Narayan Iyengar is recruited from his e-commerce post at Disney.

Grocery conglomerate Albertsons Companies Inc. is hoping a veteran from The Walt Disney Co. can help it write an e-commerce fairy tale of its own.

Albertsons hired Narayan Iyengar as its new senior vice president of digital marketing and e-commerce, replacing Tamara Pattison, who left the grocery chain owner  in June. Iyengar had spent the past three plus years as vice president of e-commerce at Disney. Albertsons is the parent company of grocery chain Safeway Inc., No. 147 in the Internet Retailer 2016 Top 500 Guide, having completed its acquisition of Safeway in January 2015. Albertsons owns 15 additional grocery chains, including Vons, Tom Thumb and Jewel-Osco.

In announcing Iyengar’s hiring, Albertsons stressed his track record of e-commerce innovation with Disney, where “he built, enhanced and optimized e-commerce capabilities across an eco-system spanning 20 websites and apps.” His hiring appears to be a sign that Albertsons is ready to invest more heavily in reaching online grocery shoppers.

“E-commerce, digital and social media channels hold unlimited potential for delivering the kind of personalized service our customers want,” chief marketing officer Shane Sampson said. “Narayan’s expertise will enable us to deploy new service and marketing models to attract more shoppers and grow our business both in stores and online.” data show Safeway shoppers had an average online order value of $102 in 2015. According to a report from research firm Kantar Worldpanel, overall online grocery sales grew by 15% year over year for the 12 months ended in June.


More information about the boom in online grocery sales is available here in Internet Retailer’s recently published 25-page research report, “Online Food Shopping Goes Mainstream.” The report identifies the major players driving this sea change in food retailing, estimates the future growth of the online food retailing and more.