Albert Heijn: making customers ‘Appie’
How the Dutch supermarket chain drives omnichannel sales
Albert Heijn is Holland’s largest supermarket chain. Founded in 1887 by, you guessed it, Albert Heijn in Oostzaan in the Netherlands, and it became one of the first ‘supermarkets’ in Europe in 1952, switching from one-by-one service to the self-service model we know and love today. And innovation continues apace for the retailer, as it takes in mobile as part of a customer-service led omnichannel approach.
In collaboration with Albert Heijn’s internal innovation team and mobile application development partner IceMobile, tech company Frog worked for two years to conceive, design and launch the ‘Appie’ shopping service for mobile devices and the web.
Appie supports a variety of shopping behaviours, from building shopping lists to checking to see if a recipe's ingredients are in stock. Once a customer is inside an Albert Heijn store, the digital shopping list reorders based on the layout of products to make grocery selection even easier.
By connecting to Albert Heijn's loyalty system, Appie captures user preferences and behaviours to build lists automatically, and to showcase relevant promotions and discounts. The initial release garnered more than 200,000 downloads in the first three months.
Based on frequent rounds of research to solicit customer feedback, Appie has grown over time to accommodate new platforms and shopping behaviours. Barcode scanning and voice input functionality make it even easier to quickly construct lists. Additional web, tablet and Android applications have expanded Appie's base to more than 2m downloads and more than 300,000 daily users.
Frog also worked with Albert Heijn to introduce in-store pickups and at-home deliveries built on the Appie platform. Customers create a shopping list using Appie, and then schedule a pick-up at a time and location that is convenient to them. By using big data analytics to create personal recommendations that are delivered to customers through a useful app, Albert Heijn was able to drive sales both online and in-store.