Consumers today are looking for speed and convenience when grocery shopping. They expect more innovation in grocery stores and they are seeking technology that will create a frictionless experience.
But, consumers still want the human touch and personalisation while grocery shopping and are asking for better recommendations and more fun and immersive experiences.
The question is then – how can grocery retailers accommodate both and provide an outstanding consumer experience both offline and online?
With 50% of consumers complaining that grocery stores haven’t figured out how to use technology like other retailers, according to a survey by Phononic, grocers around the world are looking for ways to introduce cutting-edge technology and unconventional ways to improve consumer journey to purchase.
In this blog post, we’ll share some of the most exciting initiatives in grocery retail in the last couple of years and some innovative grocery store ideas. From improving eCommerce solutions to introducing fun and engaging in-store experiences, everyone is trying to meet ever-changing consumers’ expectations.
Innovations Shaping Online Grocery
As consumers are slowly starting to embrace online grocery shopping, grocery retailers are looking for ways to introduce simpler solutions to capture the biggest market share in e-commerce. Grocery shopping delivery should be fast and convenient. Offering different options to accommodate various consumers’ expectations is a great way to drive higher sales.
1. “Hey Google”: Voice Ordering And Assistant Technology
As 50% of all searches will be voice searches by 2020, according to comScore, focusing on voice-first strategy should be on top of grocers’ minds. Simplifying the way consumers can interact with grocery stores and order groceries is a great way to win more of the market share over the next couple of years.
Consumers expect connected experiences and ordering groceries shouldn’t be more than a click or a simple sentence away.
Target embraced this trend by offering a voice-activated coupon on Google, Walmart and Kroger introduced voice-enabled shopping through Google Assistant, and Ask Peapod has developed an Alexa skill that helps consumers order groceries in a much simpler way.
2. AI And Food Delivery
Robomart introduced its first grocery store on wheels earlier in 2018, and now it seems that autonomous vehicles are changing the way groceries are being delivered to consumers.
Farmstead has also announced that they are introducing an AI-powered “micro-grocer” to make their deliveries autonomous.
Grocery retailers are looking for ways to speed up grocery delivery and save resources as they test new technologies.
3. Co-Op Robot Delivery
Starship technology delivery robots are a convenient way for consumers to get their groceries delivered to their doorstep.
And if someone tries to steal the groceries along the way, the robot has 9 cameras to capture the thief’s face and let the operator take it from there.
4. Boxed Robots Take Selfies Before They Ship Your Order
Innovations are not only for large grocery retailers. Boxed.com, a startup that is offering a unique millennial-focused experience has introduced a better way to pack and ship orders to consumers through the use of robotics in their warehouse.
Before they ship the order, the boxes take selfies and send them to consumers. And it seems that millennials love it.
5. Delivery Options For Every Taste
One of the most obvious examples in eCommerce comes from Amazon. AmazonFresh offers three delivery options for their consumers. Consumers can choose whether they want their groceries delivered in person, left at their doorstep or if they want to pick their groceries up at a selected location.
Meeting different consumers’ expectations is the best way to ahead of the emerging online grocery shopping trends.
6. Alphabot Puts Groceries In A Bag
Alphabot, Walmart’s robot, has the goal to improve both the customer and associate experience by offering an easy solution for automated grocery pick up.
Albertsons is also using AI robots to speed up the process of putting groceries in a bag to help their workers focus on more important tasks.
Innovations Shaping In-Store Experiences
Grocery retailers focused on making consumers’ in-store path to purchase more convenient and fighting for the title of the most innovative supermarkets are introducing interesting novelties to their stores. From cashierless checkouts to robots organizing the shelves, in-store experiences are becoming easier for shoppers.
7. Cashierless Checkouts
With Amazon Go opening up, it’s evident that cashierless checkouts will become the trend for many grocery retailers focusing on convenience.
Kroger’s technology “Scan, Bag, and Go” is also a solution aimed to solve the problem of long lines in a grocery store.
Loblaws offers a similar experience for consumers in Canada. Using “shop and scan” technology, Loblaws hopes to offer a more convenient way for their consumers to shop. Sounds a lot like Amazon Go, but less advanced.
8. Robot Organises Food Shelves To Help With Customer Experience
89% of shoppers said that they want to shop in a grocery store that understands how to make buying groceries easier and more efficient experience, according to Phononic Survey.
Robots in Schnucks stores are focused around improving in-store experience for their consumers. Among other benefits, the robots will help create a more organized shopping flow.
9. Bringing Inspiration And Research To Store
Migros, a Swiss supermarket chain, is a great example of supermarket innovation with their Discover function in the Migros app, that allows consumers to scan products and see what others have to say about it before purchasing.
Customers can see the nutritional and allergy information to make informed choices about the products while in store or discover recipes based on the products they have at home.
Attracting Shoppers through Unconventional Offerings
Some retailers are using interesting ways to attract consumers to their grocery stores. They’re creating experiences that are not linked to grocery shopping but are making grocery shopping a more pleasant experience.
10. Beer Corner
“Lots of stores have a beer cave. But only Lowes Foods has The Beer Den where you’ll find the finest selection of crafts and drafts in the whole wild world,” claims Lowes Foods.
The Beer Den even opened their first in-store brew pub in 2017 in Simpsonville.
The Beer Den has an app to simplify it for the consumer to find the local store where they serve their favourite beer.
Through great content and story-telling, they are also able to entice the consumer to want to “enter the beer den” and explore a new world of craft beer.
Not only that, they provide excellent video content to help people learn more about different types of craft beers to choose from.
11. Gas Station
In June 2018, Kroger announced that they will be adding gas stations at Pick ‘n Save stores in Wisconsin. One apparent reason for this move is to generate more revenue. And the second one is to attract shoppers through convenience.
12. Personalisation And Knowing Your Customer
And for some, it’s only about creativity and knowing your customer well. Trader’s Joe has been doing a great job of delivering personalised shopping experiences to their customers over the years.
Grocery retailers are innovating to create better consumer experiences. Whether it’s through use of technology or finding creative ways to lure more shoppers to their store, these innovations show that it’s worth a while investing in solutions focused on the consumer first.
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