Skip to main content

Retail Media Summit: Hy-Vee’s Hendrix Talks the Evolution of Commerce Marketing

a man smiling for the camera
hy-vee p2pi
Jessica Hendrix, left, and Jessie Dowd

Jessica Hendrix, just over two months into her tenure as EVP, chief marketing officer and president, RedMedia, at Hy-Vee, took the stage Wednesday as the opening keynote at the Path to Purchase Institute’s Retail Media Summit.

At the Palmer House Hilton in Chicago, Hendrix sat down with Jessie Dowd, editorial director at P2PI, to discuss the evolution of commerce marketing. 

After 17 years at Saatchi & Saatchi X, including eight as president and CEO, Hendrix in April took advantage of an “amazing opportunity” to join a retailer. Familiar with the brand and agency side of things, “I didn’t have that well-rounded experience of sitting on the retailer side,” she said. “I couldn’t pass it up.”

Dowd posed questions to Hendrix about shopper behavior, omnichannel retail, the new path to purchase, in-store retail media, technology and the challenges she sees in the industry.

“If you think about how shopping behaviors have evolved and how people engage ... how capturing attention today [is different], the environment has changed; need states have changed,” she said. “Behaviors have created a more dynamic environment.”

Advertisement - article continues below

To keep pace, Hendrix says Hy-Vee is deeply embedded in the community — really connected to its shoppers. “We are meeting shoppers where they are,” she said. “We’re using that community engagement to bubble up trends.”

Having two teenage kids at home, Hendrix says she is continually influenced by them. “I see that need for immediate gratification. There’s constant change. Relevancy is incredibly important.”

She said the path to purchase is really fluid. “How do we use data to truly connect?” she posed. “How do touchpoints in retail media continue to be as relevant as they can?” Part of that, she says, is retailers and brands getting more sophisticated.

One way to do that is with in-store retail media, she says. “Our job is to make sure that experience feels connected. It has to feel connected to what you served me previously.”

Looking a year into the future, Hendrix believes we'll see the integration of in-store media, and measurement will be part of that. Additionally, she thinks there will be more clarity on first-party data.

When asked about the challenges ahead, Hendrix mentioned technology (the platforms marketers use), the talent (which needs to evolve with the technology) and a cookie-less future (“I’m confident we’ll figure that out”).

Further down the line, she’s eager to see how artificial intelligence will fit in. But, she says, “leaning in on humanity is more important than ever. ... Connect with people. As marketers, it’s important to unplug a bit.”

Asked about the customer experience at Hy-Vee, Hendrix focused on the word “service.” She said, “Service means something different today than it did; the definition has evolved. Service might also be experience.”

In closing, Dowd asked Hendrix for rapid fire answers to various concepts she would throw out:

  • The future of commerce: “Connected experiences and agility.”
  • Secrets to success: “Gratitude, empathy, curiosity.”
  • Today’s shoppers: “Relationships.”
  • Marketers’ philosophy: “Relationships.”

And when asked for her retail media confession, Hendrix quipped, “Text me if you want me to respond."

This ad will auto-close in 10 seconds