As grocers’ labor issues persist, major brands are turning to automation to perform previously time-consuming tasks with greater efficiency and, ideally, greater consistency.
Walmart-owned, membership-based warehouse club chain Sam’s Club announced Thursday (January 27) Press release that it has begun deploying inventory scanning robots that collect data on the availability and placement of items as they clean aisles.
The machines, created by robotic artificial intelligence (AI) software company Brain Corp., collect information on prices, inventory, planogram compliance and more.
“By adding Inventory Scan to our current fleet of robotic washers, we are gaining critical inventory data that previously took a long time to obtain,” Todd Garnier, vice press for In Club Product Management at Sam’s Club, said in the statement. “This intelligence allows us to manage our clubs proactively and efficiently. Inventory Scan ensures items are available and easy to locate in the club, freeing up time for our associates to focus on members and the shopping experience they deserve.
This investment in inventory management could be critical for the warehouse club chain, which relies on its on-shelf storage to acquire and retain customers.
“In our research, if members say they can find their article easily, their Net Promoter Score increases,” Tim Simmons, senior vice president and chief product officer at Sam’s Club, said Karen Webster of PYMNTS in an interview in July. “If they struggle with it, it drops. We are therefore considering a number of initiatives to help members find their articles. »
Read more: Sam’s Club boasts a 90% reuse rate for its contactless payment and delivery technology
Albertsons leverages AI to increase margins on product sales
Sam’s Club isn’t the only grocery retailer leveraging AI to improve inventory efficiency. Also on Thursday, major grocer Albertsons Companies, which has a range of popular grocery brands, including its eponymous chains, Safeway, Vons and Jewel-Osco, announced in a Press release that it will implement new AI-based solutions to help acquire and sell fresh food.
The company will implement solutions from technology provider Afresh, using Afresh’s predictive capabilities to be more accurate in forecasting demand and purchasing fresher food. These types of solutions can help grocers both reduce the amount of product they will buy and then throw away, a sunk cost, and avoid understocking in-demand items, which will drive sales.
“We are now able to improve our processes to better manage our supply of fresh produce and provide our in-store teams with a tool to better forecast demand and monitor inventory,” Susan Morris, executive vice president and chief operating officer of Albertsons Companies, said in the statement. “Managing these variables ultimately allows us to provide our customers with even higher quality fresh produce and further reduce our food waste.”
Giant Eagle Aims to Increase Loyalty Program Personalization
In additional data analysis news Thursday, Giant Eagle, the Pennsylvania-based chain operating 470 stores in five states, announced in a Press release the selection of a new technological partner to improve the personalization of its loyalty program. The company is implementing marketing technology company Eagle Eye’s AIR platform, intended to boost the effectiveness of digital offerings.
“We are thrilled to partner with Eagle Eye to advance and accelerate our efforts to provide our customers with the most personalized and rewarding loyalty platform in North America,” said Justin Weinsteinvice president of customer experience at Giant Eagle, in the statement.
Rewards and loyalty offers that are relevant to the individual shopper can go a long way in increasing grocery spending, as revealed by data from PYMNTS’ report “Decoding Customer Affinity: The Customer Loyalty to Merchants Survey 2022,” created in collaboration with Toshiba Global Business Solutions. The study, which surveyed a balanced panel of more than 2,000 US consumers, found that 42% of shoppers said “loyalty programs with rewards I like” would improve their loyalty to their grocer.
Get the report: The 2022 Merchant Customer Loyalty Survey
Additionally, research from PYMNTS’ August study “What Consumers Expect From Their Grocery Shopping Experience,” created in collaboration with ACI in the worldfound that 61% of food loyalty program members reported spending more at grocery stores offering loyalty programs, and 63% said loyalty programs impacted their decisions about which grocery stores to use.
Read more: Digital features can help grocers win over 43% of shoppers
Instacart intensifies the advertising offer for brands
As grocers build their digital marketing capabilities, so do the aggregators they collaborate with and compete with. Instacart announced on a Wednesday (January 26) Press release a suite of new marketing products for brands, including brand pages and new display ads.
Such products allow the aggregator, which peddles the notoriously thin-margin delivery space for the equally thin-margin grocery industry, to bring in an additional revenue stream, monetizing eyes on its plate. -form for the benefit of brands.
“We know how consumers shop on Instacart varies. Some people head straight to a specific aisle to browse, and some start with the “Buy It Again” carousel… while others already have a list of items in mind or can use the search function for inspiration. », Ryan Mayward, vice president of advertising sales at Instacart, said in the statement. “As more and more people turn to Instacart…we’re focused on creating unique ways to help brands engage consumers throughout their online shopping journey.”