It’s all systems go for a new e-commerce program at the Defense Commissary Agency (DeCA). Last week, the agency hosted a ribbon cutting at Fort Belvoir in Fairfax County, Va., marking the launch of its Click2Go platform.
In a test period that began June 1 and extends through Aug. 30, DeCA shoppers within a 20-mile radius of a participating commissary can order groceries online through the Click2Go service. The program is being piloted at Fort Belvoir, Scott Air Force Base in Illinois, Fort Bragg in North Carolina, MacDill Air Force Base in Florida, Naval Station Norfolk in Virginia, Joint Base Lewis-McChord in Washington and the Marine Corps Air Station Miramar and Naval Station San Diego, both in California.
“If we can’t get the patron to the store, then we’ve got to get the benefit to the patron – that’s what Click2Go delivery is really about at these eight locations,” said William “Bill” Moore, DeCA’s director and CEO. “So far, it’s working extremely well at Belvoir, we’re knocking it out of the park here. If this pilot continues its success, we’re going to go globally, as fast as the law and contracting rules allow.”
The e-commerce program is based in part on feedback from focus groups comprised of young, single enlisted service members seeking convenience. DeCA determined that Click2Go is also an appealing option for families and disabled veterans who are challenged to visit the store.
Added Moore: “As we spread the word on this much-needed benefit to all our eligible customers, we are using technology to expand access in more convenient ways than ever before – like online shopping and curbside pickup with online payment (available now at all stores) and now our test of delivery services.”
Fort Lee, Va.-based DeCA operates a worldwide chain of commissaries providing groceries to military personnel, retirees and their families in a safe and secure shopping environment. DeCA is No. 62 on The PG 100, Progressive Grocer’s 2022 list of the top food and consumables retailers in North America.
CVS to Improve Digital Customer Engagement With New Hire
Driving a digital-first and tech-forward approach, CVS Health has appointed Tilak Mandadi EVP and the newly created role of chief data, digital and technology officer, effective July 25. Mandadi will be responsible for the company's data, digital and technology strategy while overseeing growth and innovation through digital-led, consumer-focused experiences and services.
"Technology is a catalyst for value-creation and growth at CVS Health," said CVS Health President and CEO Karen S. Lynch. "It is crucial that we continue to enhance customer engagement and experiences, and we’re confident Tilak will drive these efforts as we prioritize serving consumers wherever and whenever they need health care."
An example of these efforts includes the recent launch of CVS Health Virtual Primary Care, which connects the company’s services, clinical expertise and data for a more coordinated and consumer-centric health care experience. The solution enables consumers to choose care when and where they want – in a retail or community-based setting, through at-home health services, or virtually.
Mandadi joins CVS Health from MGM Resorts International, where he was chief strategy, innovation and technology officer. He also held senior digital strategy roles for Disney Parks, Experiences and Products, and American Express.
"CVS Health serves more than 44 million unique digital customers and is increasingly integrating digital solutions into the consumer health care experience," said Mandadi. "I look forward to helping make health care more seamless, convenient, and personalized, and driving business agility and growth through technology, data, digital and experiential innovations."
Mandadi will become a member of the company's executive leadership team and report directly to Lynch. He holds a master’s degree in computer science from the University of Oregon.
ShopLiftr, which connects shoppers with real-time, localized deals through digital advertising experiences, has shared the results of a recent partnership with a major discount retailer. According to the Canadian tech company, the combination of video and display advertising led to an additional 44,000 incremental customer visits and spurred a 13.98% incremental lift.
The test program also spurred increased repeat visits and average basket size per customer. ShopLiftr attributed the success of the initiative to the fact that the ads help value-seeking shoppers find reasonably-priced items from their favorite brands in store, something that reflects current market dynamics.
ShopLiftr is powered by a proprietary database of active trade promotions from all major grocery chains in North America. The company works with several CPG brands and retailers to deliver personalized ad experiences at scale across North America.
“We understand that consumers want to find the products they want with ease, while saving money. At the same time, our retailer and brand partners continue to face ongoing product availability concerns. Our ad tech platform offers key differentiators that bridge that gap by delivering timely deals, with creative triggers and flexible messaging, on products available in-store now, and the sales lift results we are observing are the proof-positive that it works,” said John Scott, ShopLiftr’s co-founder and CEO earlier this year about the platform’s goals.
