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Loblaw’s drugstore business, Shoppers Drug Mart, has started to offer same-day delivery through the company’s partnership with Instacart.

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Walmart Media Group has acquired Polymorph Labs, a Silicon Valley-based advertising startup.

Measuring impact at scale across the shopping journey

Walmart Media Group is the retailer’s advertising business, developed to build targeted, closed-loop advertising solutions in-store and online. With almost 160m visitors to its stores and websites every week, Walmart Media Group enables brands to operate at scale and measure the impact of their ads across the shopping journey.

Source: Walmart

Optimsing Polymorph’s technology

The acquisition of Polymorph is expected to make it easier for brands to advertise with Walmart, while also making the ads more relevant. Walmart Media Group will optimise Polymorph’s technology, complementing its existing omni-channel ad targeting and measurement solutions. Advertisers will be able to select audience segments based on shopping behaviour, automate ad delivery and measure whether their ads influenced a sale. Future innovations are expected to include real-time auctions across multiple ad-pricing models, including cost per click, cost per impression and cost per conversion. Polymorph’s technology team will join Walmart Media Group in its California and Bangalore offices.

Building a broader ecosystem 

Optimising the digital marketing opportunity to drive new revenue is a growing priority for many grocery retailers. As ecommerce becomes a larger part of their businesses, they are seeking to capitalise on online traffic. Through their loyalty programs and POS data they can also effectively measure the impact of ads directly on purchasing behaviour – this is viewed as providing them with a competitive advantage over traditional media agencies and a powerful selling message to CG brands. Amazon, Kroger and Albertsons are among several US-based retailers to develop programmes in this area. This acquisition also reflects the growing focus for retailers to make deals beyond their traditional businesses as they build broader operating ecosystems. 

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We look at Walmart’s plans to add more technology to its stores and its efforts to build a dedicated ecosystem.

900 new Pickup Towers

Walmart has been one of the leaders in the US retail sector in terms of deploying new technologies in-store to either improve the shopping experience or to simplify ways of working. Many of its customer-facing technologies have been focused on its ecommerce operations, with the goal of making the store pickup process as fast and convenient as possible. Pickup Towers have been a central element, enabling customers to retrieve their orders within seconds of entering a store. With over 700 currently in place, the retailer plans to add a further 900 to the network.

Source: IGD Research

300 Auto-S shelf scanners

The retailer has also been using robotic scanners in-store to monitor product availability and planogram compliance. These scanners help identify where stock levels are low, prices are incorrect, or labels are missing. In addition, the scanners provide a real-time view of inventory in the store; the information is used to direct associates to the areas of the store that need the most attention. Using machine learning capabilities, the scanner can scan dozens of aisles in under an hour. This information is integrated into a workforce app which provides associates with detailed information on the tasks to be completed. The retailer plans to add a further 300 scanners to its stores.

Source: IGD Research

1,200 FAST Unloaders

Linked to this, Walmart has been testing a new system in backrooms, the FAST Unloader. This automatically scans and sorts items which are delivered to stores based on priority and department, allowing associates to spend less time unloading trucks in the backroom and more time on the sales floor. When combined with data from the shelf scanner, the retailer can move relevant inventory from the back room to the sales floor more quickly; out-of-stocks are sorted by the machine for prioritisation. Trucks are unloaded in two hours or less, using four people, compared to requiring eight people previously. Walmart plans on rolling-out the FAST Unloader to 1,200 additional stores.

Source: IGD Research

1,500 Auto-C autonomous floor cleaners

The retailer has also introduced autonomous floor cleaners. Each cleaner is programmed to travel across the store, polishing the floor. This helps to maintain a cleaner experience for its customers while also freeing up its associates. A further 1,500 floor cleaners will be deployed across its network adding to around 400 units which are currently operational.

Source: IGD Research

Creating more engaging work

Beyond these initiatives, Walmart has introduced several other tech elements which are changing the nature of work in its stores. The ‘One Best Way’ program focuses on simplifying processes, with many tasks seeing a significant reduction in the number of steps required to complete them. The goal is to provide meaningful work for associates through optimising technologies and making routine tasks more engaging. The retailer has introduced virtual reality headsets and a new gaming app as part of its learning and development initiative, while a suite of task-orientated and management information apps has made it significantly easier to manage and monitor the flow of work in-store.

