How Tech Innovation Helps Kroger Create Value and Improve Customer and Associate Experiences

Over the past two decades, Kroger has paid particular attention to the in-store customer experience by investing in data and innovation, which has created immense value for the largest U.S. supermarket chain and helped customers save $1.4 billion last year alone.

Kroger’s Chief Information Officer (CIO) and Senior Vice President (SVP) Yael Cosset discussed how tech creates customer value and improves experiences for customers and associates during the ShopTalk 2023 event in Las Vegas.

“Kroger pioneered the personalization approach because we wanted to understand how customers engaged with our offers to make them better and more relevant. Our best-in-class data science program creates personalized experiences that provide important savings on the very specific items we know our customers love,” said Cosset.

He added that “the ability to personalize every single aspect of the customer experience is critical to Kroger’s commitment to a zero-compromise, seamless experience. Customers can shop the way they want – in-store, through pickup or delivery, when they want it – in 30 minutes, two hours, or tomorrow, without compromising on the quality, freshness, or value they appreciate from Kroger.”

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Cosset explained how the grocer uses learnings from this approach to improve the associate experience, making their jobs more accessible, more intuitive, and efficient, ultimately increasing their impact on the customer experience and overall job satisfaction.

Kroger digitized associate processes, comparable to the models built to personalize the customer experience, significantly improving onboarding, training, and the prioritization of daily activities.

“Data and personalization make associates’ lives better. We are using technology to provide comprehensive training, simplify tasks and give our associates the support they need to do their jobs well. This enables associates to understand their roles better and achieve faster career growth. These improvements also provide more time to do what they do best—interact with and get to know customers, which truly takes the concept of personalization to the next level.”

Cosset also shared how the pandemic impacted the grocer’s e-commerce customer and associate experience, with growth acceleration forcing the reinvention of processes and technology capabilities to scale. This push led to rapid innovation around customer and associate capabilities, from a 50% decrease in customer wait time and a 30% order pick time improvement to eliminating the use of paper in e-commerce store operations, removing more than 25,000 miles worth of paper per year.

“Efficiencies are vital to create continued growth and achieve scale, and we need technology and data at the service of our associates to create an awesome customer experience,” Cosset said.

Asked what new technologies he found most exciting, the CIO revealed he is excited to continue to bring data science to the entire Kroger organization, with associate engagement driving innovation to create better customer and associate experiences.