In case you haven’t heard, a DogSpot is a “smart sidewalk sanctuary, providing your dog a safe and cozy home away from home while you briefly go somewhere they aren’t allowed… without having to take risks like tying them up or leaving them in the car. “
According to a recent SupermarketNews article, Albertsons has become the latest supermarket chain to offer DogSpot. Other chains that have been testing the concept include Kroger and Stop & Shop.
“At Albertsons, we are always looking for ways to better serve our customers,” said John Colgrove, Albertsons intermountain division president.
DogSpot houses are app-connected and available on both iPhone and Android, offering customers quick and seamless access, according to the Brooklyn-based startup. Customers may reserve a house up to 15 minutes before use through the app if they’re anticipating a trip to the store or use an available house immediately upon arrival. The houses lock to allow only the customer’s specific app account access to the house while their dog is inside, to ensure the dog’s safety while the customer shops. They’re also temperature controlled with fresh air ventilation to keep an optimal temperature inside for the dog and equipped with UVC lights that sanitize the house automatically between each new session. Customers can monitor their dog through the DogSpot app’s puppy-cam feature while they shop. Cost is approximately thirty-cents per minute.
Another example of enhancing the shopping experience with higher levels of customer service and engagement!
Giant Food Stores, a chain that operates in Pennsylvania, Maryland, Virginia and West Virginia under the Giant and Martin’s banners, has been taking a more personalized approach to improving its loyalty program.
According to a recent SupermarketNewsarticle, they have been testing an enhanced program that focuses on providing a more personalized customer experience, more paths to rewards, and a more engaging digital experience.
The article goes on to quote Giant President Nick Bertram as saying, ““We have been trying a lot of different things to connect closer to customers… we’ve partnered with our sister company PDL [Peapod Digital Labs] to try to get more digitally savvy… it was time to start changing and get ready for the way families are shopping now.”
Sounds like a good example of decision-making based on customer service and the overall shopping experience, which one would think should lead to greater levels of customer engagement and loyalty.
A recent SupermarketNews article reported that H-E-B has opened a state-of-the-art technology center in East Austin, Texas, that will serve as a “hub of innovation” for its digital team and Favor delivery service.
The article quoted Jag Bath, chief digital officer of H-E-B and CEO of Favor, who said, “The center will play an essential role in keeping both Favor and H-E-B as digital leaders.”
As we have previously shared, innovation and technology have become driving forces in the food industry. As summarized in an article posted on bouncepad.com, grocery shopping as we know it is shifting. Retailers are leveraging technology to target issues consumers have struggled with for years, now offering online shopping and home-delivery along with related offerings geared toward providing more convenience for busy shoppers.
In-store experiences have also begun to mold to the modern consumer, using integrated technology solutions and secure touch-points like tablet enclosures, which help supermarkets with cross-sell services, offer personalized deals, guide shoppers around the store and increase sales.
Click here for a slide show featuring H-E-B’s new technology center.
Raley’s, a West Coast supermarket chain, has implemented Date Check Pro from Pinpoint Software Inc. to better manage shrink.
In a recent SupermarketNews article it was reported that Raley’s adopted the system after determining that a technology-based solution supporting inventory management would aid ongoing efforts to provide customers with the freshest and highest-quality products. Previously the chain took a more operational approach to flag out-of-code items by bolstering team member training and auditing processes to best manage disposal of expiring products.
Date Check Pro provides real-time updates and proactive notifications on close-dated inventory, establishing more consistency and accountability versus traditional rotation and spot-checking methods, in which out-of-date items can be missed by human error, according to Raley’s. In turn, the grocery chain said it’s able to ensure that it’s offering shoppers the freshest products and recoup savings on what would have been expired shrink
While their approach to customer service and providing an enjoyable shopping experience may be anything but traditional, Stew Leonard’s has a tried-and-true motto: “The customer is always right!”
As reported in a recent SupermarketNews article, there are aisles filled with animatronic singing poultry and vegetables, stuffed creatures that flip, and a selfie station where customers can pose for pictures with Clover the cow in a replica of Stew’s milk truck.
