Building food’s one-stop-shop and a media powerhouse

As online food retail is catching up with brick and mortar stores, user experience has become paramount. The winning recipe integrates sales, content, and customer insight.

K Group partnered with Reaktor to provide their grocery customers with one online presence, K-Ruoka.fi, and to create a new media platform that provides a personal channel for customers to carry in their pockets anywhere they go.

The user experience sets a new industry standard. Using machine learning and AI algorithms, the service recommends products, recipes, and food types, based on the user’s purchase history in brick and mortar stores and online. Modern and agile content marketing, made possible by a new CMS, guarantees that the visitor stays not only for the food but also the best-in-class content.

Highlights

  • One site solution for Kesko’s digital services and store chains
  • Implementation of machine learning for search and recommendations
  • Agile, multi-channel content marketing that guides the customer from inspiration to order, and lastly, cooking
  • Growth in digital channel users up 44 percent (2019); traffic from search engines up 40 percent; online store sales up 106 percent (2019); NPS up 13 percentage points from 2018. Revenue up from under 10M€ in 2016 to more than 100M€ in 2020

Grocery shopping, reimagined

Turning a niche trend into an integral part of grocery retail

In 2016, online food shopping showed some promise, but its role in retail was minimal. As part of their strategy, K Group set a target for a significant improvement in online customer experience. 

Fast forward to 2020. Kesko’s online store sees weekly growth figures of up to 800 percent, and K-retailers have gained unprecedented online visibility for their offers and content. The online store can sustain huge traffic spikes without flinching, which was demonstrated during the huge volumes due to COVID-19. 

Kesko has established a long-term partnership with Reaktor to build a state of the art solution for both their online store and their leading food media. At the core of the partnership are agile ways of working, executed by multifunctional teams. Everything is done in close cooperation with marketing and business development, giving us the chance to respond to changes quickly. 

So far, we’ve together made a total overhaul of Kesko’s online presence. The new site provides a tailored service for customers via product, recipe, and food type recommendations based on machine learning. To top it all off, Kesko’s talented content marketers now have a new CMS to support their modern, multi-channel content production and sharing fully.

“Reaktor has proven to have strong capabilities to help us in building digital services and accelerating our growth. Reaktor has helped us to implement a new solution and supported us in developing our ways of working. We’re looking forward to creating even more personalized, relevant, and intuitive services with Reaktor in the coming years.”

Arto Hiltunen, CIO

Get the grocery shopping experience online

Enter K-Ruoka.fi and whet your appetite

As the customer steps into K-Ruoka.fi, they have the full Kesko experience at their fingertips. The stores, recipes, food, articles – it’s all there in one place.

Find inspiration in food, guided by AI

It can be overwhelming to browse such a huge selection of food and content. Less so with the aid of an AI. Our visitors get just the right curation they appreciate.

Start shopping directly from first-in-class content

There’s nothing like reading a captivating article or admiring a delicious photo. But it’s even better when you can go directly shopping from the content you’re browsing.

Place an order and get your groceries to your front door

An online grocery shopping experience should save time, not waste it. At K-Ruoka.fi, it takes only moments to fill your cart, place your order, and get the food delivered to your front door.

A true one-stop-shop

Media and a marketplace for consumers and retailers alike

At the beginning of our development process, Kesko’s online presence was divided between five different websites: recipes, online store, and content situated at KRuoka.fi, and each of Kesko’s four store chains had their own site. The focus was shifted from the organization’s needs to serve better those of the customers’. 

The remade customer path takes the visitor directly from inspiration to buying and finally cooking delicious food. Thanks to the rigorous consulting of customers and store owners, both old and young, the customers’ journey online is now easier than ever.

Marrying up Kesko’s online store with K-Ruoka’s mouth-watering content makes the journey inspirational throughout: Our solution integrates the content in a way that a visitor can, for example, easily jump from offers, ideas, and articles to ordering food. 

Since K-Retailers (store owners) are the heart and soul of Kesko’s business, it needs to be reflected on the website, too. Consolidating K-Retailers’ presence online strengthened Kesko’s already iconic brand, while store owners were given their well-earned place in every nook and cranny of the new K-Ruoka.fi.

 

AI-powered curation

On-point content and food recommendations at your service

 

Browsing through over 20,000 items or hundreds of recipes in an online store can become an insurmountable task. To save Kesko’s customers’ precious time and give them impeccable recommendations, Kesko’s services are now boosted with a healthy dose of AI-powered algorithms.

Implementing machine learning in K-Ruoka.fi enables us to learn about users’ and similar users’ preferences by looking at their purchases in brick and mortar and online stores. This allows us to learn and relearn what the customer truly appreciates. The service can also auto-generate shopping lists, recipes, and food type recommendations based on the user’s choices. 

Arriving at our solution required a strong joint implementation project between Reaktor and Kesko. This also meant getting aboard non-data scientists who often know what challenges need to be solved in the client organization, hence coming up with the best suggestions. 

Identifying where AI can be harnessed to solve business-specific needs can be challenging – and sometimes the hardest part is defining the problem. For example, how to personalize food and offer recommendations? Often, we figured the best solution is to use an existing algorithm: in the case of personalization, we based our solution on what other similar customers have bought. 

 

Content that sells

Driving sales directly from content that’s easy to publish

Kesko has a long tradition of best-in-class content marketing, both offline and online. Keeping the top position in Finland after the project was of utmost importance. To come out top, Kesko’s digital marketing was build around easing people’s everyday lives via personal and intuitive service. 

The new content strategy is based on a firm understanding of how people arrive at the site and use it. The strategy is backed up by Kesko’s precise customer data and five identified customer groups with differing media usage and preferences.

To execute the new content strategy, a modern CMS suitable for agile, multi-channel content marketing was necessary. Contentful was chosen because it’s flexible and enables simultaneous entries to both the website and the K-Ruoka application. The systems in place don’t only run smoother; they also allow selling directly from content and filling the shopping cart straight from recipes.

In the end, content is as good as it’s relevant to the reader. Creating recommendations manually is very laborious, so AI is now being used for such a menial task. And importantly, machine learning also supports each customer’s individual goals – whether those are related to sustainability, domesticity, or health.

“During the partnership with Reaktor, our e-commerce has soared, which can be seen in all major performance indicators. K-Ruoka.fi's sales have grown almost 400 percent compared to 2019, NPS has stayed high at 80, and we are now the market leader in online grocery shopping. To keep the leading position, constant development is necessary, and for that, we need partners like Reaktor.”

Antti Rajala, eCom & Digital Services

Our Contributions

  • UX and visual design
  • Full-stack development
  • Integration to critical 3rd party systems such as online payment, delivery, POS, product information management
  • AI-driven algorithms for recommendation service
  • DevOps
  • Continuous deployment
  • Overhaul of CMS to fully support modern, multi-channel content production
  • Introduction of a custom-built order management system (OMS)
  • Growth Engineering and growth team building

Interested?

Let's take the next step together.