Loblaw’s turn into the aisle of Cloud: Leveraging Oracle, Stacking up Innovation and Customer Success
Every company passes through many seasons – no matter how big or old or new it is. From the spring of growth to the autumn of inertia and the winter of redundancies – a business must confront all realities. Foresighted enterprises make sure they keep shedding old leaves and adding new buds of the future. These are the ones that stay evergreen. And relevant. Like Loblaw.
Since 1990, Loblaw Companies Limited, popularly known as Loblaw, has pioneered breakthroughs in revolutionizing the grocery retail experience for many Canadians. As Canada’s leading food and pharmacy retailer, Loblaw boasts nearly 2 billion (annually) in transactions across its extensive network of nearly 2,500 stores and national e-commerce options. Loblaw states that it is committed to serving Canadians through various trusted brands and offers a diverse range of products and services spanning food, pharmacy, beauty, apparel, and financial services. At the heart of Loblaw’s customer-centric approach is its PC Optimum loyalty program, which boasts nearly 16 million active members. Incidentally, adding the ingredient of technology can deepen this stronghold on customer-centricity – enriching and accelerating CX in a new-age way. Let’s get a peek into Loblaw’s mission, its seamless transition to Oracle Cloud, and the transformative impact this had on its business.
Shop Well, Shop Easy, and Live Life—Well
Loblaw’s mission statement is centered around “helping Canadians live life well.” This mission encompasses various strategic focus areas: retail, pharmacy, financial services, and more. The core of Loblaw’s operations revolves around its retail offerings, which come in various formats, including conventional grocery stores, discount stores, superstores, apparel outlets, pharmacy services, and beauty boutiques. Loblaw’s extensive network ensures that Canadians have convenient and affordable access to the products they need. In addition to traditional retail, Loblaw’s Shoppers Drug Mart pharmacies pack many important areas like—prescription services, medical consultations, and expanded healthcare services. Through President’s Choice financial services, Loblaw also offers credit cards, savings accounts, and other financial products, enhancing the financial well-being of its customers. However, what truly sets Loblaw apart is its PC Optimum loyalty program, allowing customers to earn and redeem points across the entire network, whether through digital channels or brick-and-mortar stores. Loblaw’s maintains that its commitment to its customers goes beyond products and services; extending into environmental responsibility, with initiatives to reduce food waste, eliminate non-recyclable plastics, and achieve a net-zero carbon footprint. That’s exactly why swift and frictionless CX becomes the top-most shelf for any retailer – especially one that offers digital adjacencies and financial fluidity to its customers. And that’s precisely where Cloud jumps in.
Seamless Transition to Oracle Cloud
Speaking at Oracle Cloud World 2023, Loblaw’s Executive Vice President and Chief Technology and Analytics Officer, David Markwell, shared some precious insights into the company’s remarkable journey to the cloud. Loblaw’s decision to migrate its substantial SAP database, comprising 180 terabytes of critical data, to the Oracle Cloud was not a small task. However, the move was driven by Loblaw’s commitment to becoming a more customer-focused and agile business than ever. The decision was taken, and the wheels started moving.
But the transition was not without risks. And Loblaw took every measure to toss out those risks from this cart, loading it with as many impact areas as possible. To start with, it conducted a rigorous selection process to find the ideal cloud partner. Key criteria included finding a cost-effective, high-performance cloud platform, mitigating operational and migration risks, and establishing a solid partnership. Oracle Cloud emerged as the top choice, ticking all the boxes on various technical and partnership requirements.
The migration, which took only six hours of actual downtime, significantly improved performance, and shrunk transaction processing speed in a staggering way. Loblaw also used the opportunity to enhance its security posture, automate maintenance routines, and bolster the platform’s resiliency. The partnership with Oracle Cloud ensured that Loblaw had a supportive ally throughout the migration process.
Loblaw’s commitment to innovation extends into the healthcare sector. With a vision to make healthcare information more accessible and secure for Canadians, Loblaw leverages its vast network to deliver healthcare services. This includes initiatives such as medical adherence programs, personalized messaging for chronic patients, and the PC Health app, which aggregates biometric data, prescriptions, and wellness programs. This strategic imperative aligns with Loblaw’s 30,000-foot goal of transforming the healthcare ecosystem in Canada, demonstrating the company’s dedication to its mission of helping Canadians live life well.
Loblaw’s journey to excellence reflects its unwavering commitment to customer success and innovation. By transitioning to Oracle Cloud, Loblaw has improved its performance and security and expanded into critical sectors like healthcare. Loblaw’s mission to help Canadians live life well is at the core of its operations, and its partnership with Oracle Cloud was a key enabler in achieving this mission. As Loblaw continues to evolve and adapt to changing customer needs, its future looks promising, driven by a foundation of technological excellence and a customer-centric approach.
Now that its customers experience new delights of speed, seamlessness, and precision – the enterprise is blossoming well to new heights of customer-centricity and intimacy- just like a happy maple tree.
(The author was hosted by Oracle at Las Vegas, for Oracle Cloud World (OCW) 2023.)