retail news in context, analysis with attitude

The Wall Street Journal has a story about how Ahold-owned Peapod "is working to shore up customer loyalty and improve fulfillment and operations with technology. That includes what is for Peapod an untried combination of warehouse management software, scanners, robotics and seven miles of conveyor belts ... Peapod has built a 400,000 sq. ft. fulfillment center that runs software from specialty vendors Manhattan Associates Inc. and Dematic Group – a departure for a company that has built much of its own software since its founding in 1989 in Chicago."

Essentially, the story argues, Peapod is having to raise its game in order to compete with Amazon, FreshDirect and other existing and future e-grocery competitors in the New York marketplace, with the likely expectation that whatever it learns there can be applied to other markets where it operates ... especially once Ahold's acquisition of Delhaize is completed, which will put the company in new markets with new competitive pressures.
KC's View:
The story also makes the point that one of Peapod's competitive concerns is Walmart, which is looking to expand its online grocery business. This is something that every retailer needs to be thinking about ... how to create connections, both online and instore, that will be hard for Walmart to disrupt when it starts throwing money and other resources at them.