Tech is Transforming the Retail and Grocery Industry

Tech is Transforming the Retail and Grocery Industry

July 7

Next time you are at the grocery store, you might see a screen in front of your favorite box of cereal that lit up when you walk by, giving you what’s basically a TV commercial right there in the grocery story.

That is just a little preview of what is sure to be all over retailers in the future as they implement technology just for you, the consumer, to have a more personalized shopping experience.

The Street recently interviewed Bill Gillispie, IBM’s retail consulting team leader-grocery, on what the grocery store of the future will look like. Here is what he had to say: “In the connected grocery store of 2020, a store will recognize the shopper as he or she walks into it. As they move throughout the store, it will give the shopper personalized promotions based on what he or she likes. We will see the physical size of stores start to get smaller, with 10% of sales completed over a mobile channel by 2020.”

There are actually some interesting things going on. Though it has been my experience that long lines mean not enough cashiers, Kroger is actually taking this on, working with military and law inforcement-grade infrared cameras that detect body heat and pairs it with in-house software that determines when another lane needs to be opened. Ralph’s is also doing it, too.

Earlier this month, PwC US surveyed more than 1,000 shoppers and reported that grocery stores can no longer rely on just one customer experience for all, but that they need to being innovating and building digital channels to meet the future needs of consumers, which includes mobile devices.

Based on the report, “Front of the Line: how grocers can get ahead for the future,” here’s what we know of the survey respondents:

  • 83% prefer to shop at traditional grocery stores.
  • More than half complained of long lines and crowded stores.
  • Only 1 percent use online shopping as the primary way of getting groceries.
  • More than half want to integrate their mobile devices into their future grocery experience.

In addition to sharing shoppers’ habits, PwC also provided five tips for grocery retails to stay ahead in terms of consumer needs.

  • Tailor brick-and-mortar stores. Customize features such as new store locations, formats and layouts to meet customers where they go. 
  • Personalize marketing strategies. Stores should act as gatekeepers for consumers, labeling products clearly with their sustainable qualities, allowing for a more intimate connection with the product. 
  • Empower staff. Employees should be prepared to readily offer customers suggestions aligned to their lifestyles, budgets and health goals. 
  • Transform technology. If you are a managed service provider working for a grocery store, here is where I think you can educate your customer: With smartphones on the rise, grocery retailers should consider in-store information kiosks, in-aisle tablets and robust mobile applications for customers to readily access the information they need, from ingredients lists to food origins and nutritional facts.
  • Reinvent loyalty programs. Robust loyalty programs can help grocers keep future customers spending in their store versus a competitor.

With so much new technology coming out in the retail and grocery industry, there will likely be new opportunities for any businesses that handle IT managed services, which means MSPs might stand to make a buck if they can implement and support these types of technology assets.

Photo Credit: Jim via Wikimedia