The future of grocery shopping is all about data
“Data is the new battleground,” says Stuart Aitken, chief executive of 84.51˚, Kroger Co.’s KR, 0.69% data-analytics unit, whose name derives from the longitude of the division’s Cincinnati headquarters and because its 750 employees do so-called longitudinal studies, researching habits of customers over long periods.
Working from a small host of research facilities beyond the sleek downtown headquarters and a lab tucked away in a suburban strip mall, Kroger’s app developers and data scientists are mining consumer information to devise the grocery store of the future. They are testing apps for shoppers’ mobile devices that will highlight sales based on whether the customer eats meat or needs help finding recipes for chicken, for example. Want to make fish tacos tonight? Another app will populate a user’s digital shopping list with the necessary ingredients available at the store.