- H-E-B has hired a new chief product officer to lead the company’s digital product strategy, design and development. This is the latest digital investment from H-E-B, which operates 400 stores in Texas and Mexico.
- Mike Georgoff joins H-E-B after several years working with consumer-focused tech startups, including Main Street Hub, RetailMeNot and Redbox. H-E-B Digital’s chief digital officer, Jag Bath, says this hire shows the company's commitment to expanding its omnichannel services and digital customer experience.
- “This is an industry-leading company that is strategically positioned to deliver a cutting-edge digital experience to customers,” said Georgoff in a press release. “I am thrilled for the opportunity to join such a talented team focused on bringing innovation, growth and success to H-E-B.”
H-E-B has joined the party of both regional and national grocers stepping up their digital and e-commerce offerings to remain relevant in today’s landscape. Georgoff is H-E-B’s second high-profile personnel move to support digital after the chain created the chief digital officer position for Bath just a few months ago.
The company’s recent efforts in the digital space include the acquisition of Favor, an on-demand delivery company that H-E-B is using to pilot e-commerce delivery. What’s interesting, however, is that Favor is not exclusive to H-E-B. It operates independently, and Favor users can order anything through its app including coffee, takeout, home goods and even groceries from another store.
Earlier this summer H-E-B announced that Favor would deliver alcohol to more than 30 cities throughout Texas within a one-hour window through Labor Day. The move generated some buzz for the new service. It may also help H-E-B gauge the appetite for e-commerce and rapid product delivery in markets throughout the Lone Star state, and better understand which products and features people want and how to use Favor moving forward.
H-E-B continues to roll out home delivery and curbside pickup in select Texas cities, and is piloting a self-checkout mobile app in San Antonio. Given its regional reputation and the historical connection it has with the community, an independent grocer like H-E-B can really only benefit from creating better digital offerings for its customers. Without this digital evolution, there’s nothing stopping Amazon-Whole Foods or Walmart from siphoning off customers.
Even if you take away Amazon and Walmart, Texas is a crowded grocery market with powerful household names including Kroger, Aldi, Albertsons and Safeway, each of whom are tackling their own aggressive e-commerce and digital strategies. The customers are the winners here, with an abundance of choices and services that will help them get what they want, when and where they want it.
Georgoff’s background in the digital space working with both larger retailers and small businesses via tech startups should give him some unique insight to contribute to H-E-B Digital. His knowledge of digital products and customer experience combined with his understanding of how to leverage customer data should bolster the grocer's efforts in a rapidly evolving part of the business.