How Dierbergs Is Delivering on the Important Pre-Shop Capability

Progressive Grocer talks with St. Louis-area indie and its tech partner, Swiftly
Lynn Petrak, Progressive Grocer
Dierbergs app
Dierbergs has launched a new app, rebuilt with tech partner Swiftly to link the in-store and online experience.

Dierbergs Markets, an independent chain in the St. Louis area, had been working on a grocery tech app for the better part of two years when the grocer’s experts realized that it was an ambitious and resource-heavy project in both the short- and long-term future.

“As a 27-store independent in the Midwest, we scrapped the app that we spent two years building because we realized that in order to keep up with the biggest retailers that truly deliver the seamless experience customers expect, we didn’t have the tools and scale to do it on our own,” Laura Dierberg Padousis, EVP of the family-operated retailer, told Progressive Grocer in a recent interview.

[RELATED: Save A Lot Taps Swiftly to Bring Digital Capabilities to Indies]

Enter grocery tech and retail media provider Swiftly. Dierbergs and Swiftly first met about a year ago about a potential collaboration, and this week, officially launched a strategic partnership that integrates the grocer's in-store and digital offerings through a new app and a retail media program. “It’s become table stakes for grocery shoppers to be able to know before they even set foot in a store to learn where something is in the store and what it will cost them. When you think about the capability to bring that to brick and mortar and connect with shopping lists, it’s a tall order for grocers to be able to do. Our mission is to put independents on an equal playing field with the largest of retailers,” explained Sean Turner, Swiftly’s co-founder and chief innovation officer, in a joint discussion with Dierberg Padousis.

The resulting tech platform will help Dierbergs open up new revenue streams and build relationships with shoppers who increasingly shop across channels and retailers to find the best products for themselves and their households. “One big benefit our customers will see is the pre-planning they can use to their benefit. That includes things like personalized content on past purchases. They can see what’s on sale and see weekly ad coupons and promotions and say, 'I can interact with Dierbergs at home and at the store, and even more valuable, I can save money,’” remarked Dierberg Padousis.

To her point, the rebuilt Dierbergs app is powered by Swiftly’s platform and features a custom “on-sale-for-you” feature that includes recommendations based on shopping history. Users can also access and use the Dierbergs rewards program on their device. 

The retail media component of the partnership with Swiftly also provides shoppers with relevant content and offers. “When you look at retailers like Walmart, generating more than $3 billion in retail media revenue for the year, it’s critical that independent grocers can take advantage of the same type of investment from CPG brands. Those revenues allow grocers to be able to pass on savings and value to the consumer,” said Turner. “Ultimately, it’s the consumer that benefits in the long run.”

Dierberg Padousis agreed, and said it’s also a chance for local brands to gain visibility among shoppers. “To me, it’s exciting to be able to offer another growth opportunity. A lot of the independent brands don’t have the scale, either, to be able to compete with the big brands and in some ways, this allows them a way to connect directly to consumers,” she said.

The new app is rolling out now for use at Dierbergs locations. This is the second upgrade this year for the grocer, which recently teamed up with  food tech company Fig to help shoppers find products that meet their health and wellness needs through the Fig app.

A privately owned, family-run business, Dierbergs Markets operates 27 stores in the St. Louis region, with two stores in Illinois and one in the Ozarks. 

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