Yesterday & Today For those who have been customers over the years, these “extras” are common place. Ever since the first Stew Leonard’s opened in 1969 they’ve been tabbed as “the Disneyland of Dairy Stores.” Today the grocery still relishes the country-fair atmosphere.
But the zaniness has not compromised how vital customer service and product scouting are to the growing company. (There are now six Stew Leonard’s locations now in New York and Connecticut, with a seventh planned for New Jersey in the fall).
“Customers rule when it comes to choosing what products the stores sell,” says Stew Leonard, Jr., the president and CEO who took the business over from his dad in the 1990s. “You’ve got to listen to the customers really and hear what they have to say.”
According to a recent SupermarketNewsarticle, supermarket salaries grew in 2018 in an effort to secure a more diverse mix of skills and experience to meet the demands of an “omnichannel” business model. “Omnicahannel” is defined as as a multi-channel sales approach that provides the customer with an integrated customer experience. The customer can be shopping online from a desktop or mobile device, or by telephone, or in a bricks and mortar store and the experience would be seamless.
“Compared with last year, you see the pretty steady increases that you normally see. But the biggest thing goes beyond the numbers, and that’s the new positions being created,” said Jose Tamez, managing general partner at Austin-Michael. “That’s more of an indication of what’s trending — be it a digital role at a senior level, an omnichannel role or customer experience types of roles. Those particular roles have been in retail for some time but in other segments, such as department stores or fashion. Now they are making their way into grocery.”
According to research done by HubSpot, organizations that currently providing the “best” omnichannel experience to customers include:
A recent Progressive Grocer’s article shared data from a new report from by KPMG LLP, which found that companies providing “the best personal, individualized experiences to customers” see higher revenue growth and improved brand standing and loyalty.
According to a recent Business Briefs article, Martin’s Super Markets, a mid-west chain, is continuing to roll out of its online shopping service, which they call Groceries To Go, and which is now available at 12 of their 21 stores.
The Groceries-To-Go service costs $4.99 per order, the article explains. The process is also straightforward, as once users go online or download the app (on either iPhone or Android devices) and create an account they simply shop and choose a pickup time, and then pay. Someone at their chosen store then sends an email confirming receipt of the order, and then sends another email when the order is ready for pickup.
To pickup their order, customers simply park in designated areas and then text or call to announce their arrival. A “Personal Shopper” then brings the groceries and loads them into the customer’s vehicle.
Pharmacy prescriptions, alcohol and tobacco products are not available for online ordering, the article said. Log on to www.martinsgroceriestogo.com for more information.
The trend toward online shopping and an enhanced customer experience continues…
According to an article published on LInkedIn, Wal-Mart recently opened its first “smart store” supermarket in Xin’an Wu Road, Bao’an District, Shenzhen.
We first read about the “smart supermarket” concept in a piece published by AgThentic, a sustainability and innovation consulting firm focusing on the food industry. In a 2016 article, they referenced the increasing popularity of online grocery shopping and click-and-collect services, and predicted the model was set to change how consumers “will do their weekly shop.”
The article went on to say, “Incorporating predictive technologies into the online shopping experience will allow consumers to access discounts on their favorite brands or re-order the same essential items each week without having to individually add them to a cart. These features have huge implications for convenience… By using data collected from your previous purchases, retailers can understand what you buy and how often you buy it, and send you friendly reminders when you’re running low. Say goodbye to the days of getting halfway home and realizing you forgot to buy toothpaste.”
In addition to helping consumers shop with ease, these same practices are also beneficial to supermarkets as they look to manage inventory and reduce food waste. “Consumers expect to see an overstocked display of cosmetically attractive produce,” the article said. “To compensate, supermarkets throw out up to 40% of food before it even reaches store shelves.”
AgThentic predicted retailers of the future will use consumer data to understand how to market and sell ‘unattractive’ or ‘imperfect’ produce, citing examples in Australia that are already doing so.