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We recently visited Walmart’s Supercenter in Rogers, Arkansas. As one of its key locations for testing new initiatives, the store features the retailer’s pharmacy of the future concept.

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7-Eleven Inc. has announced that it will deliver to more than 2,000 “hot spots” such as parks, beaches and concert venues in the U.S.

Bringing shoppers greater convenience

Embedded under the retailer’s delivery app 7NOW, “7NOW Pins” will allow shoppers to order products and get them delivered to hot spot locations, including New York’s Central Park and Venice Beach in Los Angeles. Customers can locate the nearest pin and order as usual.

7-Eleven will use Postmates to deliver to public hot spots. It uses DoorDash as well as Postmates to deliver to customers’ homes.

Reach 200,00 hot spot locations

7-Eleven expects to eventually have 200,000 hot spot locations. 7-Eleven’s Executive Vice-President and Chief Digital Information and Marketing officer, Gurmeet Singh, said, “we’ve been on this journey to redefine convenience […] this makes it easy for people to stay in the moment.”

7-Eleven’s Vice President of Delivery, Raghu Mahadevan, said, “we continuously challenge ourselves to find even more ways to offer convenience and value to our customers—when and where people need it most.”

7-Eleven is not the first brand to offer hot spot delivery. In April last year, Domino’s started delivery with Domino’s Hotspots and has more than 150,000 public delivery locations available nationwide.

Walmart is using artificial intelligence (AI) to improve the self-checkout experience at its US stores.

Reducing error rates

As reported in Business Insider, Walmart has equipped self-checkouts in around 1,000 Supercenters in the US with AI technology which has helped it to improve the accuracy of customer scans and reduce error rates. In partnership with technology company, Everseen, the checkouts help to identify when products have been mis-scanned. Overhead cameras help to compare customer baskets with scanning data and identify unusual scanning movements. Any potential issues are flagged to an app accessed by a checkout host.

Source: IGD Research

Improving scanning rates

This technology also helps to overcome one of the key customer pinch-points of self-checkouts, namely unexpected items in the bagging area. Most self-checkout systems use a scale in the bagging area to compare what’s being scanned and what is bagged. Everseen’s technology provides retailers with the opportunity to remove the scale, enabling faster scan rates and lower incidents of customer errors, which often require store intervention to resolve.

Source: IGD Research

Innovating at the front-end to drive impulse sales

As Walmart has expanded the number of self-checkouts, with many stores featuring two banks of self-checkouts, it has rolled-out a new configuration for impulse products. Incorporating chilled soft drinks, confectionery, healthcare and non-food items, this part of the store has been re-designed to help drive sales of items which perform strongly within its conventional checkout lanes. The roll-out of self-checkouts in many retailers has often led to reduced space for these types of products, or less opportunity for customers to purchase. Branded product suppliers have been focusing on developing more creative solutions, including enhanced displays such as the latest solution at Walmart.

Source: IGD Research

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As Ahold Delhaize USA announces the roll out of same-day delivery and the opening of a tech office, we look at how the retailer and its banners is embedding solutions to help it win with shoppers.

Stop & Shop extends reach of same-day pickup service

Stop & Shop has announced the launch of same-day online pickup for shoppers at 20 stores in Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Connecticut and New York. Shoppers make their purchases on before selecting which of the 20 stores they want to collect their orders from. Shoppers then arrive at their store of choice, where between four to six spots have been created to enable the service to better serve shoppers, at the arranged pick-up time. Customers are charged US$2.95 for the same-day service.

Shoppers will be able to select from a wider range than is available in-store. The addition of the service at Stop & Shop comes after it being available at Giant and Martin’s banners. Ahold Delhaize has said it is aiming to add 600 new click-and-collect sites in 2019, with Stop & Shop set to account 175 of them.

Commenting on the service’s launch, the president of Stop & Shop, Mark McGowan, said: “ As we continue to improve the omnichannel experience for our customers, we plan to roll out 175 of these ‘click-and-collect’ locations by the end of the year. We’re excited to offer our customers the convenience of shopping online for the all the products available at their local store, which they can now pick up in just a few hours.

Ahold Delhaize USA’s Retail Business Services opens tech office

Ahold Delhaize USA’s Retail Business Services (RBS) has opened a tech-focused office. The site will include an innovation lab and an incubator for tech start-ups. RBS said the site would be able to house 200 IT associates who will be able to provide technology services for all the retailer’s chains. RBS provides Ahold Delhaize USA brands with services and support in merchandising, marketing, private label, store operations, pharmacy, sourcing, financial, communications, supply chain and other areas.

Commenting on the launch, RBS’s executive vice president of IT and chief information officer, Paul Scorza, said: “We’re excited for this new space as we continue to expand our team. Whether it’s through our co-op program that brings college and graduate students into our innovation lab for six-month rotations, full-time hiring or partnerships with start-ups, universities and others, we’re always in the market for top talent to support our mission of creating the next generation of grocery retail.

Ahold Delhaize promotes use of AI

Speaking at the AI Summit in London, Ahold Delhaize’s global chief information officer, Ben Wishart, has said the retailer is using AI in several pieces of its business. Wishart said three different types of the technology were being used to improve its operations for its shoppers. First, he said machine learning was being used to help the retailer ‘get better at predicting’ and to help it optimise local assortments to meet shoppers’ needs. Machine learning was also being used to better personalise offers for individual shoppers.

Secondly, Wishart said it was being used to automatically scrape data from sources like social media to help it improve the way it engages with shoppers. Finally, he said AI was being used to better employ and use automation-driven solutions in-store, in its back office operations and in its supply chain.

New appointments at two banners

Ahold Delhaize USA has made two new appointments, changing its leadership team at Stop & Shop and Giant Food. At Stop & Shop, the retailer said Mark McGowan, president will be leaving the company, to be replaced by Gordon Reid, who is presently president of Giant Food. The second appointment will see Ira Kress become Giant Food’s interim president. Both Reid and Kress will assume their new roles in late July, while McGowan will remain with Stop & Shop until the end of 2019, at the company’s request, to ensure a seamless transition.


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