Albertsons Cos. Makes Another Major Digital Move With Social Media Giant

Retailer partners with Pinterest on AI and API tech for innovative shopping experiences
Marian Zboraj, Progressive Grocer
Albertsons Co. Makes Another Major Digital Move With Social Media Giant
Albertsons Cos. is partnering with Pinterest to drive new first to market shopping experiences.

The latest strategic addition to Albertsons Cos.’ thriving grocery e-commerce business has the food retailer partnering with Pinterest, a leading platform for food discovery and inspiration, to drive new first-to-market shopping experiences. The new multi-year agreement, the largest ever between the two partners, will use artificial intelligence (AI) and application programming interface (API) technology to help grocery shoppers plan inspired, fresh meals. The collaboration also taps into Pinterest’s growing creator ecosystem, forward looking trends and new formats like Idea Pins — Pinterest’s multi-page video format. 

Digital sales continued to climb in Albertsons Cos.' first fiscal quarter ending June 19, with a 276% increase on a two-year stacked basis. So it's inevitable that the food retailer continues to make moves to create immersive digital experiences. Just yesterday, on Sept. 22, the company formed a partnership with Firework, a short-form video platform. The retailer is the first U.S. grocer to employ the Firework platform to bring online shoppers a community-oriented experience led by shoppable, short-form and livestream video.

In regards to Albertsons Cos.’ latest partnership with Pinterest, planned innovations include:

  • A meal planning API: Recipes will be seamlessly shoppable by integrating saved pins straight into Albertsons Cos. banner app. Shoppers add all of the ingredients to their cart in one click, and the integration will also recommend what consumers should make based on searches, saves and purchase history. 
  • Albertsons Cos. employee ambassadors as Pinterest Creators: Across ACI’s massive workforce of 300,000 customer-focused associates, the company turned 20 talented associates into bona fide Pinterest Creators, including a master meat griller, a certified sommelier, a patisserie expert, and a mom who has mastered meal prepping. Associates, many of whom have spent their professional lives around food, will inspire and engage customers leveraging their store’s "fresh" food inventory and Pinterest search trends with the Idea Pins format. This program allows ACI’s workforce to use Pinterest’s creation tools in an exclusive way to reflect their knowledge, inspiration and pride. 
  • AI-powered shoppable tablescapes: Albertsons Cos. and Pinterest will create interactive shoppable tablescapes to show Pinners how a single ingredient can be leveraged for multiple recipes and/or able to meet specific dietary restrictions.

Ninety-three percent of food and beverage weekly "Pinners" use Pinterest to discover products in their path to purchase. Currently trending on Pinterest:

  • Searches for “pani popo recipes” increased 2x.
  • Searches for “whipped lemonade recipe” increased 2x.
  • Searches for “beef birria recipe” increased 2x.
  • Searches for “birria tacos recipe easy” increased 2x.
  • Searches for “airfryer meals” increased 42x.

“At 4:00pm every day, the number one food search on Pinterest is 'what’s for dinner,' and Albertsons Cos. is delivering with inspiring and intuitive experiences that help our Pinners answer that question every day,” said Jon Kaplan, chief revenue officer at San Francisco-based Pinterest. “Albertson’s forward-looking use of Pinterest only solidifies the critical role that online grocery inspiration will continue to play in the consumer journey. We’re thrilled to see how the team is creating quality content through multiple channels, from our API and AI innovations, to our burgeoning Creator ecosystem.” 

“Solving the age-old question of 'what’s for dinner?' is something that we’ve been determined to simplify for our customers,” said Chris Rupp, EVP/chief customer and digital officer at Albertsons. “We want to meet them where they are while making the experience easy and enjoyable, and our partnership with Pinterest is just one more way Albertsons is creatively looking to continue our connections with customers as a food authority.” 

Another big retail name is also making moves to help answer the “what’s for dinner?” question. Bentonville, Ark.-based Walmart Inc. and venerable publisher Meredith Corp. announced their partnership a few weeks ago to help consumers plan and prepare meals faster and more easily through AI-powered meal planning, shoppable recipes, visual search, chatbots, and more. The program includes visual search technologies, a voice-activated experience through Allrecipes Action for Google Assistant and shoppable video ads airing on the TikTok social media platform.

Boise, Idaho-based Albertsons operates more than 2,200 retail stores with 1,700-plus pharmacies, 400 associated fuel centers, 22 dedicated distribution centers and 20 manufacturing facilities. The company’s stores predominantly operate under the Albertsons, Safeway, Vons, Pavilions, Randalls, Tom Thumb, Carrs, Jewel-Osco, Acme, Shaw’s, Star Market, United Supermarkets, Kings Food Markets and Haggen banners. Albertsons is No. 8 on The PG 100, Progressive Grocer’s 2021 list of the top food and consumables retailers in North AmericaWalmart U.S. is No. 1 on The PG 100.

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