Kroger Refines Data Capabilities as Grocers Personalize the Shopping Experience

This week in grocery, KrogerNatural Grocers and Giant Eagle all step up personalization efforts.

In a ShopTalk 2023 discussion, Yael Cosset, Kroger’s chief information officer and senior vice president, spoke to the company’s data efforts, per an announcement Wednesday (March 29).

“Investment in data and innovation during the last two decades — focusing on the customer experience — created immense value, saving customers $1.4 billion just last year,” Cosset said. “Kroger pioneered the personalization approach because we wanted to understand how customers engaged with our offers to make them better and more relevant. Our best-in-class data science program creates personalized experiences that provide important savings on the very specific items we know our customers love.”

Indeed, consumers have been looking for relevant offers, with coupons and rewards improving their shopping experiences. The “2023 Global Digital Shopping Index,” a PYMNTS and Cybersource collaboration, which draws from consumer panels from six countries spanning more than 13,000 participants, finds that 80% of U.S. shoppers who used coupons were very or extremely satisfied with their experience. In contrast, only 60% of those who did not use coupons said the same. As such, using coupons makes consumers 33% more likely to be highly satisfied with their shopping experience.

By targeting these coupons to consumers’ preferences, grocers are better able to ensure their effectiveness.

“The ability to personalize every single aspect of the customer experience is critical,” Cosset maintained.

Natural Grocers Launches Personalized Shopping Coaching

As Kroger personalizes its eCommerce platforms, Natural Grocers is setting its sights on customers’ in-store journeys.

The specialty retailer, which has 166 stores across 21 states, announced Wednesday the launch of its Personalized Shopping Experience program, whereby customers at participating stores can receive a free 30-minute session with the retailer’s “Nutritional Health Coaches,” offering recommendations based on the shopper’s preferences and goals.

“We want to help take the confusion out of reading labels, shopping for supplements, and meal planning,” Karen Falbo, Natural Grocers’ director of nutrition education, said in a statement. “We want to make it easier and quicker to shop so that achieving personal nutritional health goals can be done with ease.”

The news comes as many consumers, especially younger generations, increasingly seek food options that meet their lifestyle goals, be it keto, paleo, vegan or some other dietary constraint.

Giant Eagle Seeks to Drive Digital Adoption with In-Store Shoppers

Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania-based Giant Eagle is also looking to step up its personalization capabilities with its efforts to drive the adoption of its myPerks loyalty program. The grocer has begun surfacing the digital offering to brick-and-mortar shoppers by printing conveyor belts at checkout to offer information about the program, as The Shelby Report noted, in partnership with conveyor belt advertiser MessageWrap.

“Giant Eagle is committed to delivering the best value to our customers, especially as today’s challenging climate has impacted family budgets everywhere,” Diane Stevens, senior manager of in-store communication at Giant Eagle, commented. “Our myPerks program allows us to give back to our customers in concrete, tangible ways, and we are thrilled that MessageWrap can help our cashiers inform our shoppers about these benefits.”

The news comes as grocers fear that, without loyalty programs, their customers will jump ship to other merchants. Research from PYMNTS’ study “Big Retail’s Innovation Mandate: Convenience and Personalization,” created in collaboration with ACI Worldwide, found that 74% of grocers think that consumers would be very or extremely likely to switch merchants if digital coupons and rewards were not provided.

 Additionally, data from PYMNTS’ study “Decoding Customer Affinity: The Customer Loyalty to Merchants Survey 2022,” created in collaboration with Toshiba Global Commerce Solutions, 42% of grocery shoppers stated that the availability of loyalty programs with rewards they like would improve their loyalty to merchants.