The role of digital personalization

Permission granted by Cheetah

Note from the editor

Food retailing has come a long way since supermarkets first offered discounts to any shopper who provided a phone number at the checkout counter.

Today, grocers are using sophisticated analytics and techniques like machine learning to predict the products customers will want to buy and build promotions tailored to individual shoppers. Retailers are also looking to tap technology to help customers use personal health information to make shopping decisions, as Giant Eagle is doing with the virtual vitamin aisle concept it introduced earlier this year.

Meanwhile, a host of online-only grocers determined to grab market share from traditional supermarket operators by focusing on customization has also recently sprung up. These companies are building proprietary technology aimed at outsmarting their competitors to realize their ambitions in e-commerce. In a reflection of the sector's rapid rise, e-grocer Hungryroot earlier this year attracted new executives with senior-level experience at Grubhub and Kayak, a travel booking website.

In this trendline, we look at how retailers are looking beyond loyalty programs to personalize shoppers' e-commerce experience, and how Walmart has been able to use artificial intelligence to sharply increase the likelihood that online customers will accept the substitutions they're offered when items are out of stock. We also examine how Wegmans is thinking about using speech-recognition technology to let consumers use their voices to choose products, develop menus and save time — even if that means some don't set foot in its experience-focused supermarkets. In addition, we explore a tool from Shipt that allows online consumers to select a preferred shopper to handle their orders.

Personalization is a complex new frontier for the grocery industry, but fast-evolving technology is giving retailers access to a host of intriguing opportunities to redefine how they connect with tech-savvy customers — and hold onto their business.

Sam Silverstein Reporter

'Not a fad': Voice-based technology holds promise for grocers

Doug Rogers, chief security officer at Wegmans, said the tech could become the top way shoppers want to interact with the grocer.

• Published Jan. 27, 2021

Walmart boosts shopper acceptance of substitutions with deep learning AI

Walmart executive Srini Venkatesan shared in a blog post how the retailer is using the technology to improve customer satisfaction and streamline picking of online grocery orders.

• Published June 25, 2021

Grocers chase the promise of e-commerce personalization

Customization tools like shoppable recipes and product recommendations are helping consumers cut through the clutter of center store. But retailers are only scratching the surface of what's possible.

• Published Nov. 16, 2021

How to reach health-conscious shoppers online? Offer personalized tools, study says

Researchers at the University of Minnesota found that letting shoppers create customized health filters, offering meal planning resources and other steps resonated with those trying to lose weight.

• Published July 26, 2021

Shipt now lets members pick their 'preferred' shoppers

The new tool prioritizes customers' favorite workers in handling orders, offering a point of distinction in the increasingly competitive online shopping field.

• Published Aug. 24, 2021

Giant Eagle rolls out virtual aisle selling personalized vitamins

The retailer teamed up with Vous Vitamin and medical tech firm Higi on digital in-store stations that let shoppers take a quiz and place home delivery orders.

• Published June 2, 2021

Personalized e-grocer Hungryroot names head marketing and digital executives

Stephanie Retcho, who led marketing at Kayak, and Grubhub veteran Alex Weinstein will lead the startup's effort to reach more shoppers and refine its proprietary technology.

• Published Aug. 26, 2021

Digital personalization marking the grocery industry

Personalization is a complex new frontier for the grocery industry, but fast-evolving technology is giving retailers access to a host of opportunities to redefine how they connect with tech-savvy customers. Explore how companies like Walmart and Wegmans are tapping into AI to create better customer experiences.

included in this trendline
  • Walmart boosts shopper acceptance of substitutions with deep learning AI
  • Giant Eagle rolls out virtual aisle selling personalized vitamins
  • How to reach health-conscious shoppers online? Offer personalized tools, study says