Technology

Kroger is Making Its Mark on Grocery Tech

Retailer recognized as one of the top places to work in IT by Computerworld as it moves toward 'seamless digital experience'
Photo courtesy of Kroger

Kroger's attempts to create a "seamless digital experience" and walk among the high-tech companies of this day and age is gaining recognition, as evidenced by its place on Computerworld's Top 100 Best Places to Work in IT list. 

This is Kroger's second year making the list; it was ranked No. 58 among the large companies category. It was the only retailer to make the list, on which tech powerhouses Amazon and Google did not appear. 

The honor goes to companies that demonstrate excellence in company culture factors such as employee benefits, career development, training and diversity, and was based on nominations and a 52-question company survey asking about "average salary and bonus increases, percentage of IT staffers promoted, IT staff turnover rates, training and development, and the percentage of women and minorities in IT staff and management positions" completed by a key contact at each company. 

Kroger Technology is "transforming the industry," company officials said in a news release, with built-in-house solutions such as its EDGE digital signage shelf display, which received the Silver Apex Award at the Digital Signage Expo.

Chris Hjelm, Kroger's EVP and chief information officer who was named one of Computerworld's Premier 100 Technology Leaders for 2016, said the company is "programming" its future through the Restock Kroger initiative, with technology and digital ventures "at the core of the journey." 

"Kroger Technology associates are driving innovation and solutions to seamlessly blend online and offline shopping to redefine the grocery customer experience," he said. "It's an exciting time for us." 

In an annual letter to shareholders published as part of the retailer’s proxy statement in May, President and CEO Rodney McMullen urged that the company is making "strategic investments to create the future of retail." Among these investments, he listed a seamless digital experience; customer-centric technology solutions; an enhanced associate experience; space-optimized stores; and smart-priced products.

These projects have been slowly showing their faces. For example, Kroger quietly released its OptUp healthy shopping app in early May, which features a "gamified" dashboard and food scoring system to help shoppers make healthier choices.  

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