Albert Heijn is the number 1 food retailer in the Netherlands. Albert Heijn has been the trusted and inspiring partner for millions of customers for more than 130 years with more than 1,000 stores in the Netherlands and Belgium, and 24/7 on ah.nl. The Strategy & Analytics department works on improving business processes, new technologies, and digital solutions, all based on data.
The department consists of more than 60 employees and is divided into different analytics teams that work together. The Digital Analytics team, which includes the collaboration with Vantage AI, focuses on insight into all digital resources, such as ah.nl, Albert Heijn Apps, but also screens and hand scanners in the store. In addition, the team supports other departments in providing insights into customer preferences and behavior. In order to learn more quickly which adjustments are valuable for our customers, experiments are carried out to make decisions. Roel Willems has been employed by Albert Heijn for 5.5 years. In his current position, Roel is responsible for Data Privacy and Experimentation and leads a team of analysts within Albert Heijn. In April 2019, the collaboration with Vantage AI started, with Bart van Aalst (data scientist) working as an interim within the existing digital analytics team.
One of the goals of the team was to further develop the approach, processes and tools to enable experiment-driven work within Albert Heijn. The collaboration with Vantage AI ensured that the desired expertise was available at short notice, such that the development process around experimentation did not come to a standstill. Thanks to the collaboration, it was possible to take the necessary steps in this regard.
The end products and services that enable experiment-driven work are used by various internal teams in the organization. In addition, the team provides necessary advice and guidance in this process. Roel Willems: “The activities ensure that we can make good decisions based on controlled experiments. With this approach we help Albert Heijn make fact-based decisions.” Bart also develops models that run on the website. An example of this is a model to recommend alternative products when certain products are not available. We help the customer with these kinds of projects with digital innovations to make shopping at Albert Heijn even more pleasant. Both projects are being developed further, with experimentation being scaled up to other departments within the organization.
About the collaboration with Vantage AI, Roel indicates that expectations have certainly been exceeded, especially because a person with 4/5 years of experience was wanted for the contract that was out. “Bart's independent and solution-oriented approach ensured a successful collaboration. An added value is the contact with colleagues from Vantage AI to consult and spar about substantive issues. In addition, Vantage AI has made a very good match between what Albert Heijn was looking for and Vantage AI could offer.”