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Smart & Final Gets Back In Charge of Their Online Shopping Experience

Madelaine Jack

November 30, 2019

Just a few weeks ago, Mercatus launched a new grocery eCommerce solution for our client, Smart & Final. This launch was notable for a number of reasons. Not only was the solution highly customized to the client’s unique business model, Smart & Final also got back in charge of their business in a significant way.

Smart & Final storefront

A leading value-oriented food and everyday staples retailer, Smart & Final is headquartered in Los Angeles with more than 250 stores. What’s unique about Smart & Final is that it serves both household and business customers such as restaurants, caterers and non-profits. Stores have wider aisles and offer both regular and club-size formats of many products. In addition, the retailer has a bilingual customer base, which includes both English- and Spanish-speaking clientele.

Recognizing the flexibility of the Mercatus platform and our ability to create highly customized solutions, Smart & Final asked us to build them a proprietary online shopping solution. The company had been using a powered-by-Instacart front-end, but wanted to create an authentic online shopping experience, one which replicated the uniqueness of the in-store experience to the digital shopper — and one which the retailer would control.

Smart & Final image of desktop and mobile site

In record time, Mercatus delivered not one, but two fully customized online shopping portals — smartandfinal.com and business.smartandfinal.com — as well as mobile apps to serve the two distinct Smart & Final markets.

Smart & Final customers can now easily get the retailer’s weekly digital flyers and coupons, access shoppable recipes and meal planning, create customized shopping lists, tailor their experience based on dietary preferences and select their preferred payment and delivery options. 

In addition, customers with a business/resale card can also use a digital receipt manager, which enables them to perform tasks such as creating a printable shopping list, tracking payments, and compiling an item summary of all purchases within a specified time period. Business customers can also receive tax exemptions for online orders.

Smart & Final’s delivery services are connected through Mercatus DispatchTM, an integrated white-label, last-mile delivery solution that seamlessly connects Smart & Final digital shoppers to third-party delivery providers.

In addition to developing separate but integrated digital channels for the two market segments, the Mercatus platform also included an additional layer of complexity. We configured a bilingual digital shopping experience with bilingual customer service and support to serve Smart & Final’s English- and Spanish-speaking customer base.

Thanks to our in-depth experience and our network of carefully selected technology partners, we were able to rapidly scale the project, and roll out to all 257 locations within one week after the pilot.

Ed Wong, Executive Vice President, Chief Digital Officer at Smart & Final said, “We were fortunate to find a vendor in Mercatus that clearly understood our business needs and was able to orchestrate the right platform solution to match. Mercatus was able to complete 10 new technology integrations in just under eight months.”

By having direct online access through the retailer’s two exclusively branded websites and mobile apps, Smart & Final business and household customers can now enjoy the same low prices they get shopping in-store, as well as access to weekly promotions, personalized deals and a wide range of customizable features.

Smart & Final image of mobile app

Meanwhile, the retailer retains ownership of their customers’ online transaction data, which gives them the ability to gain insight into the identity, behavior and intent of household and business purchases. In addition to being able to deliver a more highly personalized experience to each shopper than is possible through third-party marketplaces, Smart & Final has taken charge of their digital future, working with technology partners of their choice, on their terms.

With their innovative approach to grocery eCommerce and investment in a flexible, scalable digital solution, Smart & Final now enjoys the many benefits of owning an eCommerce experience that will grow and evolve as the retailer and future technologies grow and evolve.

To learn more about how Mercatus helps get grocers back in charge of their digital future, visit mercatus.com/backincharge.

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