How Kroger and Ahold are Sharpening Data and Digital Tactics

Jamie Grill-Goodman
Editor in Chief
Jamie goodman
Michael Schuh, director of product strategy and innovation, Kroger Precision Marketing.

Personalization is a key must-have for retailers these days, but what is needed to do this and exactly how to personalize to shoppers remains a key topic of discussion. Having proper data on individual consumers is a start to answering these valuable questions, as is streamlining digital operations.

“The game has changed,” said Lindsay Pullins. “We have to get personalized.” 

Lindsay Pullins and Michael Schuh — both directors of product strategy and innovation at 84.51, Kroger Precision Marketing, presented in morning sessions on the final day of the Path to Purchase Expo in Chicago on Nov. 14, along with Linda Crowder, sales team lead, Peapod Digital Labs, an Ahold Delhaize Co. These top digital executives discussed the importance of leveraging data, predictive analytics and the use of their digital platforms to get very micro in their reach.

To really master personalization and reach individual consumers, retailers need to start with proper data.

Pullins and Schuh stressed the importance of verified behavior data. Schuh compared the results of his own shopper profile gleaned via third-party data and Kroger’s first-party data as an example. While the third-party data was flawed, Kroger’s first-party data was accurately fine-combed. Kroger, with that first-party data, can target different messages to different shoppers, such as identifying a shopper who’s never purchased a brand and curate a deep offer to get that person to buy. On the other hand, a shopper who is very loyal to a brand can get a message that rewards the purchase. Pullins also mentioned that Kroger emails have a 40% open rate, because they’re “customized and personalized.” 

Linda Crowder, sales team lead, Peapod Digital Labs, an Ahold Delhaize Co.

Pulling together channels for personalization efforts is another obstacle retailers must overcome.

Crowder, acknowledged that with Ahold Delhaize banners such as Food Lion, Hannaford, Giant/Martin’s and Giant spread across regions and working differently on digital, things are a bit disjointed and misaligned. For one, Food Lion customers get grocery delivery from Instacart, Hannaford shoppers use Hannaford to go, and the rest use Peapod. She said that will change as Ahold is developing “a singular digital site, all powered by Peapod Digital Labs.” For brands looking to enhance that digital reach across banners, personalize messaging to target shoppers or present a more omnichannel effort, Peapod Digital Labs will serve as that one-stop shop for digital opportunities.

Empowering the new omnichannel growth engine, as she called it, is the fact that shoppers who buy both online and in-store spend up to 3% more than just in-store shoppers. Crowder sees cross-brand retail media partnerships on the platform and in-store in the form of addressable TV spots, online and mobile video ads, social media and digital banner ads all working to target past shoppers and tackle “top funnel” goals such as awareness, interest and intent. Mid-to-bottom funnel tactics aiming to get products on the list and in the cart include consumer promotion offers, retail website media, store media, sponsored product ads and in-store shelf ads.

 For more in data and personalization, Click here for the full recap of these sessions “Kroger, Ahold tout the need for fresh data and streamlined digital operations,” from RIS’ sister publication Retail Leader. 

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