the Berlin population is receptive to online retailing.

Kaufland simply cannot afford to sit back and lose market share – this is an essential strategic investment.

Kaufland simply cannot afford to sit back and lose market share – this is an essential strategic investment.

Of particular interest is the fulfilment method. With Kaufland promising service to the front door between the hours of 0700 and 2200, this will be an expensive operation for a low-cost operator – with prices the same as found in-store.

This does not preclude the opportunity for a click & collect model in the future, however; Berlin is a city dominated by flat-dwelling and lower than average car ownership.

Winning in this city will mean a fulfilment model that accommodates this.

Separately, news emerged recently of Kaufland considering a grocery e-commerce operation in Poland. The imminent launch in Berlin will therefore help to shape future developments.

  • David Gordon is research director at Planet Retail