Kroger’s Executive Restructuring

The recently announced executive changes at Kroger imply new priorities for its suppliers. As the retail world is constantly shifting and adapting to meet the new needs of shoppers, many retailers have made organizational changes to orient their company to meet these new priorities.

Kroger’s recent executive changes indicate an increased emphasis on digital investment and data-based decision making. These changes include:

  • Stuart Aitken – New Chief Merchant
    • Aitken is responsible for (amongst other things) sales, planning, promotion, digital, analytics, and merchandising.
  • Yael Cosset – Assumes ownership of Alternative Profit Division
    • Cosset maintains Chief Technical & Digital Officer title.
  • New Chief Analyst Inside Kroger
    • This role will be focused on increasing the effectiveness and utilization of data to drive distribution decisions and strategy.
    • This is an entirely new role within Kroger.
  • Bill Bennett – VP, Head of eCommerce
    • Bennett was previously a Vice President within eCommerce at Walmart.

Additionally, there are continued signals for disruption within the merchandising team which could impact responsibilities across many categories, as Kroger seeks to have the personnel in place to embrace dynamic thinking, analytical acumen, and retail expertise.

Strategy Signals from Executive Changes at Kroger

In addition to personnel changes, there are quite a few other changes happening within Kroger.

Kroger has increased focus on data insights, analytics, and strategic category leadership from manufacturers. For example, a $100MM commitment was made to invest in two data hubs in Cincinnati. This investment is geared towards a sub-commitment, if you will, to hiring locally, investing in data, and driving the consumer experience. Kroger has also invested in a new forecasting tool that allows manufacturers to use data to impact forecasting and supply chain analysis. While the implications of this tool are not broadly known, the hope is that it will make a positive impact as it widens the usage of data and increases interaction with buyers.

Kroger is also combining the technical digital ownership with the alternative profit stream business resulting in an increased emphasis on utilizing assets such as KPM to win in digital at Kroger. KPM is offering engaging moments to inspire a connection to your brand. Kroger’s partnership with Roku on data play for CPG advertisers emphasizes the retailer’s desire to bring shopper data from #1 grocer in the U.S to America’s #1 streaming platform. New developments from Meredith, a media and marketing services company, also increases the immediacy and relevancy of display ads running in premium placements, providing new and better opportunities to connect with buyers.

Related Reading: The Benefit Of Assembling A Seamless Team To Connect The Omni-Dots

Kroger will continue investing to enhance the digital shopping experience to compete with Walmart and Amazon. The ongoing expansion of Ocado automated warehouses signals a movement towards and even more flexible supply chain as brick and mortar stores are leveraged as inventory opportunities.

What does this mean for your brand?

For existing KPM members, we suggest that you continue to work with your KPM account manager. Get ahead of the conversation and internal planning cycles by proactively engaging our team for strategies to coordinate brand and shopper activations.

As for new KPM partners, we recommend prioritizing considerations to reengage and acquire consumers. Search and Display has a respective lead time of 48 hours and two weeks. There are fully managed search campaigns available and objective-based solutions at the ready.

Overall, these executive changes at Kroger are innovative and positive steps forward as this new environment and surrounding uncertainty is navigated. When challenges present themselves, we hope to overcome them with digital knowledge and solid data.

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