Sainsbury’s announces 480 new roles as it aims to improve in-store technology

In a move to make technology a core part of its business and improve the in-store theatre and connectivity within its supermarkets, Sainsbury’s has announced the creation of 480 new specialist digital and technology roles.

The roles, which will focus on improving the website and mobile shopping apps, will be split, with recruitment currently underway for 180 jobs at a new ‘Digital Lab’ set to open in London this summer, and a further 300 specialist roles to open up at a new ‘Technology Hub’ in Coventry.

The former, which will based at Sainsbury’s Holborn HQ, will focus on testing new creative ways to shop, with developers, digital designers, product owners, engineers and testers among the roles advertised.

The technology hub positions, meanwhile, will be more focused on improving Sainsbury’s supply chain and internal IT platforms for services such as online shopping. The Coventry workers will be based alongside the retailer’s existing operational team that supports stores, depots and offices.

“The shape of our business is changing and digital and technology is a core part of our future growth,” said Sainsbury’s Chief Executive Mike Coupe.

“Ultimately these changes are good news for customers – the Technology Hub in Coventry will keep our systems running smoothly and experts in our Digital Lab in London will be developing new ways of digital shopping to give customers the best access to our products, services and offers.”

Over recent years, Sainsbury’s has arguably embraced technology and digital services a lot slower than its big-four rivals.

Last month it announced plans for a click and collect service. However, it was noticeably late to the party with market leader Tesco and second biggest grocer Asda starting respective click and collect services in 2010 and 2011, and the likes of Waitrose recently teaming up with Transport for London to offer the service on commuter routes.

Big four rivals Asda and Tesco, have also each launched hi-tech services such as in-store 3D printing and the Hudl tablet over recent years. Tesco has said it is looking to become more like Google, with Britain’s leading supermarket now hosting regular hackathons.

Sainsbury’s director of digital & technology Jon Rudoe said the supermarket chain now wants its brand to become synonymous with digital and technology.

“We’re now firmly on the map as a career destination for digital and technology specialists,” he said.

“Retail is a vibrant sector for innovation and this team is key to keeping our fast-paced business running. We’re structuring and equipping entrepreneurial teams to improve the digital experience and develop products that will help make our customers’ lives easier.”

Sainsbury’s posted a 1.9% decline in like-for-like sales, exluding fuel, for the 10 weeks to 14 March. It recently reduced the prices of 1,100 products as it aims to win back customers lost to the discounters Aldi and Lidl.

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