- Raley’s has promoted Deirdre Zimmermann to the newly created role of chief customer experience officer, according to a company release. Zimmermann joined Raley’s as senior vice president for marketing and e-commerce in 2015 and has held multiple executive positions since then.
- Zimmermann has played a key role in developing Raley’s digital marketing strategy and rewards program to attract customers and build loyalty and has also led improvements for e-commerce. As chief customer experience officer, she will build a strategy to integrate team member and customer experiences both in-store and online.
- “Deirdre is a proven executive whose skill and leadership has contributed greatly to Raley’s success. In her new role of Chief Customer Experience Officer, she will be instrumental in shaping the engagement of our team members and enriching the experience for our customers as part of our brand’s transformation,” said Keith Knopf, President & CEO for Raley’s, in the release.
Executive roles focused on customer experience are relatively new to the grocery industry, but they are becoming increasingly popular as companies dedicate resources to a cohesive customer experience strategy. This will become vital to grocery companies as shoppers spend more time buying online and less time in stores, and as companies seek to deliver an experience that keeps shoppers coming back on and offline.
Walmart made news this summer when it hired its first-ever chief customer officer, part of an effort to be more customer-centric, according to the company. Sprouts also has a chief customer officer, and Publix announced a new vice president of customer experience in October. As grocery companies struggle to integrate their online and in-store experiences, it's likely more of these positions will crop up in 2019.
It will be interesting to see if grocers who are well-known for their customer experience, such as Wegmans and H-E-B, will carve out a similar executive role, or if they will simply maintain their current roles and strategies. Regardless, grocers that have won with customers for many years will want to keep apprised of efforts from companies like Raley's that are making a significant push around customer experience.
Raley’s has been making transformative moves all year, and Zimmermann's new position acknowledges the retailer’s commitment to evolving its e-commerce offerings and making it easy for customers to shop in any manner. The company recently unveiled a new website focused on delivering a personalized shopping experience and has also heavily promoted its click-and-collect service in the past few months. In addition to these efforts, Raley’s has introduced a new CEO and aligned itself more closely with healthier offerings for customers.
The creation of its CCEO position appears to be deliberate and strategic, given the grocer's focus on change and improvements around customer offerings.