Albertsons plans digital market

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BOISE, Idaho — Albertsons Cos. is launching a new digital marketplace for food and wellness products, and the retailer is inviting suppliers of new and niche brands to be a part of it.

“At Albertsons Cos., we have always prided ourselves on our wide assortment,” said Narayan Iyengar, who joined the company last year as senior vice president of digital marketing and e-commerce. “This offering takes our assortment size to the next level by making the aisle practically infinite.”

The new marketplace, set to open to customers this summer, will offer vendors greater exposure for their products, according to the retailer, which adds that Albertsons customers will get a venue where they can find and buy hard-to-find products and discover new items and trends.

Besides giving it a selling platform that helps it compete with Amazon.com and other online retailers, the new digital marketplace will provide Albertsons with proprietary data on emerging food and wellness trends. “This is another example of the rapid strides we are making on building digital capabilities that serve our customers, and shows our determination to play a prominent role in the digital food and wellness ­ecosystem.”

Albertsons Cos. has been expanding its e-commerce capabilities in recent months. In January, for example, it launched Albertsons Performance Media, which is billed as a digital media capability that provides brands with the opportunity to use proprietary shopper data to drive sales across the retailer’s network of more than 2,300 stores in 35 states. Al-bertsons has also expanded its partnership with Instacart to allow customers to order online and have their purchases delivered to their homes.

Albertsons has also been building up its food and wellness offerings in its physical stores as well as online. Last year the company acquired the meal kit company Plated, and it now offers those products for delivery and also in its stores.

On the health and wellness front, Albertsons is expanding its footprint via the acquisition of Rite Aid, and it has been expanding its pharmacy services and adding clinics to its supermarkets as well.

Albertsons says its new digital marketplace will have a lot to offer suppliers. Besides exposure on a shopping platform with national reach, suppliers will have the potential to grow through multiple channels, including in-store, and will benefit from shared marketing and public relations opportunities with one of the country’s largest grocery chains.

The general registration opened last month for vendors who want to participate, and the retailer has invited suppliers to find out more about the program at albertsonscompanies.com/DigitalMarketplace.

To participate, suppliers need to have the capability to direct-ship their products to consumers. When a shopper buys a vendor’s product, Albertsons will process the payment, take a commission and deposit the rest into the seller’s account. The supplier will then be responsible for shipping the product.

Suppliers will also be responsible for customer service management through Albertsons’ platform, with the retailer mediating any disputes.



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