Mar 11, 2022
Albertsons’ digital initiatives aim to solve its unique challenges when it comes to delivering customer-centric service.
Chris Rupp, Albertsons EVP, chief customer and digital officer, speaking at the recent eTail West 2022 conference, detailed the grocer’s criteria for determining whether it will build, buy or partner to implement new solutions that make shopping easy, fun, convenient and delightful.
Build – for differentiated functionality
Albertsons uses in-store associates to fulfill online orders, so it developed its picking app internally in conjunction with pickers. Key features support offline operation to avoid unproductive movements when WiFi is not available, pick paths for multiple store layouts and order sorting based on multiple criteria such as number of orders, items in order, order pick-up time. The app has an alert feature that notifies pickers when customers need immediate assistance with locked liquor cabinets, etc., so they can multitask while fulfilling orders. Ms. Rupp revealed that there has been a 15 percent increase in on-time delivery when using the new tool.
Buy – for a specific purpose
Albertsons acquired Mealime, a recipe-intelligence platform that gives shoppers access to 1,200 proprietary recipes. The platform serves up recipes to customers based on their criteria — healthy, vegan, gluten-free, etc. All ingredients are loaded into a cart, after quantities are rationalized across recipes, and categorized as fresh and staples so consumers may determine what they need. Ms. Rupp indicated that this tool saves the average consumer up to an hour.
Partner – for complementary capabilities
Albertsons partners with DoorDash, like many other retailers. Ms. Rupp’s view was that both parties bring something to the equation to execute a local play to solve shoppers’ immediate meal needs. The company’s DoubleDash service provides 30-minute delivery and flexibility for consumers to order meals from local restaurants, items from other non-competitive participatingers, as well as groceries, side items, alcohol and other essentials from Albertsons in one drop-off.
“Our biggest growth opportunity is to develop deeper relationships with customers — the people who live in our neighborhoods,” Ms. Rupp said.
Determining how to select and deploy digital tools to meet growth goals is helping Albertsons get to know customers better and to deliver tangible benefits.
DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: What criteria do you think grocers and other retailers should use to determine whether to build, buy or partner to implement new technology solutions? Do you find that retailers generally make the right decisions on how to proceed when deploying new technologies?
“For nearly all retail applications, buy or partner strategies are usually the most economical.”