Target makes Google Home voice-ordering available nationwide
MINNEAPOLIS — Target shoppers across the United States can now place an order using just their voice.
Deepening its relationship with Google, the discounter is expanding its Google Express program nationwide. The home delivery shopping service enables customers to use their Google Assistant in their Google Express app or website, Google Home device or Android TV to conduct voice-assisted shopping from a variety of retailers — including Target. The program’s breadth will expand even further next year when Google Assistant is available on eligible Android phones and iPhones, Target said.
The program, which started as a pilot in California and New York City, is now available across the continental United States. Target shoppers who meet a $35 minimum are also eligible for free shipping. Orders are picked from Target store shelves, and arrive in two days, according to the retailer.
“In the markets where we’ve offered Google Express, guests tell us they love the ease and convenience of shopping Target through Google. So we’re excited to offer this service nationwide in time for the busy holiday season,” said Mike McNamara, Target’s chief information and digital officer.
The move comes on the heels of Walmart’s partnership with Google that makes hundreds of thousands of items available for voice shopping via Google Assistant. At the time of the deal, Walmart had the largest number of items currently offered by a retailer through the platform.
Not to be outdone, Target has even bigger plans for its collaboration with Google. “Target and Google teams are working on the next chapter, building experiences that digitally replicate the joy of shopping a Target store to discover stylish and affordable products,” McNamara said.
While details are still in the works, one experience set launch in 2018 includes using voice and other innovative solutions to strengthen the retailer’s style categories, such as home, apparel and beauty. Another service will enable Target customers to link their online accounts with Google. This will allow them to receive personalized recommendations, and quickly re-order merchandise based on past Target purchases.
Also planned for 2018 is the integration of the discounter’s REDcard credit and debit cards into the mix. This gives Google Express customers 5% off of most Target purchases, and entitles them to free shipping.
The partners are also working on a program that gives shoppers the option to pick up their orders at a Target store within two hours.
HY-Vee and Pinky Swear Foundation raise big money for pediatric cancer benefit
WEST DES MOINES, Iowa — Hy-Vee, in partnership with Pinky Swear Foundation, a national charitable organization that supports children with cancer and their families, announced this week that its summer events have raised more than $882,000 from 4,331 participants to support the organization’s critical mission.
“We are excited to share the results of the inaugural Hy-Vee Pinky Swear 5K & Fun Run fitness events, and our legacy event, the Hy-Vee Pinky Swear Kids Triathlon,” stated Erica Campbell, executive director of Pinky Swear Foundation. “We sincerely appreciate everyone in all of the communities who worked so hard to ensure the success of the six events—especially our mission partner, Hy-Vee. The money raised from registration fees, sponsorships and individual fundraisers is helping make a real impact to further our mission, which is to help kids with cancer.”
Rather than focus on competition, families of all fitness levels are encouraged to participate in the events to help raise money for kids with cancer and their families. The money raised provides assistance for basic needs and experiences that create emotional support to impacted families.
“We are proud to once again partner with Pinky Swear Foundation to reaffirm our commitment to health and wellness while helping families facing cancer deal with financial struggles,” said Darin Hirl, assistant VP sports marketing at Hy-Vee. “The fun run format increased accessibility for kids and families. We were pleased to see such a high participation rate in 2017.”
Ahold USA creates intentional digital experience across store portfolio
CARLISLE, Pa.— With the digital age bringing more opportunity for the grocery industry to connect with shoppers both in-store and online, Ahold USA and its banners Stop & Shop, Giant Food, Giant/Martin's and Peapod are rolling out innovative ways to personalize and digitize the shopping experience.
"Through the introduction of new technology, Ahold USA brands are able to offer more savings, faster shopping and a more transparent connection with their customers," stated Matt Simon, VP loyalty and digital marketing at Ahold USA. "Since the implementation of their digital growth strategies, Ahold USA brands have seen record-setting engagement, activation and redemption."
The digital growth strategies include significant investments in new digital tools including relevant digital coupons, new websites, mobile app improvements and a new recipe center. The following key milestones have been achieved across all four Ahold USA brands:
- 1 million new digital users and counting over last year;
- New "Load to Card" Digital Coupon activations up 179%;
- New, responsive brand websites, leading to 20% growth in year to date web traffic over the comparable period last year;
- 76% increase in monthly app users and tripling of mobile app downloads; and
- More than 1 million social media followers across platforms.
Eliminating paper cuts forever, Ahold USA brands have made it easier for their shoppers to find and utilize coupons to maximize savings. With the simple push of a button, the "Load to Card" programs directly load digital coupons to loyalty cards. The Load to Card program, including bonus week events, has exceeded expectations with a total of more than 174 million digital coupon activations in 2017 to date at Ahold USA brands, which is a 179% increase vs, year ago.
Exclusive digital savings are also delivered via email with a total of over 29 million personalized "Load to Card" coupons already loaded this year. In addition to the personalized offers, new digital bonus week events stack an additional $100 dollars in digital coupons to each user's account.
For those who love to browse their store circular, a new partnership with Flipp has improved the digital circular experience, letting customers quickly clip relevant items, browse bonus buys, add items to their shopping lists and even load coupons directly onto their loyalty cards.
"We have reached a tipping point where American shoppers are engaging in their pre-shop ritual digitally," said Wehuns Tan, CEO of Flipp Corporation. "Ahold USA brands are leaders in showcasing their brand stories through compelling visual merchandising with a digital-first approach. We are excited to partner with Ahold USA to support its brands in driving innovation that gives shoppers the seamless, mobile experience they expect today."
"Putting the customer first is our brands' top priority, and part of that means providing easy to use digital solutions to help her save time and money," added Simon.
More than 3,700 recipes featured in Savory Magazine, the monthly magazine published exclusively for Ahold USA brands, are now available at the click of a button with the Savory Shopping Tool. All Savory recipes displayed online on the brands' webpages include the option to transfer ingredients directly into the customer's Peapod digital shopping cart, creating a seamless path for the customers to have exactly what they need delivered directly to their door.
"Today, the consumer does not just shop one way. She's finding meal inspiration online and either filling her grocery cart in the store or virtually," said Carrie Bienkowski, CMO of Peapod, a brand of Ahold USA which is seeing year over year double digit growth as demand for online grocery intensifies.
"Our brands are able to meet her busy lifestyle and support any way she wants to shop by offering shoppers the option to shop in brick and mortar stores, select grocery pick up at more than 200 locations or opt for at-home delivery via Peapod," continued Simon.
Knowing that connecting digitally can create a stronger relationship with customers, this year Ahold USA Brands also launched a new YouTube video campaign, "Fresh Stories." The series, created in an effort to provide meaningful, transparent information to customers about the food they purchase, contains a library of more than 30 engaging and emotional videos about fresh product suppliers that have been viewed over 15 million times this year alone. As an example, "True North Salmon: A Partnership for Sustainable Seafood" (above) has been viewed over 200,000 times.
With a total of more than 1 million followers for AUSA brands across social media, each brand has also expanded its social media presence by recently launching on Instagram. The highly visual platform will enable Ahold USA brands to develop unique strategies to engage with consumers in fun and unique ways.