Appealing to local appetites.

SPAR ICS embraces digital retailing to accommodate regional shopping tastes using Adobe Experience Cloud.

Company Logo



SPAR in 1932
Employees: 400
Salzburg, Austria


Increase in number of customers



Eliminate digital siloes

Address shifts in industry, market and trade practices

Adopt country-specific strategies that embody local culture

Personalise the customer journey


50% increase in number of customers

Better shopping experience for higher sales

Support for global expansion

Maintain innovation and industry leadership

“We anchor our company strategy around customer experiences. Adobe Experience Cloud gives us the tools to create personalised and consistent digital journeys.”

Andreas Kranabitl

Managing Director, SPAR ICS

The changing face of retail

The retail industry is one of the most highly affected by digital disruption. As the influence of connected consumers grows, traditional business models are adapting to new ways of engaging with customers.

SPAR Information and Communication Services (ICS) has always embraced innovation. As the incumbent IT arm of the SPAR Group, the European retailer specialising in, among other things, grocery and convenience shops, SPAR ICS is considered a pioneer in e-commerce. In fact, SPAR ICS was the first to introduce EDI scanner tills to the retail market in Europe and also founded the Digital Innovation Forum, which independently drives digital retailing.

“In the face of changing shopping habits and customer expectations, technology is now at the core of the business,” says Andreas Kranabitl, Managing Director, SPAR ICS. “Digitalisation has provided us with many opportunities, but we must be able to capitalise on them.”

As SPAR expands, it is met with greater competition, while impending changes in European trade pose further challenges to the business. SPAR ICS saw digital engagement as the way to attract and retain customers and drive ongoing growth.

“Adobe Experience Manager gives us a central platform for delivering digital experiences that are relevant across all local customer touchpoints.”

Oliver Simmerstatter

Enterprise Architect, SPAR ICS

Food for thought

SPAR ICS wanted to help differentiate the company’s offerings, particularly in the grocery space, which is subject to local customs and preferences. “The way food is purchased in Italy is very different from the way people shop in Austria,” explains Kranabitl. “Understanding local customers’ behaviours and expectations will help us offer the right product at the right price in the right country.”

SPAR ICS decided to build out its digital foundation and expand its existing Adobe Experience Manager footprint. This approach would also eliminate duplicate processes caused by multiple toolsets that lacked integration—which effectively created digital siloes across the organisation.

In addition to using Adobe Experience Manager Assets to manage approximately 500,000 internal assets for internal communications and marketing, SPAR ICS added the Sites capability in Adobe Experience Manager to create, manage and deliver content to the local landing pages in Austria, Hungary, Slovenia, Italy and Croatia. Using these Adobe tools SPAR brands can maintain a consistent look and feel and offer value-added features such as recipe portals to enhance overall shopping experiences.

“Adobe Experience Manager gives us a central platform for delivering digital experiences that are relevant across all local customer touchpoints,” says Oliver Simmerstatter, Enterprise Architect, SPAR ICS. “This enables us to be much more efficient in our operations.”

From web to table

Serving up local content alone isn’t enough, so SPAR ICS relies on Adobe Analytics for further insights into what customers want in their respective geographies. The intelligence gathered is then used to determine how SPAR ICS can improve the customer journey. For example, healthy eating is at the forefront of many customers’ minds and so is price.

“We want customers to eat well so they can live well,” says Simmerstatter. “Adobe Analytics helps us to understand what consumers are looking for so we can provide the best experiences.”

To further personalise the shopping journey, SPAR ICS uses the Recommendations and Search and Promote capabilities in Adobe Target to link searches on web pages with relevant e-commerce opportunities. “Creating an exceptional customer experience through relevant offerings is critical to our success,” adds Kranabitl. “We are building on our track record for innovation to maintain our leadership and will continue to push the business forward as it grows.”

An appetite for change

The use of Adobe Experience Cloud has enabled SPAR ICS to expand its digital foundation, with results that can clearly be tracked back to its efforts. In Vienna, a SPAR store featuring digital signage, electronic shelving and self-checkouts has seen a 50% increase in customers due to the ease of shopping experience—leading to higher sales.

This early success is just the beginning for SPAR ICS. The organisation is working with Adobe Customer Solutions to determine how challenges associated with delivery logistics can be addressed through digitalisation and discussing future integration between the content and identity management systems. SPAR ICS is also considering Adobe Campaign for channel marketing and Adobe Audience Manager for third-party data integration.

“We anchor our company strategy around customer experiences,” says Kranabitl. “Adobe Experience Cloud gives us the tools to create personalised and consistent digital journeys. As a business unit serving the needs of SPAR, we have moved from purely a support role into being strategically important because of our digital transformation.”

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