- Albertsons has teamed up with Google to offer a suite of digital enhancements through the technology company, including online ordering tools through Google Search and Google Maps, predictive list-building, chatbots and integration of Google Pay.
- Beginning today, shoppers can access information about online ordering from Albertsons stores through Google Search, including order minimums, service providers and pickup and delivery windows, according to a news release.
- Albertsons continues to embrace tech innovations to improve its operations, while Google is also integrating its signature tools with other grocery companies, including Instacart and Kroger.
Over the past year, Albertsons has focused on scaling its e-commerce services and streamlining fulfillment. With this latest integration with Google, it’s focusing on making shopping more efficient, too.
The two companies began working together last spring with a virtual “innovation day.” That exercise produced numerous ideas that went into development and resulted in a multi-year partnership that will include a host of artificial intelligence- and cloud-enabled updates.
“For example, AI-powered hyperlocal information and features will make it easier to get your grocery shopping done — enabling things like personalized service, easier ordering, pickup and delivery, predictive shopping carts, and more,” wrote Carrie Tharp, vice president of retail and consumer solutions for Google's cloud division, in a blog post.
The rollout began earlier this month with a tool that allows consumers to message Albertsons pharmacies about COVID-19 vaccinations through the Google Search and Maps tools. Users can receive the latest information about vaccine eligibility, availability and appointment booking.
Beginning Tuesday, shoppers can also get information about Albertsons delivery and pickup services through the search tool. A search for “grocery delivery” or an Albertsons location can bring up a local store’s profile, with information on service windows, order minimums and other details listed. Users can then click into online ordering, offering a direct route from inquiry to shopping services. Google said it will soon offer the same functionalities for Albertsons stores through its Maps tool.
Albertsons and Google did not outline in detail the tools they plan to introduce in the months and years ahead, noting only that they plan to roll out conversational commerce, predictive list-building and features that will help shoppers more easily use Google Pay.
Google has rolled out some of these tools with other retailers. Walmart also uses Google’s Business Messages feature to allow shoppers to communicate with its pharmacies about COVID-19 vaccinations and since early 2020, has let shoppers use the tool to determine store hours along with pickup and delivery options. Since 2019, Australian retailer Woolworths has used a Google-enabled chatbot called “Olive” for its online shopping platform.
Google is making various enhancements to its search and mapping technology and is integrating new shopping features with other companies. Instacart joins Albertsons in having service information available through Google Search and, eventually, through Google Maps.
This summer, Google will launch a pilot in Portland, Oregon, with Kroger-owned Fred Meyer that uses Google Maps to track and update shoppers that have placed a pickup order. After adding a completed order to the Maps tool, shoppers get an alert when it’s time to leave and the system tracks their journey to the store, providing real-time updates that help stores prioritize order flow. When customers arrive, they can check in through Maps and have their order brought to their car.
Albertsons' CEO Vivek Sankaran has frequently noted the company's embrace of new technology to improve business. The retailer was an early mover in integrating geolocation technology for pickup orders and has embraced automated micro-fulfillment. It has also recruited executive talent from top technology companies like Amazon and Microsoft.