March 11, 2022
Albertsons’ digital initiatives aim to solve its unique challenges when it comes to providing 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 enjoyable.
Build – for differentiated functionality
Albertsons uses in-store associates to fulfill online orders. He therefore developed his order preparation application internally in collaboration with pickers. Key features support offline operation to avoid unproductive moves when WiFi is unavailable, choose paths for multiple store layouts, and sort orders based on multiple criteria such as number of orders, items in order, the pick-up time of the orders. The app has an alert feature that notifies pickers when customers need immediate assistance with locked liquor cabinets, etc., so they can multitask while filling orders. Ms Rupp revealed that there was a 15% increase in on-time delivery when using the new tool.
Buy – for a specific purpose
Albertsons has acquired Mealime, a recipe intelligence platform that gives shoppers access to 1,200 exclusive recipes. The platform serves recipes to customers based on their criteria – healthy, vegan, gluten-free, etc. All ingredients are loaded into a basket, once quantities are rationalized in recipes, and categorized as fresh and basic so consumers can determine what they need. . Ms. Rupp said this tool saves the average consumer up to an hour.
Partner – for additional capabilities
Albertsons partners with DoorDash, like many other retailers. According to Ms. Rupp, both parties bring something to the equation to perform a local play to meet customers’ immediate meal needs. The Company’s DoubleDash service offers 30-minute delivery and flexibility for consumers to order meals from local restaurants, items from other non-competitive participating retailers, as well as groceries, sides, alcohol and other essential products from Albertsons in a single deposit.
“Our biggest opportunity for growth 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 achieve growth goals helps the Albertsons better understand customers and 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 about how to proceed when deploying new technologies?
“For almost any retail application, buy-to-let or partner strategies are usually the most cost-effective.”