Albertsons to Redouble Online Efforts in 2018

Mon. July 3rd, 2017 - by Robert Schaulis

BOISE, ID – Looking to keep its competitive edge as Amazon’s $13.7 billion proposed acquisition of Whole Foods makes waves throughout retail, Albertsons has introduced plans to overhaul its e-commerce systems at its 2,300 supermarkets and stores throughout the next fiscal year.

The grocery chain, owned by private equity firm Cerberus Capital Management, currently has a hodgepodge of e-commerce operations implemented between five and 15 years ago. The company’s CIO and Executive Vice President Anuj Dhanda told the Wall Street Journal (WSJ) that the company is looking to migrate or rewrite outdated systems, update features of its website and mobile app, and provide a “cleaner and simpler” online shopping experience for its customers.

Albertsons Produce Department

And the company is doing so with new leadership, bringing in executives with ecommerce experience outside of the grocery world. Alongside Dhanda, who joined Albertsons in 2015 after a stint with Giant Eagle and many years in banking at J.P. Morgan Chase & Co. and others, the company is positioning a number of executives with online experience outside of fresh food in key roles.

Narayan Iyengar, Senior Vice President, Digital Marketing and E-Commerce, Albertsons“We are bringing in leaders with experience in industries that have undergone dramatic transformation due to digital—people who have been through battles and learned from it,” Narayan Iyengar, Senior Vice President of Digital Marketing and Ecommerce, told the WSJ.

Iyengar is one of several recent executive hires from outside the grocery business. Iyengar joined the company this January, followed by Karl Varsanyi, one of the developers of Macy’s website, hired in May as Group Vice President of Digital Product Management. Most recently, Albertsons hired Ramiya Iyer, who helped build Levi Strauss & Co.’s analytics operations and held various IT position with Walmart, as Group Vice President of IT Digital and Marketing/Merchandising.

The WSJ noted that Albertsons’ complicated history, including a number of acquisitions, its 2015 merger with Safeway, and the buying and selling of various Albertsons-owned banners, have resulted in a makeshift mix of IT systems. As of right now, roughly half of Albertsons’ customers can shop online.

Will Albertsons’ efforts be enough to negotiate and thrive amidst Amazon’s disruptive foray into brick and mortar grocery retail? Stay tuned to AndNowUKnow for more developments as the grocery giant looks to modernize its online infrastructure.