Albertsons looks to Google partnership to reinvent grocery shopping

Date : 30 March 2021

Albertsons, the third-largest US grocery retailer, is partnering with Google to bring innovative technology to the omnichannel customer experience.

Developing “the world’s most predictive grocery engine”

Building on their existing relationship, the companies have launched several new enhancements which are designed to make the shopping experience easier and more exciting. These include integrating with Google Search and Maps to make it easier for shoppers to find what they need, making it easier to shop with Google Pay and optimising Google Cloud AI technologies such as Vision AI, Recommendations AI, and Business Messages into operations to create “the world’s most predictive grocery engine.”

Source: IGD Research

What’s coming next?

As part of this partnership, Albertsons and Google are planning further innovations. These include introducing shoppable maps with dynamic hyperlocal features, AI-powered conversational commerce and predictive grocery list building. They also plan to make it easier for customers to shop online by providing relevant information directly within mobile search through adding new functionality to Google Maps. Wiith digital sales up over 200% in 2020, this is a priority focus area for the business as it shifts the emphasis to retain the new customers it has attracted since the start of the pandemic. 

The digital transformation of retail

This partnership highlights the digital transformation which retailing continues to experience, a process which has been accelerated by the pandemic. This is a strategic priority for Albertsons, with several new tech-led initiatives launched over the last year. These include its partnership with Takeoff technologies for automated micro-fulfilment, testing automated pickup lockers and launching an innovative last-mile delivery pilot with Tortoise. The company has also been optimising new technologies to support its $1bn cost saving and productivity initiatives.

Technology partnerships helping to optimise customer and business data

Retailers have increasingly been forming technology partnerships to support business transformation. Many aim to compete with tech-led competitors such as Amazon, Alibaba and JD.com which have been able to infuse their operations with emerging technologies. In 2018, Walmart formed a strategic partnership with Microsoft, focusing on innovation and changing how it works. The tech company has also partnered with Walgreens and Kroger, including working with the latter on a connected store pilot. While previously many of the technologies and platforms would have been developed in-house, cloud technologies enable retailers to drive transformation at pace, with scale, and to be able to fully optimise the latest technologies. These include artificial intelligence and machine learning which are finally enabling retailers to get the most out of the significant amount of customer and business data which they have available to them.

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