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The Data Revolution of Association Groups


In Germany alone, DER MITTELSTANDSVERBUND counts 320 Association Groups from 45 sectors with approximately 230,000 medium-sized companies. They generate annual revenues in the mid triple-digit billions. Although their existence remains largely hidden from the general public, it is likely that almost everyone has already bought from a member of the association such as REWE, Hagebau, Intersport or euronics.

The central idea behind the voluntary merger of companies is to increase their profitability by taking advantage of synergy effects. Due to the increasing competition, the changing sales and advertising possibilities and rapid market development, however, medium-sized retail companies currently have to overcome special hurdles. Trendy topics such as digitization, intelligent data usage and omni-channel strategies are increasingly coming to the fore.

As of this year, minubo is an official partner of ServiCon, the service company of the Association Groups and Franchise Systems as well as the commercial sister company of the association of DER MITTELSTANDSVERBUND. With its intelligent data analysis, minubo, as part of the ServiCon network, not only supports the individual members in increasing efficiency and sales, but also opens up the possibility to the association itself to open up new branches of business. Therefore, minubo enables a data-driven integrated Culture with attractive framework agreements through their partner ServiCon.


The Challenges of Medium-sized Retail

Even though the cooperation principle is still generally a successful model, the Association Groups often lack a functioning digital business model which is particularly relevant for the future. The specific task of an association, such as INTERSPORT, is to tackle digitization together with the individual independent dealers. For INTERSPORT, digitization means that INTERSPORT members are brought together by new, digitally-based structures, and even more intensive cooperation with partners and suppliers through faster information flows and greater use of their own data to increase performance.

Günther Althaus (former president, DER MITTELSTANDVERBUND) correctly said: "Whoever has the data has the power. Nothing determines business success more. The middle class threatens to fall behind" (Association Group year 2018/2019). The cooperation, which was once based on a shopping community and, in particular, material resources, can thus also be of great use for dealing with digital trends and technologies. The networking, including the knowledge capital of the individual members of the association, as well as the bundling of valuable data determine the future perspectives of retail.

Often, however, there is a lack of overarching platforms and technologies. Few centers of association also take the topic of "intelligent data usage" - in-house - into their own hands. There are ready-to-use complete solutions such as minubo, which set the course for a competitive future and are less costly and lengthy in terms of the project implementation: minubo is revolutionizing data analysis for Association Groups and thus supporting the digital transformation of SMEs.


More Success in Digital Networking with minubo

Two of the strongest Association Groups - the ANWR Group (with platforms like schuhe.de and Sport2000) and Intersport - already have a partnership with minubo. The goal: to master the process of digitization, and thus the balancing act between online business and brick-and-mortar retail, in the best possible way and to exploit untapped potential. The Business Intelligence solution acts as a central analysis tool and provides real-time data not only to the head office but also to individual dealers.

Of course, the usage of the solution is intuitive and easily accessible to every employee in the company. The data from the various sources (webshop, POS system, ERP system, etc.) is either initially collected centrally and bundled for further analysis to minubo, or delivered separately from the individual dealers. Centralized validation ensures that the data from the various sources is robust, reliable and meaningful. Specifically, the information has little meaning, only through the large database and the joint processing does it play an important role when it comes to the interpretation of trends or market developments.

Constant monitoring of the order processes, processing times, cancellations and incoming returns on the trading platforms by the central office enables rapid intervention and continuous optimization of the processes together with the dealers. Specifically derived recommendations for action help to increase performance: If, for example, an increase in the returns rate at a dealer is observed, the center can provide important suggestions to help them to position themselves optimally.

The focus is therefore on a customer-oriented dealer organization, in which the focus is not on the head office, but on the customer and dealer. In addition, the locations (for example, regional) can use anonymized benchmarking to compare data on product and category performance as well as centrally managed marketing measures, thus reacting faster to assortment decisions and optimization campaigns.

On the one hand, this leads to potential increases in efficiency and sales, and on the other to significant cost advantages. Members who have neither the resources, the know-how nor the budget for data analysis and management have the opportunity to benefit from these services, as well as strategic support, all for a low monthly fee charged by headquarters.

It is also interesting for the head office itself, which can develop a further business area in addition to focusing on a functioning and modern omni-channel offering from the diversity of its members' data. Due to the large volume of the total data of all dealers, for example, relevant supplier evaluations can be carried out: Which brand has which market share in which product group? Information that gives manufacturers and brands significant added value in their positioning and a competitive advantage.

Through transparent data analysis, central reporting and a data-driven integrated culture, medium-sized businesses can reposition themselves and thus expand their competitive advantage. Only through the cooperation of the regional members is it possible to achieve a significant digital reach, which enables real participation in the growing online retail business.

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