Heritage Grocers adopts AI-powered Autopilot tech – Supermarket News

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Heritage Grocers Group, a group of Hispanic-focused grocery chains, has added a new tool to its tech arsenal with the adoption of RSA America’s AI-powered Autopilot technology. 

The Autopilot technology, launched in March at the National Grocers Association show in Las Vegas, provides actionable insights into shopper behavior and offers grocers recommendations on their data assets.

“Its functionality enables the execution of tailored, automated campaigns based on individual customer preferences and purchase histories, thus streamlining marketing efforts and enhancing timely customer engagement,” the company said in a press release. 

For example, if a certain brand of cereal is growing in popularity at the store, the Autopilot technology will alert the grocer and recommend promoting the product. Autopilot might also make supply-chain suggestions to the retailer, such as suggesting they purchase more of the popular cereal. It could even suggest that the grocer purchase a similar cereal that it doesn’t currently carry but is also popular. 

RSA America CEO Ravi Achanta said in an interview with Supermarket News that the technology can also empower its users to negotiate more efficiently with CPG companies. 

The buyer can educate the CPG company and angle for deals on certain products that are selling well. 

“That’s what the Kroger team does, and that’s what the Walmart team does,” Achanta said. “That’s what everybody does, because they have a team of people to do just that. But our retailers don’t have that team of people, so that’s why we brought the system.”

The system uses machine learning to identify individual consumer behaviors as well. For example, it might notice that a customer has switched from regular to non-dairy milk, according to Achata.

“Consumers are getting frustrated, too bombarded with a lot of offers,” he added, noting that consumers who receive ads based on their own shopping behavior are more likely to pay attention.

Prabash Coswatte, COO of Heritage Grocers Group, oversees 114 stores in six states — California, Texas, Nevada, Arizona, Kansas, and Illinois — with 57 supermarkets under the Cardenas Markets banner, 29 under the El Rancho Supermercado banner, 21 under the Tony’s Fresh Market banner, and seven stores under the Los Altos Ranch Market banner.

Heritage’s partnership with RSA is just part of the equation as it concerns the company’s tech stack, which has been growing rapidly as the grocery group updates its existing locations and opens new ones. 

“We’re probably one of the larger customers that RSA has, and we’re growing,” he said. “Even for a category manager, data is great, but I want to make it even faster. Let’s make it a dashboard that you can get those insights into and [says] … here’s five promotions that I recommend this week.”

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