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Following the launch of its digital marketing programme, Albertsons Performance Media (APM), one year ago, we look at how Albertsons is helping its suppliers to drive strong returns on their digital marketing spend.

Exceeding expectations

The retailer partnered last year with Quotient to create a digital media platform, Albertsons Performance Media. This enables branded suppliers to connect with Albertsons’ shoppers on major campaigns to drive sales growth utilising social media, its own digital properties and third-party publishers. Commenting on its progress with the programme over the last 12 months, Karen Sales, VP of National and Shopper Marketing at Albertsons stated,

“APM has executed 300 campaigns on behalf of 150 CPG companies. We’ve been able to target the right shoppers at the right time and in the right digital places. It has exceeded our expectations.”

Source: IGD Research

Supplier case studies

Through the programme, suppliers have seen returns on their ad spend as high as two times more than industry benchmarks set by Nielsen. Among the companies that have seen strong results is PepsiCo. To support the launch of ‘The Pepsi Generations Summer Music Campaign’ last year, APM connected locally-relevant Pepsi music assets with the retailer’s shoppers. During a five-week promotion, sales outperformed the rest of the grocery channel. PepsiCo is currently working with Albertsons and Quotient on additional campaigns.

Following Quotient’s acquisition of Ahalogy last year, an influencer marketing specialist, it partnered with General Mills to support the launch of new products for its Oui brand. The campaign helped the supplier to boost engagement and drive new usage occasions. Key metrics, including brand impressions and clickthrough rates, exceeded expectations.

Ecommerce opportunities for brands

Albertsons is also working with Quotient to improve its ecommerce experience. Within its websites, the retailer has implemented sponsored search and product placements, enabling brands to have their products show up high on the digital shelf when people are searching.

Digital marketing: a new opportunity for retailers

Optimising the digital marketing opportunity to drive new revenue is a growing priority for many grocery retailers. As ecommerce becomes a larger part of their businesses, they are seeking to capitalise on online traffic. Through their loyalty programs, they can also effectively measure the impact of ads directly on purchasing behaviour – this is viewed as providing them with a competitive advantage over traditional media agencies and a powerful selling message to CPG brands.

Advanced technologies accessible to all

Earlier this month, Loblaw in Canada launched a trial digital advertising service that rewards customers with loyalty points for seeing relevant and tailored ads on third-party websites. Walmart, Kroger and Amazon have also set up their own digital marketing operations, while in the US, several other retailers have partnered with Quotient. This also brings to life how technology is being democratised, with advanced tools and capabilities becoming within the reach of retailers that may not have the resources to develop in-house solutions.

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Presentations

08/04/2019

We review Ocado's current performance, its growth forecasts for the next five years, plus progress against key strategic objectives.

Included in this report:

  • Ocado's five year sales forecast
  • Ocado's strategy
  • Ocado's international agreements
  • Ocado Smart Platform innovations
  • Ocado's fulfilment and delivery operations
11/03/2019
We review and compare Ocado’s new one-hour delivery service and highlight the opportunities for manufacturers
27/02/2019
Learn more about the rationale of the deal, benefits for both players, and potential challenges ahead as Ocado Retail UK and M&S announce a new joint venture.
21/02/2019
The ‘last mile’ has become an increasingly competitive place, as the food industry and disruptors continue to create solutions that make online shopping even more convenient. In this report we’ve identified numerous examples from around the world of last mile solutions that help online shoppers embrace this convenience.
View all presentations

Key Presentations

We highlight the three key themes from this year's Digital Commerce Summit

M-commerce is continuously evolving, with great potential in emerging markets. We explore this further through assessing its challenges and opportunities further, and international inspiration for where it could develop in the future.

Show how you've used digital innovation to make shopping easier or more engaging. Your initiative has fixed a problem for the customer, in-store or online.

IGD forecasts the digital future for the food and grocery industry.

We've developed a single, universal methodology for calculating food and consumer goods retail data, supported by our programme of primary and secondary research. This makes Retail Analysis the most reliable and robust source available for data of this type. 

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