Kroger uses data science to adapt digitally

NEW YORK— Digital disruption is affecting retailers of all stripes, but the grocery sector has been slow to adopt new technological tools. But that doesn't mean the nation's largest grocery chain isn't innovating around the digital path to purchase.

Kroger (NYSE:KR) is using science to analyze customer data and then adapt the tried and true tools of the grocery trade, namely the weekly circular.

"The weekly circular has been a staple of the grocery industry, and 50 percent of our shoppers are still using the weekly ad," said Matt Thompson, VP digital business, Kroger.

Coupons, too, remain popular and effective tools for Kroger. Roughly 60 percent of households that get a mailer redeem an offer, and email open rates for offers that are personal and relevant are also very high, around 70 percent.

Kroger is transitioning its weekly circular to digital, offering both a view of the traditional print version scanned online to a more dynamic version on the mobile app that orders items by importance or interest to the individual shopper.

The retailer's Savings Center page is completely personalized today. "No two are the same," Thompson said. The effects are increased spend and loyalty. "We see them spend more with us. We see their average trip go up and their loyalty go up."  

"Aligning yourself with the customers can really make a difference."

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