TECHNOLOGY

Meijer’s deliveries hit half million

BY Deena M. Amato-McCoy

Meijer’s grocery delivery service has hit a major milestone.

The grocery and general merchandise retailer recently surpassed 500,000 deliveries, and is on-pace to make more than a million deliveries by year-end. Meijer launched its grocery delivery service in September 2016.

The program, which kicked off in 25 stores in Detroit, expanded to more than 200 stores in just 148 days. To date, the service is available to more than 10 million households in Michigan, Indiana, Ohio, Illinois, Wisconsin, and Kentucky, Meijer reported.

Leveraging its relationship with on-demand grocery delivery provider Shipt, Meijer customers can shop more than 55,000 items using the Shipt app in iOS or Android, or online. A Shipt shopper will hand pick their items and deliver them in as little as one hour after the order is placed.

To date, more than 85,000 cases of water, 1 million eggs and 1.5 million pounds of bananas have been delivered, according to the retailer.

“As e-commerce continues to change the way people shop, we are proud to bring home delivery to the Midwest and innovate the way people shop our stores,” Meijer president and CEO Rick Keyes said. “Our goal was to quickly bring a high level of convenience to as many customers as possible, so surpassing a half million deliveries is a great start as we continue enhancing this personalized customer-first experience.”

Keyes also credits the program’s success on its broad product assortment. Categories span fresh produce and grocery to general merchandise, including daily essential items like light bulbs, diapers, school supplies. They can also order bulk items, like bags of rock salt and pet foods, normally found at specialty stores.

The Shipt delivery service is membership-based. For either $99 a year or a monthly fee, Shipt members receive unlimited free grocery deliveries on all orders over $35. Orders under this threshold are subject to a $7 delivery fee.

Delivery service members can also earn mPerks Rewards that can be redeemed in store. The Shipt app also gives members access to Meijer’s weekly sales prices.

Meijer operates 235 supercenters and grocery stores throughout Michigan, Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Kentucky and Wisconsin.

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TECHNOLOGY

Big and tall retailer streamlines product management operations

BY Deena M. Amato-McCoy

Destination XL Group has found a way to better capture and manage its ever-increasing product data.

The big and tall company needed a way to onboard new product collections and manage existing storekeeping units (SKUs) — not an easy task while maintaining both owned and third-party sales channels. This task was further exacerbated by a decentralized product data management system. Not only did each brand manage their own files, but all data was recorded on disparate Excel spreadsheets and enterprise systems, which caused data integrity complications.

Eager to make product management operations easier and more reliable for users, DXL added PlumSlice’s Product Experience Cloud. Defined as a next-generation data command center, the product content management system captures and maintains robust product data for all SKUs across the company’s DXL, Casual Male XL and Rochester Clothing retail brands.

“We wanted a solution that would automate the tracking, workflows and alerts processes, while allowing various teams to collaborate more effectively,” said Sahal Laher, chief digital officer and CIO, DXL. “PlumSlice offers an advanced and intuitive dashboard that makes product management faster and more reliable, while offering the scalability we need as a growing business.”

The solution’s product information management (PIM) capabilities enable DXL to give all of its e-commerce sites visibility into product information, as well as to push their inventory to third-party marketplaces and other digital sales channels. DXL will now be able to ensure that all product data is high quality, and content is thorough and accurate. Product data can also be shared with forecasting and supply chain systems, and used to support predictive analytics strategies.

By managing data on a web-based dashboard, DXL uses an intuitive user interface (UI) to create fields, add attributes and implement rules for all merchandise. PlumSlice’s UI also supports multiple workflows, enhanced team collaboration, and provides self-service extensibility, a critical component for all merchants, content editors, photographers and globally located teams.

With access to higher quality, consistent and enriched product content, DXL is giving customers the information they need to improve their buying decisions, while driving revenue among the multiple channels where the data is being used, according to PlumSlice.

DXL operates store locations throughout the United States, London, England and Ontario, Canada, as well as an e-commerce site.

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TECHNOLOGY

Study: Lidl is serious threat to U.S. incumbent food retailers

BY Marianne Wilson

A new survey is at odds with several industry reports that put a negative spin on discount grocer Lidl’s early performance in the United States.

Global management consultancy Oliver Wyman surveyed grocery shoppers both before and after they had shopped at Lidl. It found that 56% of all first-time surveyed Lidl shoppers said they will shop there more frequently in the future versus 39% saying that prior to the stores opening. The survey, which was conducted in Virginia, North Carolina and South Carolina, also revealed that the most popular current preferred grocer of Lidl first-time Lidl shoppers was Walmart (25.2%), followed by Food Lion (17.2%) and Harris Teeter (11. 2%). Only 9% of the first-time Lidl shoppers considered discounter Aldi as their main grocer.

“We found that customers favor Lidl not only for its value and private label, but also for its fresh produce and assortment,” Oliver Wyman stated.

The firm said that Lidl’s appeal is economically broad, with income brackets matched well with those for incumbent grocers. It noted that these early findings, combined with Lidl’s success in entering 20 other countries, underscores Lidl as a serious threat to U.S. incumbent food retailers.

“We are urging food retailers to take action as far as 24 months ahead of Lidl’s entry into their market,” stated Oliver Wyman. “Customers, and their potential attraction to Lidl (and Aldi), are the prize that is at stake.”

For more insights by Oliver Wyman on Lidl’s disruption to the US grocery market, click here.

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