- H-E-B’s new partnership with home services platform Thumbtack aims to make it easier for its customers to access and hire home service professionals.
- The Texas grocer has added branded displays in more than 300 of its stores that allow customers to scan a QR code to find local pet service providers from Thumbtack, per an emailed announcement. On-demand services from Thumbtack, including lawn care and cleaning are being offered at a handful of stores that H-E-B has regularly used to pilot new concepts, David Steckel, senior director of strategic partnerships at Thumbtack, said in an interview.
- H-E-B reached out to Thumbtack after consumer surveys indicated its shoppers want the grocer to help connect them to these types of services. “H-E-B is very interested in figuring out what’s going to solve their customers’ pain points, wants and needs,” Steckel said.
The H-E-B partnership, which has just kicked off after being in development for about a year, reflects the grocer’s effort to increase the value of its shopping experience and to offer solutions, not just products, to shoppers.
Founded in 2008, Thumbtack serves as an online directory for professionals for home care, event planning and financial and legal services. The partnership marks its entrance into brick-and-mortar retail. Steckel said homeowners make more frequent trips to a grocery store than to a home improvement store, noting that H-E-B has “a magical relationship” with Texans.
“H-E-B is so much more than a grocer to people. It’s somewhat a way of life in Texas. ... H-E-B pays so much attention to their customers and H-E-B customers were asking them to find them a service provider to vet [professionals]. If H-E-B was going to trust them, then they would trust them,” Steckel said.
The pet services provided through Thumbtack include dog walking, grooming, pet sitting, training and more, according to the announcement. H-E-B customers can find the QR codes throughout most of H-E-B’s pet aisles that then direct to customers to a co-branded landing page, Steckel said, adding that the company is working with the grocer on a digital version of the pet offering.
Five H-E-B stores are offering on-demand services from Thumbtack, such as local handymen, lawn care and cleaning, Steckel said. An on-demand grill assembly service will also be available in select San Antonio locations in the coming months.
The select stores that allow consumers to find and hire local handymen, lawn care and cleaning services are offering those at a 10% discount, per the press release.
“Trust does transfer through partnerships and that’s what makes the B2B2C model really work. ... They’re asking for H-E-B to vet us because they trust H-E-B,” Steckel said.
H-E-B, which carries a wide array of general merchandise along with groceries, has made efforts recently to expand experiential shopping and provide more services to shoppers. At the start of this year, the grocer expanded its same-day grocery delivery service, which it first offered at Texas A&M University in College Station, Texas, in April 2021, by making it available for students, faculty and staff at the University of Texas at Austin. In February, H-E-B opened its first multi-level location in Austin, Texas. That store features two in-store restaurants, a coffee shop with breakfast tacos and a H-E-B’s Household Essentials department, among its store services.
In November, the grocer opened its first branded merchandise in-store display, called H-E-B Brand Shops, at a store in Kerrville, Texas, with plans to bring the new concept to more stores in the future. A few months before that, H-E-B debuted its Home by H-E-B department at a San Antonio store that summer.
H-E-B’s work seems to be paying off. The Texas grocer saw foot traffic at its stores increase 6.8% during the fourth quarter of 2022 compared with the same period in 2019 — a level that was higher than the overall performance of the state’s grocery industry, per recent Placer.ai findings. At the start of this year, H-E-B topped the 2022 Retailer Preference Index compiled by data analytics firm Dunnhumby, after coming in second place the prior year.
Correction: This story previously misstated information about the status of the on-demand grill assembly. The service is not live yet but is expected to be in the coming months.