Accelerating Transformation: What Albertsons is Doing to Remain Competitive

October 28, 2021

Transformation has been the word for the past eighteen months, particularly in the retail space. With the pandemic pushing retailers to pivot, some have fallen short in achieving anything other than ordinary planned improvements for operations and forecasted upgrades in digital capabilities. Albertsons, however, has truly mastered the word transformation and has not only pivoted when needed but has recognized the importance of evolving through the power of technology. 

Here are some ways Albertsons is propelling their transformation journey forward:

Google All the Way!

Albertsons is partnering with Google around natural language processing (NLP) technology and other offerings to better enhance in-store operations and customer experiences. As a means to empower associates to make quicker decisions and manage their time more efficiently, various use cases for NLP are in contemplation. Chief Customer and Digital Officer, Chris Rupp, joined Albertsons in 2019 and has made great strides in expanding the company’s digital profile to improve customer experience. “Because voice is the most natural form of communication, we believe it is time for us to use the mode of interaction with customers in certain circumstances,” says Rupp. The grocer is also exploring easier ways for customers to pick up goods or have them delivered through initiatives integrating with Google Search and Maps, Google Pay, and where appropriate Google Cloud AI technologies such as Vision AI, Recommendations AI, and Business Messages.

DriveUp and Go

The pandemic redefined essential workers in the grocery space and Albertsons led the crowd in moving quickly to satisfy consumers’ need for an ideal digital shopping experience. DriveUp and Go (DUG) was born. The order-online/store-pickup initiative launched in the fourth quarter of 2020 in 343 locations, ending the year at a total of 1,420 stores. “This puts us ahead of schedule, and we now expect to have DUG in approximately 2,000 stores with 98% coverage by the end of fiscal year 2021, above our prior target of over 1,800 stores,” says CEO Vivek Sankaran. The entire expansion of the DUG initiative was part of an impressive $300 million investment in digital that included micro-fulfillment centers (MFCs). The third opened in early 2021 with four more scheduled by end of the year.

A World-Class Data Strategy

In April of 2021, Albertsons furthered their digital journey by bringing on Danielle Crop. As the first Chief Data Officer, Crop’s mission is to build and execute a world-class data strategy, delivering benefits for the customer in-store and online via the company’s digital platforms. Cutting-edge tools such as machine learning and advanced data science capabilities will be leveraged to enhance performance. A major partnership with Adobe sets a collaborative stage to better harness data to enhance personalization of the grocer’s growing loyalty program – Just 4 U. The partnership is expected to combine several sets of data from a variety of sources to better understand shopper intent. The Adobe Experience Cloud apps are expected to help gain more value from data and the power to leverage it across the entire shopping experience. 

The Journey Continues

Albertsons’ transformation is far from complete. There is still work to be done under the leadership of CEO Vivek Sankaran to bring the brand through its evolving journey. One thing for sure is Albertsons cares about its associates and its customers and looks to technology to enhance employee engagement and store execution. In turn, improving customer experience in this time of unforeseen challenges. 

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Zipline is the operations technology platform built to solve the unique challenges of communication and task management across retail categories. Reach out to learn more about how your stores can deliver on your brand promise today and in the future.

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