PITTSBURGH—In 2020, Giant Eagle, which operates 400-plus supermarket and convenience stores, plans to open a tech hub in Lawrenceville, a suburb near the company’s Pittsburgh headquarters, according to Grocerydive.com.
The 23,000-square-foot building will be staffed by about 150 employees and support Giant Eagle’s digital capabilities. The company also has a satellite tech hub in San Francisco that opened last year.
Currently, Giant Eagle’s tech force is split between its Pittsburgh headquarters and San Francisco operations. The choice of Lawrenceville for the new tech hub is a strategic decision to help the chain attract top talent and identify retail technologies. Once the steel capital of the world, Pittsburgh is morphing into a center for technology, innovation and entrepreneurship.
Founded in 1931, Giant Eagle has been offering new customer service experiences, including curbside express pickup and beer deliveries in two hours or less. The chain also is testing shelf-scanning robots in three markets. Giant Eagle boasts a 32% share of the Pittsburgh grocery market but faces tough local competition from Walmart. The company hopes to expand its dominance through stronger e-commerce and in-store technology.
Giant Eagle isn’t the only big chain focused on technology. In June, Ahold Delhaize’s Retail Business Services opened a 30,000-square-foot facility in Quincy, Massachusetts, that houses 200 IT employees and an innovation lab. Additionally, both Walmart and H-E-B maintain tech centers in Austin, Texas, and Kroger has an innovation lab at the University of Cincinnati.