How Walmart Data Ventures and dunnhumby are Accelerating the Next Evolution Of Customer Centric Decisions

Produced by


Erich Kahner

Director of Customer Strategy & Insights

Linda Lomelino

Senior Director, Product Management Walmart Data Ventures, Walmart

In the evolving landscape of retail, where customer needs and market dynamics shift with increasing velocity, two figures have recently emerged at the forefront of pioneering customer-centric decisions: Erich Kahner, Director of Customer Strategy & Insights at dunnhumby, and Linda Lomelino, Senior Director, Product Management at Walmart Data Ventures, Walmart. Their insights and collaborative efforts were spotlighted in a compelling discussion on accelerating commerce analytics to enhance customer journeys from source to shelf and back, offering a glimpse into the future of retail in 2024.

As the retail sector braces for another challenging year, with dunnhumby projecting a modest 1% growth in food and consumables sales in the U.S., surpassing such modest expectations demands a deep alignment with customer needs. Erich Kahner emphasized the significance of this alignment, noting, "retailers in the first quartile of our ranking have sales growth that's over two times stronger than retailers in the bottom half. This translates to about $2 billion more in sales over a five-year period for a typical regional supermarket chain."

Walmart's strategy of saving customers money while enhancing their digital shopping experience has placed its banners—Walmart Supercenter, Neighborhood Market, and Sam's Club—among the top quartile in dunnhumby's retailer preference index study. Linda Lomelino provided an in-depth look at how Walmart leverages its proprietary suite of insights, Walmart Luminate, to empower suppliers like Mondelez to make data-driven decisions that fuel category growth even in a fiercely competitive environment. "Walmart has a very distinct advantage when it comes to understanding not only the Walmart shopper but the U.S. customer and the retail landscape," Linda explained, highlighting the significance of real-time data in navigating the crowded and constantly evolving market.

One notable success story shared by Linda involved Mondelez leveraging Walmart Luminate to delve deeper into the preferences of Walmart shoppers. This collaboration enabled Mondelez to optimize its strategy for the crackers category, particularly for its Ritz brand, uncovering that "50.6% of their shoppers buy 'carrier' crackers such as Ritz, which complements other snacks within the box," thereby driving growth across multiple subcategories. This data-driven approach not only solidified Ritz's position as a category leader but also allowed Mondelez to refine its long-term strategy with Walmart, ensuring the brand remains top of mind for shoppers.

The conversation underscored the importance of leveraging data and insights to understand and respond to regional differences and customer segments. "It has never been at the granular level that we're providing," said Linda, regarding the depth of insights available through Walmart Luminate. This level of detail empowers suppliers to tailor their strategies more effectively, addressing specific customer needs and preferences.

The collaborative approach between Walmart and its suppliers, facilitated by shared data and insights from Walmart Luminate, streamlines execution and enhances strategy design. "What is most fantastic about the Walmart Luminate ecosystem is...we're talking now about a shared one truth," Linda remarked, highlighting the efficiency of jointly tackling market challenges with a unified data foundation.

As the retail environment continues to be shaped by economic uncertainty, intense competition, and shifting customer preferences, the insights from Erich and Linda provide a roadmap for other retailers looking to navigate these turbulent waters. Their discussion not only showcased the potential of data-driven decision-making in crafting customer-centric strategies but also served as a beacon for the retail industry, illustrating the tangible benefits of embracing innovation and collaboration in the quest for sustained growth and customer satisfaction.

APRIL 2024