Ahold Delhaize CEO Says Retailer ‘Ready’ For Amazon/Whole Foods Challenge

By Steve Wynne-Jones
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Ahold Delhaize CEO Says Retailer ‘Ready’ For Amazon/Whole Foods Challenge

Ahold Delhaize chief executive Dick Boer has said that the retailer is up for the challenge, following Amazon’s takeover of Whole Foods in the US, suggesting that there are some aspects of Ahold Delhaize’s business of which the online giant may be jealous.

In an interview with NRC Handelsblad, Boer described Amazon’s Whole Foods takeover as a “logical step”, adding that while there are “many things [Amazon] has no problem with, home delivery with fresh products obviously costs them more effort, and is also more difficult”.

He further suggested, “Those strawberries that you get delivered to your home should still be good for a week.”

At the same time, Boer admitted that there are some aspects of the Amazon service of which he is envious, saying, “We put offers in the store, where you walk past and think, ‘Well, that's for me.’ Amazon do that smartly on the web, using algorithms and artificial intelligence. They present things that make you think, ‘Holy s**t! I never thought I needed that.’”

Changing Landscape

As to whether Ahold Delhaize has been somewhat ‘awakened’ by Amazon’s growing presence in the marketplace, Boer said, “I think that all changes in the retail landscape keep us constantly awake. Many of our supermarkets now have pickup points, where customers can pick up groceries […] and while we found it perfectly normal ten years ago to order online at least a day in advance, some customers now think, ‘I want it tonight.’ We are now testing that in Rotterdam and in Washington, DC.”


On the introduction of more technology into its stores, Boer said that the data will become increasingly important in the coming years, to create an added-value experience for customers. “For example, we can help with allergies,” he said. “When you scan an article with your iPhone, for example, you would notice, ‘Hey! I should not have this product.’”

Lidl’s Arrival

In terms of the entry of Lidl into the US, Boer suggested that Ahold Delhaize has already done its homework on the retailer in Europe – knowledge that it plans to apply to the States.

Asked whether the arrival of Lidl in the US is of concern to Ahold Delhaize, Boer said, “Walmart is the largest discounter in the world, and when they open a new store, nobody writes about it. We already have knowledge about Lidl, which is an advantage of being European-American.

“We have shared with our American colleagues what they have to pay attention to, and what we did wrong in the past.”


The original article in NRC Handelsblad can be found here.

© 2017 European Supermarket Magazine – your source for the latest retail news. Article by Stephen Wynne-Jones. Click subscribe to sign up to ESM: The European Supermarket Magazine.

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