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Ahold Delhaize
and Albert

 

Designing and Implementing
an Omnichannel Strategy to Become
the ‘Best Store in Town’

 

Across retail, consumers are becoming more demanding and discerning and simultaneously more technologically adept.

Albert is one of the largest retail brands in the Czech Republic, with more than 330 grocery, convenience and general merchandise (hypermarket) stores across the country. Parent company Ahold Delhaize serves more than 54 million shoppers weekly across Europe, the United States and Indonesia with big-name brands that include US-based Stop & Shop and Food Lion, Serbia’s Maxi and the Dutch grocer Albert Heijn (a distinct brand from the Czech Albert).

7,452  stores worldwide

Meeting the Moment

To meet ever-changing demands, Ahold Delhaize understands it must move quickly in offering digital services using an omnichannel approach and then remain flexible as demands continue to change.


Albert engaged EPAM Continuum for its integrated consulting capabilities to help turn the omnichannel plans into reality. Building on EPAM Continuum’s consulting work with other Ahold Delhaize brands across Europe, Albert’s transformation helps establish a blueprint, a modern model, for other Ahold Delhaize brands to follow in delivering omnichannel and driving value for customers.

Meeting the Moment

To meet ever-changing demands, Ahold Delhaize understands it must move quickly in offering digital services using an omnichannel approach and then remain flexible as demands continue to change.


Albert engaged EPAM Continuum for its integrated consulting capabilities to help turn the omnichannel plans into reality. Building on EPAM Continuum’s consulting work with other Ahold Delhaize brands across Europe, Albert’s transformation helps establish a blueprint, a modern model, for other Ahold Delhaize brands to follow in delivering omnichannel and driving value for customers.

Turning Challenges into Opportunities

Albert is continuously working to make the customer experience better, so it is focused on the shopper’s journey, with the goal of being “the best store in town.” 

The biggest challenge to achieving a seamless experience was executing on cross-departmental initiatives that touch multiple channels. This requires systems thinking, which focuses on the interaction between components of a system —in this case, a grocery retail brand— to solve complex problems.

By breaking down the walls between system components, Albert established a true 360-view of the customer. As new digital capabilities were coming onboard, Albert upended the existing way of working and implemented a new operating model and roles.


customer
High Customer Expectations


business
Nimble Competitors


technology
Disconnected Stores

Enabling Omnichannel as a Business Strategy

To deliver a vision on the ideal omnichannel experience as well as the organization, operating model and technology needed to support it, EPAM Continuum partnered with Albert’s digital, data and technology leadership to align the business ambition:

Our transformational work included:  


Mapping out exactly what a seamless omnichannel experience would look like from the shopper’s perspective.


Aligning the business ambition to portfolios of customer value within an omnichannel customer value stream.


Identifying capabilities (people, processes, tools) needed to fulfill the strategy.


Mapping the end-to-end value stream.

Out of this process, we delivered an integrated roadmap (business, experience and technology) designed to evolve continuously. We worked together to prioritize steps into short, medium and long-term horizons by evaluating effort versus impact.

HEAR FROM ALBERT & AHOLD DELHAIZE

Jesper
Lauridsen

CEO, Albert
COO, Central and Southeastern Europe, Ahold Delhaize

 

"You guys are passionate, clearly understand your space, have a lot of retail experience and haven’t given us generic solutions, but have applied it to our context, which makes the work extremely valuable for us.

I haven't seen you jumping over any low fences, you have really dug in with our teams in some difficult areas.

As a result, EPAM Continuum helped us sharpen our strategy to meet the needs of a fast-changing industry.”

By mapping the aspirational customer experience to the corporate strategy, EPAM Continuum helped Albert bring their vision to life.

Together, we took a shopper-centric approach, breaking everything down and reorganizing it around customer value objectives that delivered on an omnichannel strategy — a challenge most retailers haven’t yet overcome.

To achieve omnichannel as quickly as possible, EPAM Continuum recommended establishing a new vice president of digital and technology, a board position, which puts one person in charge of all customer touchpoints and associated technology.

With this move, Albert merged digital and technology teams into one (with technology and business responsibilities), bringing together everything that touches technology under one umbrella. With one person responsible for the prioritization and execution of improvements, Albert is empowered to deliver omnichannel, unlocking value for customers and the brand.

Bridging People and Technology

Stronger governance around technology development is vital because it underpins everything, whether it’s gaining customers or cutting costs. Now Albert has a governance that helps prioritize solutions and deliverables, which is a way of future-proofing the business as it grows and evolves.

Another strategic enabler was upskilling and streamlining some teams. Previously, the team that developed apps and the team that was responsible for the operation of apps were separate and distinct.

Working together, EPAM Continuum and Albert decided to reconfigure the two teams based on the app function (e.g. customer-facing), so that development and operations could work together more seamlessly. Each new team is led by a director that has end-to-end responsibility for their value stream.

Bridging People and Technology

Stronger governance around technology development is vital because it underpins everything, whether it’s gaining customers or cutting costs. Now Albert has a governance that helps prioritize solutions and deliverables, which is a way of future-proofing the business as it grows and evolves.

Another strategic enabler was upskilling and streamlining some teams. Previously, the team that developed apps and the team that was responsible for the operation of apps were separate and distinct.

Working together, EPAM Continuum and Albert decided to reconfigure the two teams based on the app function (e.g. customer-facing), so that development and operations could work together more seamlessly. Each new team is led by a director that has end-to-end responsibility for their value stream. 

Designing the Future of Omnichannel & Beyond

A core tenet of digital transformation holds that technology is a growth driver, a necessary investment. 

To that end, EPAM Continuum supported Albert in identifying milestones to guide the future. And our cooperation is ongoing: local Agile coaches from EPAM Continuum are helping to train existing technology teams, supporting the work needed for technology and business to engage in a new, integrated way.

Although the scope of engagement was specific to the customer-facing side of the business, Albert is now applying similar improvements across the organization, including within the supply chain, security and network infrastructure. 

Ahold Delhaize is also in the midst of forming a European technology organization, which will be informed by the work EPAM Continuum has supported with Albert and other European grocery brands. Albert’s success offers an example to other brands, empowering them to drive change.

Learn more about EPAM’s experience in the retail and consumer industry here.