Executive Briefings

Ahold CEO Discusses Where the Internet Is Taking Retail and the Grocery Business

Dick Boer, the chief executive officer of Ahold, which has 3,000 stores, mostly supermarkets, across Europe and the United States, says the internet has vastly changed retail and the grocery business.

Ahold CEO Discusses Where the Internet Is Taking Retail and the Grocery Business

"To understand global trends in retail, you have to look at things from the perspective of a customer who can get everything via the internet," Boer says. "Ten or twenty years ago, you had to go to a hypermarket. I opened my first hypermarket in the Czech Republic in 1998, and it was a big event. We had traffic jams outside the store. We had 50,000 to 60,000 SKUs in one store, from electronics to food. Today, you can get many of these things online, so you don't need to go to the store.

"What we've learned over the past ten years is that supermarkets ought to focus on the experience of fresh foods. That's the name of the game for supermarkets because it gives the customer a reason to go to the store. I also think convenience"”having your goods readily available and near the customer"”is important. Supermarkets are convenient for weekly shopping trips, but smaller stores are a great opportunity to get closer to the customer. On top of that, you have to have an online offering as an extension of the store. Customers want to be surprised at what they can find online"”maybe the authentic Tuscan olive oil isn't on the store shelf, but you can find it online. So that's my view on food retailing today: freshness, convenience, and a large online offering are key."

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Keywords: retail supply chain, supply chain management, online retailing, e-tailing, online grocery shopping, logistics & supply chain

"To understand global trends in retail, you have to look at things from the perspective of a customer who can get everything via the internet," Boer says. "Ten or twenty years ago, you had to go to a hypermarket. I opened my first hypermarket in the Czech Republic in 1998, and it was a big event. We had traffic jams outside the store. We had 50,000 to 60,000 SKUs in one store, from electronics to food. Today, you can get many of these things online, so you don't need to go to the store.

"What we've learned over the past ten years is that supermarkets ought to focus on the experience of fresh foods. That's the name of the game for supermarkets because it gives the customer a reason to go to the store. I also think convenience"”having your goods readily available and near the customer"”is important. Supermarkets are convenient for weekly shopping trips, but smaller stores are a great opportunity to get closer to the customer. On top of that, you have to have an online offering as an extension of the store. Customers want to be surprised at what they can find online"”maybe the authentic Tuscan olive oil isn't on the store shelf, but you can find it online. So that's my view on food retailing today: freshness, convenience, and a large online offering are key."

Read Full Article


Keywords: retail supply chain, supply chain management, online retailing, e-tailing, online grocery shopping, logistics & supply chain

Ahold CEO Discusses Where the Internet Is Taking Retail and the Grocery Business