Kesko: Today’s customers need both online and brick-and-mortar stores to do their shopping

Written by: Anni Ronkainen
Chief Digital Office, EVP

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Even though various digital solutions have been part of our everyday life for decades now, it often feels that we’re still expecting miracles when it comes to digitalisation. In reality, digitalisation is an ongoing effort that is being built piece-by-piece, day-by-day. For example, taking care of your grocery shopping already involves digital elements, whether you buy online or at the local supermarket.

Online grocery shopping is about making your daily life easier

Online grocery shopping has grown slowly but surely in Finland. The experience of buying your groceries on the internet has improved to such a level that more and more people are taking care of their weekly shop with the click of a mouse. We here at K-Group predict that food sales through our online store will grow by almost 100% this year. Already, 140 of our stores offer the majority of their products to customers regardless of whether they shop online or walk into a store. Day-to-day shopping becomes much easier when items regularly appearing on your shopping list appear on the front page of your local K-supermarket online shop, picked out by someone who knows the shop’s products thoroughly and the purchases are even brought home properly packed.

Digital assistant helps make focused purchases and saves you money

More and more of our customers are shopping with a digital helper: the K-Group digital shopping assistant. The K-food app can be used to store an exact product level shopping list and hosts a vast selection of recipes that can be used to build a menu for the whole week. In just a couple of clicks all the ingredients you need are added straight to your list which you can then share with your other half immediately – they update in real time. In addition, the digital assistant gives our Plussa customers personalised offers based on their past shopping history while at the same time ensuring you don’t miss any of our other existing specials or discounts. We believe that in this way we’re able to offer our customers better and more personalised service.

With the help of digital solutions our customers’ voices help decide everything we do

Every year we receive 1.2 million pieces of feedback from our customers and each and every comment is received with immense gratitude! Feedback covers everything from compliments to complaints, ideas on how to improve our product range and suggestions on making our service even better. We go through all of our customers’ ideas and send them through to where they can make a difference. Product requests will often end up with a new or better item showing up on store shelves. Meanwhile, 3.6 million Finns have a Plussa-card and by analysing shopping data they provide, we can ensure that our stores are stocking the products that our customers really want. When data and digitalisation is really working we’re noticing what our customers want before they even put their thoughts into words.

Images by Sami Kallinen, 8-bit Sheep

Images by Sami Kallinen, 8-bit Sheep

This week we have some special guests here at K-group – as we improve our customer experience and loyalty program we’ve brought nine startups on board to help out. We want to provide services that truly make our customers’ daily lives easier. It’s clear that there will be a lot of digital work going on during development, but right alongside is our customers’ day-to-day which is being lived out both physically and digitally every day. If you’re interested in what we’re doing with startups, follow the hashtag #KLoyalty on Twitter.

Avanto organised an Innovation Challenge with Kesko in September 2018 to find new winning concepts for customer experience and loyalty. Nine growth companies were chosen to take part in the week: ResQ, Miils, 8-bit-sheep, Meallogger, SmartSpotter, Fjuul, Zippie, Touché and Mishipay. Throughout the week the teams worked intensively with various Kesko experts and tasks. The winner of the challenge was 8-bit-sheep with a concept on data as a service. We are excited to take this concept forward to an actual pilot between Kesko and the startup and to see how the negotiations continue with the rest of the growth companies!

This blog by Anni Ronkainen was first published in (in Finnish), accessible here.