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THE CHANGE IN FOOD RETAIL - OUR THEME FOR EASYFRESH 2019 CONFERENCE

ADVANCING TECHNOLOGY AND STRONGER COMPETITION KEY DRIVERS OF SAID CHANGES

Recent digital trends, like an increase in on-demand app development, have dramatically changed the overall shopping experience for most consumers. However, it can seem like some types of commerce have been more affected by emerging technologies than others. You may buy a shirt or TV online now, but odds are good you're still doing a lot of your grocery shopping the traditional way.

Upon closer inspection, though, it becomes apparent that recent innovations have had a significant impact on food retail. This trend will likely continue in the future. The following noteworthy points illustrate this fact clearly.

Demand for Change

Emerging technologies have made many everyday experiences far more convenient than ever before. Consumers can now buy items, check their bank accounts, and even pay bills straight from a phone. As a result, they've come to expect this degree of convenience across every aspect of their daily lives. This is particularly true among younger customers, who've grown up in a world where digital technology is abundant.

This demand for change has driven experimentation in the retail sector. For instance, Amazon is striving to make the brick-and-mortar shopping experience more efficient with cashierless stores. Microsoft is working on similar cashierless technology that can be offered to retailers at an affordable price. Food vendors may embrace this option to better serve their customers.

Behind-the-Scenes Improvements

Cashierless checkout tech is just one example of new developments improving food retail. It's garnered media attention because it's a unique, customer-facing innovation.

However, retailers can also provide better service by leveraging new technologies to simplify back-end operations.

Artificial intelligence (AI) is one innovation that may offer significant benefits in this capacity. Farmstead, a startup which aims to transform the grocery shopping experience by delivering local and sustainable items to customers in under an hour, uses AI to analyze customer habits. This helps the company determine how much inventory to order each day to minimize waste and serve customers reliably.

Other grocery delivery services use AI to better understand individual customer preferences. This allows them to offer recommendations tailored to the needs and tastes of each specific shopper. 

Traditional retailers are taking notice. Walmart recently openend a new Texas office devoted to exploring the ways in which new technology can improve the shopping experience for customers. Chris Hjelm, Chief Information Officer at Kroger, has also stated that incorporating the latest technology into its stores is a major priority.

Smaller startups aren't ignoring this trend either. Robomart plans to bring the corner store to the customer with autonomous vehicles  stocked full of groceries a shopper would typically travel to a brick-and-mortar location to find.

Although it's not clear at this stage precisely which new trends will have the most lasting impact on the food retail industry, there's no denying these innovations are going to reshape the entire sector for both consumers and businesses. If you already work in the industry, now's the time to research how you can keep up with the changing times. On the other hand, if you have an idea for how new tech can further improve grocery shopping, you're in a position to take advantage of a retail revolution.

Source : Rae Steinbach - RETAIL TECHNOLOGY INSIDER

 


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