Information Week: Grocery Giant Kroger's Data Side Hustle
When you are the largest supermarket operator in the United States by revenue, you don’t really need a side hustle. But a highly successful retail business like Kroger generates more than just revenue from sales of groceries to consumers. Kroger also has years of longitudinal data about those customers’ buying habits -- something that is in high demand by consumer packaged goods (CPG) companies that have struggled over the last several years through a pandemic, a supply chain crisis, and now an accelerated rate of inflation.
Providing insights about that data is the idea behind 84.51°, a retail data science insights and media company operated by the grocery giant Kroger. It’s named after the longitude of its headquarters in Cincinnati, and it chose the longitude as a name because it is looking longitudinally to follow the journey consumers take in the store with the brands they buy.
“We’ve got a very, very robust first-party transactional data asset that is impressive both in its magnitude of 60 million households and 2 billion transactions a year, but also in its grain and the persistence of what we see,” says Emily Gibbons, the lead for the data science organization that supports the insights business. “About half of these folks we see every single week, and we’ve been seeing them for over five years.”
The organization is highly integrated with the Kroger merchandizing organization to help drive operational decisions being made in-house and in the stores. For instance, insights can be applied in the Kroger customer loyalty program and also in providing personalized relevant targeting to customers. But for the past few years, it has also been available in the form of a commercial data service offering to Kroger’s CPG partners. Gibbons says that the volatility in the market during that time has driven demand for such insights.
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