Grocery Store Technology
Beyond self-checkouts, grocers try to keep up with the latest tech.
Web2Carz Contributing Writer
Published: October 24th, 2012
Self-checkout lanes are being phased out, as many stores realize their inefficiency.
trolling through the grocery store, it's not hard to think of a few ways that technology could be integrated to the experience. For instance, you could take a buzzer when you walk in and enter your budget into it, and as you shop, the buzzer could go off when you hit your dollar limit. Or, you could scan a recipe you want to make, and a tiny device could print out a list of what you need to buy for it. That said, some grocery stores are trying to keep up with the times in ways other than simply putting in self-checkout lanes (which, by now, are even being phased out as owners realize they're not as efficient as they'd hoped). Here are a few ways grocery shopping is staying in the 21st century.
1) Aisle 411 is a free app that you can download on your smartphone that shows you the layout of your local grocery stores, making it easier to find certain products. Unfortunately, some stores aren't listed, but it's a start—especially when stores redesign their layouts and you suddenly find soup where the paper towels used to be located.
2) Weekly Ads and Sales is another free app in which you can search your local stores' ads to find the best deals each week. It's easier than having to scour through newspapers or travel to different stores hoping for a good price.
3) Stop&Shop, also free, stores offer customers the option of using hand-held scanners as they shop that enable them to scan products and bar codes as they shop, so that when they get to the checkout lanes, there's virtually no wait—since the cashiers don't have to spend time scanning all of your groceries, just the scanner, you're good to go in virtually no time. We're not sure how they keep people honest, but it seems like a pretty good idea.
4) Some stores are beginning to use heat maps and flow-tracking in their stores. Sound creepy? It's not, really. These utilities track how long customers linger in certain parts of the store and what their shopping patterns are, so that the store owners can optimize the layout of their stores to avoid "traffic jams" and keep things streamlined.
5) Perhaps the most inventive technology available for shopping at supermarkets is in South Korea, where the chain Tesco has set up virtual stores in subway stations. The virtual stores let users scan QR codes to purchase groceries through a smartphone app. The groceriesare then delivered to the customers, usually by the time they arrive at home. Not going to lie—this would be A.MAZ.ING. Check it out:
What kind of technologies do you wish would pop up at your local grocery store?