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Alert Innovation Adds Hershey's Chief Digital Officer as Council Member

Tech company adds Doug Straton to strengthen Retail Advisory Council
Marian Zboraj, Progressive Grocer
Alert Innovation Adds Hershey's Chief Digital Officer as Council Member Doug Straton
Doug Straton

Alert Innovation Inc., a provider of grocery automation and micro-fulfillment systems, has added Doug Straton, chief digital officer at snack producer The Hershey Co., to its Retail Advisory Council (RAC). 

Created back in March, the RAC is an alliance of executives and academics with expertise in grocery, retail, consumer behavior and e-commerce. It was established to influence Alert Innovation's development efforts focused on improving omnichannel grocery experiences.

With a successful career growing top global brands such as Unilever, LVMH, TAG Heuer and L’Oréal, Straton adds his experience to the RAC’s vast knowledge of online consumer behaviors and best practices for omnichannel e-commerce.

“Grocery shoppers have shifted their spending to online channels dramatically over the past 16 months. In response, many of our retail partners are embracing automation,” said Straton. “I’m eager to provide a CPG perspective to the groundbreaking work at Alert Innovation, in particular the Alphabot platform that allows retailers to successfully fulfill orders that include temperature-sensitive products like chocolate through its system.”

Alert Innovation's Alphabot system is an automated fulfillment solution that uses patented omnidirectional robots in a temperature-controlled system for fresh, efficient and high-quality grocery fulfillment.

We are thrilled to welcome Doug to the RAC, and look forward to his valuable contributions and guidance as we expand our roadmap of automation solutions for grocery retailers,” said John Lert, founder and CEO of Billerica, Mass.-based Alert Innovation.

Straton joins RAC with Peter Larkin, former president and CEO at the Washington D.C.-based National Grocers Association, who joined the RAC just a few months ago.

Other members include:

  • Peter Fader, professor of marketing at The Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania
  • Chris Haimbach, U.S. head of sales, commercial strategy and operations, consumer health care at Bayer
  • Ann Raider, executive, global retail at IRI

For its second-quarter 2021 financial results ended July 4, Hershey reported consolidated net sales of $1,989.4 million, an increase of 16.5%. Net income was $301.2 million, or $1.45 per diluted share, an increase of 12.4%. The Hershey, Pa.-based company also reported adjusted earnings per diluted share of $1.47, an increase of 12.2%.

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