TECHNOLOGY

H-E-B to open digital tech lab

BY Deena M. Amato-McCoy

H-E-B, the Texas grocery powerhouse, made a new move to strengthen its position in the digital retail space.

The supermarket retailer is developing a “world-class” tech facility and innovation lab in East Austin, Texas. The 81,000-sq.-ft. facility, expected to open next spring, will house the company’s growing H-E-B Digital team and Favor, the Austin-based on-demand delivery service that is a wholly-owned subsidiary of the company. (The grocer acquired Favor Delivery in February.)

H-E-B is converting an industrial warehouse into a creative and collaborative workspace for Austin-based employees of the H-E-B Digital team and Favor’s corporate headquarters. Architecture firm, IA Interior Architects, is fully customizing the two-story space.

The lab is also on the hunt for talent that will bolster the digital and Favor teams. The company plans to add several hundred jobs, and is hiring across all areas of expertise, including product management, product design, and software engineering, according to H-E-B.

The new facility coincides with the company’s other strategic moves designed to enhance H-E-B’s digital and delivery offerings. In addition to acquiring Favor Delivery, the grocer also offers home grocery delivery through its HEBtoYou program, as well as curbside pickup — a service that enables customers to order online and have their groceries delivered right to their cars. The service is available in more than 145 locations across Texas, and is on track to reach 165 stores in 2018.

The company has also named Jag Bath, Favor’s CEO and president, as its chief digital officer, and Mike Georgoff as chief product officer for H-E-B Digital. Georgoff was previously chief product officer at Main Street Hub, an Austin-based digital marketing firm that was acquired by GoDaddy earlier this year.

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