Giant Eagle Digitally Transforms Category Management Capabilities

Grocer teamed with Blue Yonder and Plantensive on planogramming, space-planning solution
Bridget Goldschmidt
Managing Editor
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Giant Eagle’s supermarkets each have between 20,000 and 60,000 SKUs, while its convenience stores each feature more than 3,500 SKUs.

Blue Yonder and Giant Eagle are working together to digitally transform the multiformat retailer’s space management capabilities. The project involved the implementation of Blue Yonder’s category management software-as-a-service (SaaS) solution and was overseen by Blue Yonder partner Plantensive. With rapidly evolving consumer behavior, supply chain disruptions and inflation, retailers must make faster decisions to attract and retain customers. Blue Yonder’s solutions offer the capability to automate many of these product decisions.

Giant Eagle’s supermarkets each have between 20,000 and 60,000 SKUs, while its convenience stores each feature more than 3,500 SKUs. The retailer was looking to automate and improve its category management capabilities from manual processes, so it opted for Blue Yonder.

[Read more: “US Foods Chef’Store Deploys AI-Based Forecasting and Planning Capabilities”]

With the new solution, the grocer has been able to:

  • Formalize the category management practice, giving it executive visibility and aligning it with the overall business.
  • Keep strategy and execution closely aligned and remove silos to allow teams to move from analysis to refinement to execution much faster.
  • Unite SKU data from across all its brands.
  • Allocate space more strategically, thanks to data and analytics, thereby improving the customer shopping experience.
  • Gain better control over the master planogram, which means fewer stock-outs, a healthier business and the ability to implement changes quickly.

“We needed a solution to help improve our customer-shopping and decision-making journey,” said Scott McNeely, Giant Eagle’s VP, merchandising planning, operations and analytics. “We knew Blue Yonder offered the right capability to meet our needs. The automation capability of Blue Yonder’s category management solution has allowed our staff to refocus how they work, spending time on more valuable things like building stronger partnerships, elevating our space management strategy and applying analytics to decisions.”

Blue Yonder’s category management solution permits Giant Eagle to optimize layouts across stores, optimizing space and reducing out-of-stocks, both of which result in more satisfied customers. The solution leverages SaaS, which is scalable and reliable, and allows users to take advantage of solution innovations as soon as they’re available. Giant Eagle is currently evaluating Blue Yonder’s clustering capabilities.

“As a Blue Yonder Category Management solutions provider, partnering Blue Yonder with Giant Eagle was imperative, given the ever-changing landscape in retail,” noted Dan Luttner, managing partner at Lancaster, Pa.-based Plantensive, a MorganFranklin company. “We are excited to see the impact this Blue Yonder solution has on their business. We will continue supporting Giant Eagle throughout this rollout, and we look forward to seeing how we can assist in their future supply chain technology projects.”

“Giant Eagle was looking for a category management and planogram strategy that could adjust as customer preference and demand changed,” said Vince Beacom, SVP, retail at Scottsdale, Ariz.-based Blue Yonder. “With Blue Yonder’s category management solutions, they can build and maintain store-specific planograms to drive more efficiency for their planners and staff to better meet these changing needs.” 

Giant Eagle operates approximately 480 stores throughout western Pennsylvania, north central Ohio, northern West Virginia, Maryland and Indiana. The Pittsburgh-based company is No. 40 on The PG 100, Progressive Grocer’s 2023 list of the top food and consumables retailers in North America. PG also named the company one of its Top 10 Most Sustainable Grocers.

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