Cubi Market Connects Local Producers and Shoppers in Central Ohio
Cubi Market is seeking to unlock growth in central Ohio. The independent retailer, which allows customers to order items from local merchants online and pick up their orders in a temperature-controlled, easily-accessed locker, has opened a new location in the town of Granville.
“Our goal is to provide food producers to sell their items directly through Cubi Market,” explained Culinary Director Paul Mixa. “Columbus is a great market and working with the Granville market was a great first location to start.”
Several farmers, producers and artisans, such as Cherokee Valley Bison Ranch, Covered Bridge Creamery and Bird's Haven Farms, are providing goods for fulfillment. “Central Ohio is rich with farms and artisan products, and they all work closely with one another to reach those local customers. The merchants are supplying customers directly through order fulfillment at our refrigerated station, and we provide the technology for them to do so,” Mixa said.
In this venture, Cubi is also teaming up with the Granville Farmers Market as a way to extend the availability of farmers’ market fare in another venue and throughout the year. In addition to providing a new opportunity for vendors, Cubi’s team is also onsite at the town’s outdoor farmer’s market sharing the news about its operation.
Cubi is focusing on Ohio following a test program in West Michigan. While those operations recently ceased, Mixa said that the company may return to that region in the future.
Amazon Fresh Brings Another Low-Priced Grocery Store to Virginia
Supporting its accelerated retail growth, Amazon has opened a smaller- footprint Fresh banner grocery store in Arlington, Va. Located at 1550 Crystal Drive, the approximately 16,000-square-foot Amazon Fresh store offers Just Walk Out Shopping, which adds convenience to customers’ shopping experience by giving them the option to skip the checkout line.
Despite its small size, the new Amazon Fresh still touts a wide assortment of national brands and regional favorites like Duke’s Mayo, Ellenos Yogurt and Boston Chowda, and Amazon-exclusive brands like Aplenty, Cursive and Fresh. A range of prepared foods made fresh in store every day includes made-to-order pizzas, rotisserie chickens and hot sandwiches.
Amazon Fresh is also touting itseveryday low-priced items during a time of record-high inflation. Deals include 15-cent bananas, 89-cent freshly baked bread, $1.99 freshly baked pizza slices and $4.97 rotisserie chickens.
Customers shopping with Just Walk Out technology can use a credit or debit card, Amazon One, or the In-Store QR code in the Amazon app to shop.
The Arlington store will support its new community by creating hundreds of jobs with a starting wage of $15.50 per hour, in addition to donating surplus food to local food banks.
Arlington Amazon Fresh follows other northern Virginia store openings last month. A 45,000-square-foot location at 7807 Sudley Road in Manassas opened June 9, while a 38,000-square-foot Amazon Fresh at 9409 Lorton Market Street in Lorton debuted later in the month.
Amazon Fresh also introduced a store in the Chicago suburbs in June. The 40,000-square-foot space is located at 7201 West 24th Street in west suburban North Riverside.
Same-day shopping and delivery company Shipt has joined forces with leading home discount retailer Big Lots to offer customers a new way to shop for bargains on home goods, groceries, home decor and more from 1,000 stores across the U.S. The addition of Big Lots is part of Shipt’s strategic growth as a multi-vertical marketplace. The company currently offers same-day delivery for everyday essentials from 160 retailers.
“We often say we bring the store to your door, and we’re taking that even further with the addition of Big Lots’ robust assortment of home goods, groceries, apparel, beauty products, everyday essentials and even small furniture to Shipt’s marketplace," said Rina Hurst, Shipt’s chief business officer. "This partnership builds upon our efforts to make Shipt a one-stop shop for all the shopping needs of our customers.”
The partnership between Shipt and Big Lots shows how stores can leverage various solutions across their fulfillment strategies. Shipt’s same-day services will support the delivery of all mid- and small-sized goods, including toys, paper products, and small furniture like chairs and desks, while supplementing the mass retailer’s existing curbside, buy-online-pickup-in-store and same-day operations for bigger items like large indoor and patio furniture.
“This partnership expands our ability to provide exceptional deals on top brands, surprising finds and best-in-class service to a new community of customers via same-day delivery,” said Bruce Thorn, Big Lots’ president and CEO.
As of July 7, customers can place orders from more than 1,000 Big Lots stores nationwide, powered by Shipt’s community of 300,000 personal Shipt Shoppers.