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Aisle to Aisle: Increasing Retail Efficiency

by Samantha Kalany

Estimated reading time: 2 minutes

Look at where we’ve come from the days of scavenging through aisle upon aisle of products and waiting in terribly long line as the checkout counters. We’ve entered a more modern age of shopping with the best of the best technological advances popping up around every corner. According to a 2019 study by Store of the Future, approximately 89% of consumers wish for a quicker checkout experience. It was found that 83% of that same collection desired a faster shopping trip as a whole. That same percentage hopes stores will open up to using technology to customer experiences as a whole.

Skip the Aisle to Aisle

Large organizations such as Amazon and Postmates have been modifying their approach on quick and easy deliveries, by utilizing automation tactics to deliver food and pre-selected meals right to customers’ front doorsteps. Stores that want their employees to succeed and excel, they must invest in relevant technology and easy to use tools that can make a huge difference in productivity and customer service on the sales floor. Several other stores, such as Walmart, Target, and Whole Foods have enforced curbside pickup at their locations, through comprehensive smartphone apps. 

Kroger has enabled the crowd-favorite “Click-List”, now known as Kroger PickUp, where customers can communicate their grocery lists to the appropriate app on their smartphone or tablet device, to fulfill that order, set a pickup time, and get their shopping done, without having to walk throughout the store. The concept of “click-and-collect” shopping allows employed associates to address newer workplace tasks, by collecting the needed items. In some stores however, AI-enabled technology is breaking way.

AI is the Future

AI-enabled solutions have also been surveying through grocery stores, in the form of physical autonomous robots picking products off of shelves, unloading packages from delivery trucks, and updating price tags, and even assembling display towers. AI bots wear many hats in the supermarket-workspace, just take robots like Marty. Marty is an autonomous robot that reports spills, debris, and other potential hazards using image capturing technology to simplify processes for both co-workers and shoppers alike. Just look at how cute those googly-eyes are. He’s doing much more than cleaning, for he’s allowing his human co-workers to focus on more skill-based tasks.

Top Shelf-Quality Shelves

ESLs or Electronic Shelf Labels are a critical, operational tool for also freeing up associates for more demanding tasks. These next-level shelves can help with merchandising, inventory management, and picking orders. Shelves like these can call out specific products to assist the pick-up crew.

Seamless Checkout Experiences, Oh My!

All of the customers are really shooting for more seamless checkout experiences in their grocery stores. Grocers are working to integrate electronic checkout machines and scanners with handheld devices, all on the same network. The sense of Scan & Go methodology to get shoppers, in and out quickly. Introducing a “cashless” shopping experience is a common trend, especially with online and mobile phone shopping, just click and go.

They say we’ve come to the death of supermarkets, altogether, but we’d like to think it some other way. Whether its autonomous robots, simplified payment methods, grocery pickups, or smarter digital signage, the supermarket is still being kept alive; it’s just got brand new features to help it garner popularity and boost its customer base. Keep the technology updates a’coming!