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09/20/2021

The Retail Tech Inside Hy-Vee

Jamie Grill-Goodman
Senior Editor
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As grocery chains reinvent themselves amid changing consumer habits, Hy-Vee has opened its first “reimagined” grocery store loaded with digital technology and is rolling out new receipt marketing tech chainwide.

After several months of construction, the supermarket chain’s new Grimes, IA, opened last week. Hy-Vee has invested more than $26 million in the community to build, furnish and stock its first entirely reimagined grocery store in its eight-state territory. 

a sign above a store
It’s full-service bakery featuring artisan and specialty breads, patisserie, cakes and a cake decorator station, also offers digital kiosks for ordering cakes.

New retail technology inside the store includes all-digital shelf tags and over 100 TVs for digital marketing. The more than 170,000 electronic shelf tags make the task of updating product pricing a seamless process that can be done in a matter of minutes.

It’s full-service bakery, featuring artisan and specialty breads, patisserie, cakes and a cake decorator station, also offers digital kiosks for ordering cakes. Additionally, there are digital kiosks for ordering fresh prepared foods, accessing offerings via Hy-Vee Financial Services, and Mealtime offerings. Mealtime To Go ready-to-eat or heat-and-serve meals orders can be ordered through the kiosk and picked up in as little as 20 minutes.

The location also features new mobile payment technology with Hy-Vee Scan & Go, as well as self-checkout options for a contactless shopping experience. Hy-Vee Aisles online grocery delivery and pick-up service guest services is also available.

The new tech in the Grimes store is just the kickoff of what's to come for Hy-Vee. The next Hy-Vee store to reflect all of these tech advancements will be the Eau Claire Hy-Vee opening on Sept. 28, a spokesperson told RIS

Inside the approximately 93,000-square-foot store, shoppers will find 100,000 items, including more than 10,000 specialty, more than 5,000 HealthMarket items and more than 1,500 fresh produce items (including more than 100 organic items). The Grimes Hy-Vee is also the first to offer a new dining experience for customers with a large, open Food Hall dining area for fast-casual dining, which includes Hy-Vee’s new breakfast menu; a pub with full bar and outdoor patio; Mia Italian; HyChi & Hibachi; Nori Sushi; Chowbotics; Market Grille Express; Long Island Deli; and a Wahlburgers at Hy-Vee.

[See more: Top Grocery Trends 2021: Reinventing the Customer Experience]

a store filled with lots of fresh produce
The location features new mobile payment technology with Hy-Vee Scan & Go.

In addition to the bakery department, there’s a full-service delicatessen; a full-service meat counter including a chef’s station; a full-service seafood counter with sustainable seafood options; an expanded HealthMarket department featuring a larger selection of vitamins and sports nutrition options; a large fresh produce area; an in-store Starbucks; expanded floral and gift shop departments; and a pharmacy with a drive-up window.

A Hy-Vee Wine & Spirits department features a walk-in beer cooler, walk-in humidor and walk-in wine room. Shoppers will also find a mother’s room, dry cleaning, bill pay, money transfers and postal services.

Partnerships

Hy-Vee has been partnering with other retailers to offer unique in-store experiences and the Grimes location showcases these new shop-in-shops. The grocer recently partnered with online retailer Pair Eyewear to bring Pair Eyewear kiosks to select Hy-Vee locations. The first kiosk is located inside the new Hy-Vee in Grimes, but the grocer plans to open more than a dozen in-store Pair Eyewear kiosks over the next year. 

The reimagined store also features the first new Johnson Fitness & Wellness showroom. Hy-Vee announced earlier this month it’s partnering with Johnson Fitness & Wellness to open in-store fitness equipment showrooms to select locations. Each showroom features several types of fitness equipment for customers to view and try for themselves, including treadmills, elliptical machines, exercise bikes and more. The showrooms are digitally supported, with a kiosk and QR codes available for customers to use to order from the Johnson Fitness & Wellness online platform. Free curbside home shipping is available for most items, and in-home delivery and installation is available for an additional cost. 

“As part of our mission to making customers’ lives easier, healthier and happier, we are deeply invested in the health and wellness journey of our customers,” said Randy Edeker, chairman, CEO and president of Hy-Vee. “Our new partnership with Johnson Fitness & Wellness allows us to diversify and expand upon our current health offerings to provide our customers with all the tools they need to live a healthy lifestyle.”  

Additional in-store offerings inside the Grimes location include DSW shoes and accessories, a partnership that kicked off in 2020; The W Nail Bar, a partnership that kicked off earlier this year; Joe Fresh clothing; a beauty department; and an expanded Candy Shoppe department with premium, novelty and nostalgic selections.

New Receipt Marketing Technology

Beyond opening the tech-packed Grimes location, Hy-Vee has partnered with flexEngage to power its receipt marketing technology across all of its 275 stores.

The new tech will enable Hy-Vee to personalize, monetize, and manage all of the marketing content on in-store receipts and e-commerce order notifications. In conjunction with Hy-Vee’s current content providers Catalina, Citrus Ad, and Quotient, flexEngage will place targeted marketing content and manufacturer offers to shoppers on Hy-Vee receipts, opening up the opportunity to personalize a critically relevant marketing channel.

The news comes as Hy-Vee recently chose a new POS company, GK Software. Hy-Vee was looking to complement the new POS deployment with a technology provider that would assist in better engaging customers post-purchase, while also creating new revenue streams by monetizing transactional communications. After an extensive search, Hy-Vee chose flexEngage for its advanced digital receipt and ecommerce notification capabilities, and comprehensive platform with turnkey integration to Hy-Vee’s content providers.

“We are excited to partner with flexEngage because of their flexibility and robust receipt marketing platform. We believe they provide our company with a valuable tool that will help our retail media team create new revenue streams, all while providing consumer savings and a better shopping experience,” said Joe Hammond, group vice president of marketing at Hy-Vee, Inc.