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Electronic data exchange with coop

EDI in the Swiss wholesale and retail sector

Alongside Migros, the Coop Group is the most important retail and wholesale company in Switzerland. The Group includes the Prodega, Growa, and Howeg pick-up stores. With around 2.5 million members, the Coop Group is organized as a cooperative and generates annual sales of around 27 billion Swiss francs. In terms of membership, this makes it the largest consumer cooperative in Switzerland and one of the largest groups of companies in the Swiss retail sector. In 2019, Coop employed 90,000 people, including just under 25,000 in the food retail sector in Switzerland.


coop WebEDI portal

Early establishment of an EDI system for supplier integration

The Coop Group began building an EDI system back in the early 2000s, primarily for supplier integration. More than 2,000 EDI connections for electronic data interchange were already implemented in 2003. To integrate smaller suppliers with low document volumes, Coop offers a free online EDI portal designed to increase the digitization rate in data exchange with suppliers. Globally, however, EDI portals of this type are increasingly losing their appeal: the multiple entry of relevant business data is still associated with manual effort and a high error rate.

EDIFACT data exchange with Coop headquarters and the national subsidiaries

Today, Coop is increasingly active worldwide. The retail chain, which is headquartered in Switzerland, comprises business units in Sweden, Hungary, Italy, the Netherlands, and Denmark. Softzoll has been carrying out a significant number of fully comprehensive EDI integration projects for both Swiss and German suppliers for some time. The most important of these projects include the establishment of fully automated EDIFACT data exchange with the company’s Swiss headquarters.

The most common EDI processes in this context (CH) are:

The main EDIFACT message types used at the Coop headquarters in Switzerland:

  • Coop CH rcv ORDERS: Orders from Coop Switzerland
  • Coop CH snd ORDRSP: Order confirmations to Coop Switzerland
  • Coop CH snd DESADV: Delivery notes to Coop Switzerland
  • Coop CH snd INVOIC:  Invoices to Coop Switzerland

The European branches of the Coop Group are also increasingly being integrated by means of EDI processes, with electronic data exchange with Coop Denmark, in particular, being stepped up. Here, too, as in all other European national subsidiaries, Coop relies on the digital exchange of documents using EDIFACT formats.

The main EDIFACT message types used at Coop Denmark:

  • Coop DK rcv ORDERS: Orders from Coop Denmark
  • Coop DK snd DESADV: Delivery notes to Coop Denmark
  • Coop DK snd INVOIC:  Invoices to Coop Switzerland
  • Coop DK snd CONTRL: Receipt to Coop Denmark

In the course of the European homogenization of electronic EDI processing, the suppliers also feel compelled to initiate further European EDI data connections as part of their business relations with the Coop Group.

Other EDIFACT message types used in Europe by Coop

  • Coop SE rcv ORDERS: Orders from Coop Sweden
  • Coop SE snd INVOIC: Invoices to Coop Sweden
  • Coop NL snd DESAV: Delivery notes to Coop Netherlands

For EDI data exchange with Coop Denmark, the EDI process CONTRL must also be implemented (see above). By sending the CONTRL EDIFACT message, the supplier acknowledges the successful receipt of a preceding EDIFACT ORDERS order from Coop.

TRADACOM: National standard for the UK

In contrast to the continental European EDI connections, Coop UK relies on the UK-specific EDI format TRADACOMS for the electronic data exchange with its business partners:

TRADACOM message types used in the UK by Coop

  • Coop UK rcv ORDHDR: Orders from the UK
  • Coop UK snd DELHDR: Delivery notices to the UK
  • Coop UK snd INVFIL:  Invoices to Coop United Kingdom
  • Coop UK snd CREHDR: Credit notes to Coop United Kingdom

While the transmission of invoices and credit notes can be covered by the EDIFACT message type INVOIC for EDI data exchange with continental European trading groups (the distinction is usually only made by the EDIFACT qualifier “380 = commercial invoice / 381 = credit note”), TRADACOMS and thus Coop UK use their own TRADACOMS message type CREHDR for the transmission of EDI credit notes.This EDI business process must be additionally implemented as a dedicated message type in the British TRADACOMS format. From the point of view of the ERP system involved, both the TRADACOMS message types “INVFIL Invoice” and “CREHDR Credit Note” can be supplied from the “Outgoing Invoice” interface so that no additional EDI process interfaces are required in the ERP system.

EDI automations from Softzoll for generating and exporting EDI business processes

Since most ERP systems do not provide a standard interface for supplying the content of the EDI business process CONTRL, Softzoll offers its customers a cost-efficient module for the automatic generation and dispatch of this EDI message type.This module stores data of the received EDI order in an internal database and uses it to fill the necessary segments, which must always be contained in a CONTRL confirmation message serving as a receipt and refer to the respective incoming order. Softzoll automatically completes all semantically necessary data within the CONTRL EDIFACT message to Coop and initiates the serial data transmission.

This module can also be used to create more CONTRL EDIFACT messages to additional EDI data recipients.In addition, EDI modules are available that enable the automatic creation and serial dispatch of APERAK EDI messages (EDI processing acknowledgment) without a corresponding ERP interface at low cost.


Softzoll offers customers and suppliers of the Coop Group the seamless integration of all business processes in the retail chain’s environment—in Switzerland and around the world!

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This post is also available in DE.

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