Fressnapf Group and IBM digitally address all pet lovers
Fressnapf Group and IBM iX are working together in a strategic partnership to connect the online world with branches and thus create a lighthouse project for the successful digitisation of the retail company. The extensive “Fressnapf-Challenge” strategy programme includes the development of an agile organisation and the creation of a digital platform. The focus will be on customer loyalty both online and in personal sales contacts.
While pet owners were strongly focused on stationary retail until a few years ago, this situation has changed in recent years, as has been the case in numerous other retail sectors. For the pet supply business, it means keeping pace with the new requirements of its customers and direct its business model and customer approach towards the future. The Fressnapf Group is also facing this challenge. In 2025, the company aims to be the partner No. 1 for all pet-related topics – offline and online. Data-driven professional and personal customer service should provide the basis, which is aligned along the customer needs and the pet’s lifecycle. Whether it’s information about certain pet diets, questions about dog schools, tips on pet care or the search for the nearest veterinarian or a good pet hotel – moving forward, pet owners should be able to find all of this at Fressnapf on every touchpoint.
Business by Design as the key to digital transformation
Fressnapf teamed up with IBM iX, the business design arm of IBM Services, to achieve these goals and, in addition to building an agile organisation, to drive forward the development of a digital platform. “The IBM iX team is not only a competent partner for us, they are also trustworthy. During the digitisation process, we operate at the heart of Fressnapf. For our customers, we undertake these efforts to be able to offer a broad customer experience. That’s why we invest tens of millions every year in the digitisation of the company, the IT infrastructure and our employees. And a partner who wants to follow this path with us must have the same understanding and the passion required for this task,” explains Benjamin Beinroth, Senior Vice President IT & Processes / Member of the Extended Management Board at the Fressnapf Group.
IBM iX was selected because of its approach, which goes beyond the mere development of certain digital solutions: “Successful digital transformation is far more than just the sequencing of a webshop and digital sales assistant. It’s all about rethinking business models and actively shaping change processes. To achieve this, entrepreneurial and creative capabilities must be brought together – this is where IBM comes in,” says Matthias Hartmann, CEO of IBM Germany.
With the credo “Business by Design” and the IBM Garage methodology, the IBM iX teams around the world work according to a consistently user-oriented and collaborative model that involves the customer in the process right from the start.
Focus on expanding digital tools for employees and customers
The two partners face exciting and demanding challenges. The existing e-commerce platform is to be further developed and expanded on the basis of SAP Customer Experience. Another important chapter is the expansion of digital tools for employees and customers. These will be implemented through microservices and thus enable reusability in additional digital projects. One example is the digital employee assistant MIA, which can be used on mobile devices in the store as well as in the back office. Thanks to MIA, staff can quickly and competently provide information on customer enquiries at any time.
Fressnapf selected the IBM Cloud as the technological platform for agile development and the productive environment. There are more than enough ideas for a complete digital integration and both sides are convinced that the “Fressnapf Challenge” will be mastered together. Fressnapf founder Torsten Toeller emphasises the same: “IBM iX absolutely convinced us with its holistic view of our business. Scaling is extremely important for us and with IBM we are perfectly positioned to react quickly, but also to be able to scale”.
The Fressnapf Group is the market leader in pet supplies in Europe. The enterprise was created 1990 by owner Torsten Toeller in Erkelenz (North-Rhine/Westphalia). To the entrepreneurial group belong today more than 1,600 specialized markets in eleven European countries (there usually under the name Maxi zoo) and more than 12,000 persons employed. Modern markets, competent advice, attractive prices, a wide range of services and an online shop are making the Fressnapf Group more and more a cross-channel retailer. Today, the group has an annual turnover of more than two billion euros. The Fressnapf group is promoter of different, non-profit animal protection projects and constantly develops its social commitment for the relationship between humans and animal. The mission is: We do everything we can to make the coexistence of man and animal easier, better and happier.