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Albertsons hires Disney exec

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BOISE, Idaho — Albertsons Cos. has appointed Narayan Iyengar as senior vice president of digital marketing and e-commerce. In this role, he will be responsible for leading all aspects of digital marketing, including loyalty programs, shopper marketing and the overall digital presence, as well as the e-commerce business, which includes home delivery.

“As a company, we’ve made significant investments in the customer experience over the last two years, from new technology that originated in our culinary kitchens and technical center to our comprehensive data and analytics platforms,” said Shane Sampson, chief marketing and merchandising officer. “E-commerce, digital and social media channels hold unlimited potential for delivering the kind of personalized service our customers want. Narayan’s expertise will enable us to deploy new service and marketing models to attract more shoppers and grow our business both in stores and online.”

Iyengar’s career spans nearly 20 years in e-commerce, digital and business transformation. He joined Albertsons from Walt Disney Co., where, as the vice president of e-commerce and digital travel trade, he built, enhanced and optimized e-commerce capabilities across an ecosystem spanning 20 websites and apps.

Before that, Iyengar was a leader in McKinsey’s Digital and Business Technology group, where he focused on helping global firms drive business value using technology. He started his career as a software engineer with IBM Global Services in 1996, as a part of that company’s e-commerce team, and he subsequently held a number of technology delivery and leadership roles at different firms.

“I am thrilled to be joining this great company at such a crucial time of digital-led change in the grocery industry,” Iyengar said. “I was drawn to Albertsons Cos. for its core values, culture and the people, and I look forward to working with Shane and the Albertsons Cos. leadership team across all 14 divisions to enable and enhance their core business by using digital tools across more product lines to personalize the shopping experience for customers.”

Iyengar notes that he’s had a unique opportunity to look at the e-commerce business from a variety of perspectives — first building e-commerce sites as a software engineer, then focusing on strategy at McKinsey, and then serving as an e-commerce operator for Disney’s amusement parks.

One focus for Iyengar and his team at Disney was to find ways to create a more robust omnichannel experience for the company’s customers, or guests. And that is increasingly recognized as something that retailers of all stripes need to do well.

“I’m a firm believer that customers are customers of the company, and not of the channel,” Iyengar says. “They expect to be able to move seamlessly across channels, and we need to support them as they do so.”

That ability to delivery a seamless omnichannel experience is becoming increasingly important in the grocery industry as well, Iyerson says.

“I believe we are at an inflection point where we will start to see more and more customers who are engaging digitally across all phases of the grocery purchase process, from learning about products, comparison shopping, and finding coupons and discounts through to the transaction itself and to delivery,” he says. “And it’s exciting to be part of something that is starting to take off in a big way.”


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