What will the future of grocery retail look like? Will it mostly be home deliveries through smart home devices like Alexa? Or perhaps the shopping list as we know it will be replaced by menu-specific meal kits?
It’s safe to assume that, for now, a blend of online and offline—often referred to as ‘omnichannel’—is the way to go, according to Matt Simon, VP of loyalty and digital marketing at Ahold USA.
“Omnichannel and e-commerce is a huge focus for Ahold-Delhaize,” he told FoodNavigator-USA. The company has an online grocery program through its brand Peapod, but according to Simon, one of Ahold USA’s biggest differentiators lies in its loyalty analytics.
The company had invested in improving its digital activity recently by relaunching its grocery store mobile apps, optimizing them for more personalized digital coupons and digital ads.
Compared to last year, the company gained about a million new digital users, which Simon defined as customers who open the Ahold USA emails and redeem coupons. Its new responsive brand websites enjoyed a 20% traffic increase over the year before, and its apps a 76% increase in monthly users, with triple mobile app downloads.
So are these translating to increased sales as well?
Without offering specific sales numbers, Simon said that results from increased digital programs from Ahold USA’s grocery brands have translated to increased investment from CPG partners.
“One of the most basic [indicators] to look at is number of coupons activated per week,” Simon explained. “Last year this time, we did a couple hundred thousand a week, this year we’re doing 7-8 million a week, and redemptions are really high.
"With all the digital innovation, we have all these personalized coupons sent via email, websites, the apps, so now the customers have way more channels to get those offers. Now we have the right science and tools to get these offers to our customers faster and in an easier way that we didn't have a year or so ago."
Next down the pipeline, in-store interactive technology and mobile payments are in the works, and the company will continue to improve its personalized and targeted coupon offer technologies.
He added: “Anecdotally, seeing engagement from CPG and consumers, we know that our [digital efforts] are having the desired effect.”