Looking for the perfect ally to push online channels in the Mexican market.
In 1997, HEB - the Texan giant - started operating as a self-service store in Mexico, quickly gaining market share and consumer loyalty. Today, 23 years after its arrival to the country, it operates 65 branches throughout 7 Mexican states with its two formats, HEB and Tienda del Ahorro, employing more than 13,500 workers.
Since the beginning, HEB has led innovation in the industry, focusing especially on digital transformation. In 2013 they began their journey in the e-commerce world, developing their own digital channel, www.heb.com.mx, even when the online penetration for supermarkets in the region was almost nonexistent. Over the years, they have strengthened their operation, including improved digital tools, such as a new e-commerce and their own crowdsourced network for fulfillment and dispatching. Additionally, different systems were developed internally to improve process automation and increase productivity.
After 6 years of investment in technological development, HEB was still not satisfied with the digital experience they were providing to their customers. They needed to offer direct communication channels, complete traceability and, overall, tools that would guarantee a delightful experience. Additionally, scaling the operation was becoming unmanageable without a comprehensive and robust technological solution that could synchronize all processes. If they wanted to meet their ambitious expansion and digital experience goals, they had to find the ideal partner to do so.
The fast track: obtaining 3 years worth of technological development in only weeks.
After months of evaluating different alternatives in the market, HEB found the ally that would guarantee scalability and, most importantly, the best customer experience: Instaleap. Although, working with Instaleap implied disregarding years of internal development and an investment of thousands of dollars, the decision would fast track their digital development plans by at least 3 years. The logistics platform was implemented in February 2020, just before the global pandemic boosted e-commerce penetration in Latin America by 387%. Due to this implementation, HEB was able to successfully tackle an even higher demand increase than the one they had ambitiously expected; 3x in just a few months.
"With Instaleap we fast-tracked. Developing similar technology on our own, would have taken at least 3 years of work and investment. Although partnering with Instaleap meant leaving aside previous technological investments, it was worth it. Without their platform we would not have been able to face the challenges brought on by the pandemic." - Edwin Cardenas, Omnichannel Director
Tackling 3x demand growth: the path to scalability
Instaleap provides its clients with the necessary tools to handle an ever expanding operation, through process synchronization, dynamic resource management, and centralized operational control.
We work with allotment algorithms that connect all processes, from the creation of an order to its delivery, and find the optimal resource pairings for execution. These algorithms work as decision engines based on logistical, seasonal, and operational variables that are constantly adapting and adjusting their logic through machine learning.
This is how heb.com.mx has been able to scale its operation without compromising profitability.
Our platform allows for dynamic resource management, which is adjusted to real time availability. This enables HEB to manage its own crowdsourcing network for express deliveries. In the allotment process, only available resources are considered. This network has provided response capacity during demand peaks, without the need of sustaining fixed dispatching costs that could impact the operation's profitability.
Finally, the control tower allows for centralized monitoring of all processes throughout the logistics network, supporting the operation's accelerated expansion both in order volume and in dispatch points within the logistics configuration. All of these factors play a key role in HEB's capacity to rapidly grow without sacrificing profitability nor customer’s experience, allowing automated, synchronized, and efficient processes that can be controlled in an organized way. cient processes that can be controlled in an organized way.
Exceeding end user expectations
The livecommerce experience has become essential for final users, and with Instaleap's platform, HEB has been able to exceed the highest service standards. From our live chats, customers have a direct channel to contact all the resources associated with their order: pickers, drivers and support, facilitating order alterations and giving them full traceability and control over their orders. Our solutions are focused on empowering customers, and giving them full visibility by showing up-to-the-second status updates.
It was vital for heb.com.mx to offer a superior shopping experience through their online channel for both, the delivery, and Pick & Go models. Fortunately, their need easily fitted Instaleap’s advanced offer for operational models, such as express delivery (in under an hour), scheduled delivery (based on customer preferences), and Click & Collect, which allows customers to pick up their orders in store.
Through Instaleap's proprietary algorithms for capacity control, HEB can guarantee that the delivery schedule shown is completely aligned with actual resource capacity, assuring compliance of the delivery promise, favorably influencing customers’ perception of the brand. All of these functionalities have strengthened HEB’s value proposition, while radically improving the customer experience. With Instaleap, HEB ensures a delightful, 100% live experience that fits the specific needs of each customer.
More than a vendor, an extension of the team
Instaleap is much more than a vendor. Technology development in our team is based on a collaborative methodology of client immersion, and we pride ourselves on being an extension of our client’s in-house team. We have worked hand in hand with HEB, applying iterative learning cycles to constantly improve processes based on insights from their real operation. Additionally, we conduct workshops focused on identifying specific needs and generating hypotheses. A consultative approach is incorporated into day to day operations, in order to promote best practices and drive better results, based on our years of specialized expertise in last mile logistics for supermarkets.
"One of the highlights of working with Instaleap is they not only provide the tool itself; they share best practices learnt from years of real operation. To us, they are consultants who have become an extension of our team, and provide us with relevant insights to drive decision making and operational adjustments."- Edwin Cardenas, Omnichannel Director
An omnichannel approach for the future of supermarkets.
HEB started the implementation of Instaleap's logistics platform at the end of 2019. Since then, the results in both scalability and optimization have been outstanding. On one hand, the synchronization efforts, alongside time and resource optimization, have resulted in a 30% decrease of delivery costs. On the other hand, the operational support our logistics platform provides, has allowed HEB to successfully handle a 3x growth in delivered orders. Currently, over 2000 orders are being processed each day, and this is only the beginning of an ambitious path towards expansion.