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Albertsons, startup Glympse partner on real-time grocery order updates

Albertsons Cos. Inc. is working with a startup to provide real-time updates for online grocery orders.

Seattle-based Glympse is providing the technology, which Albertsons will use for both deliveries to customers homes as well as orders that customers pick up in store, Cami Zimmer, Glympse's executive vice president of business development and marketing, told S&P Global Market Intelligence March 3 at retail conference Shoptalk 2019 in Las Vegas.

Glympse and Albertsons are betting that the technology will reduce customer wait times as well as increase order packing efficiency, Zimmer said. At Albertsons, the first supermarket chain with which Glympse has worked, customers will be able to track their grocery orders in using a map updated in real-time, and the grocer will be able to see how close a customer is to a store as they approach a supermarket to pick up a purchase, Zimmer said.

Shoppers will be able to receive updates on their orders via email and text message, though Glympse will not share consumer data with Albertsons beyond what's needed to fill an order, Zimmer said.

Glympse already works with companies in a variety of industries, including cooking supply retailer Williams-Sonoma Inc. and German carmaker Bayerische Motoren Werke AG.

"They know grocery, but they don't know technology," Zimmer said of U.S. grocers in an interview. Glympse's technology, in part, helps Albertsons "mimic the Amazons" of the world without the privately held grocer having to develop the technology on its own.

Albertsons is already using Glympse's approach for delivery orders at seven of the grocer's banners, including Safeway and Jewel-Osco, the grocer said in a statement. Orders placed at an Albertsons-owned store through delivery startup Instacart will not use Glympse's technology, Albertsons said.

The Boise, Idaho-based company will add that a pilot for orders that customers can pick up at stores will follow in the coming months.

"Our partnership with Glympse makes it even easier for customers to get their groceries however and whenever they want," Albertsons Senior Vice President of Digital and eCommerce Narayan Iyengar said in the company's statement.

The move is the latest e-commerce expansion for Albertsons. In March 2018, Albertsons debuted a wider selection of food items online that customers cannot find in their physical stores.