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What Does ‘Digitizing Supermarkets’ Mean?

Feb 1, 2016 in Mobile, Retail, Startups

Retailers are continually faced with a number of new challenges regarding consumer expectations. Customers have a large number of needs and demands including frustration with lines and being unable to easily find desired products. The result of higher standards within the grocery industry necessitates high tech in-store. Here are some of the ways that digitizing the supermarket will help attract more customers.

What is Digitizing?

Digitizing the supermarket isn’t entirely composed of online shopping. Many consumers love having groceries delivered to their door, but there is still a huge number of shoppers that love going to the store and personally selecting their groceries. In-store shoppers can examine produce and other products before purchasing them, and they also save money on delivery fees. Still, retailers can definitely offer shoppers some digital connections in order to improve their experience in the store. There are a variety of technologies that can be brought into stores in order to facilitate better, easier, and faster shopping experiences.

Engage Millennials

Millennials are maturing as a generation and based on demographic projections, millennials will purchase the majority of grocery items in the next decade. They are also the biggest users of smartphones and the most tech savvy, which means millennials are an important population to target within the supermarket industry. Implementing the right technology will ensure that young consumers are attracted to your store and find the products they’re looking for. ­

Grocery Shopping: Not Just For Old Fogeys

Grocery stores can increase sales and profit with technology that helps attract a younger demographic. This includes installing beacon technology to offer coupons, discounts and sales on smartphones and alerting young customers in the area of new products and events. Relevant tech makes grocery shopping more attractive to consumers of a younger demographic.

Mobile Data Collection

One of the biggest factors that drives the success of businesses is the collection and application of mobile data. Mobile data is the information that is collected from smartphones – often consumer behavior patterns, preferences and habits. This information is invaluable for optimizing marketing strategy and homing in on your target market. It is extremely important to have the technology in place so that you can take advantage of mobile data collection and analyze collected data. This information can enable employees to help customers, and can also help make the shopping experience better for them.

Savvy Tech

There is a lot of cool tech out there that can help advance your store to the next level, and enhance your consumer appeal. Smart shelves are a new technology that can alert consumers to the location of items on a grocery list, thereby reducing the amount of time they spend shopping. Smart shelves can also light up items on a shelf as shoppers get closer in order to call attention to the items that you need to purchase. Many groceries are already implementing smart shelves in order to meet consumer needs.

Another popular trend is Electronic Shelf Labels, or ESLs. These are labels used by retailers that display pricing on the shelf, and are usually attached to the front edge of shelving units on an E-paper or LCD display. The price is automatically updated whenever the price changes, which is very convenient and helpful for consumers.

Beacons are also making a huge wave within retail execution. They are a low-cost piece of hardware that attaches to a wall or counter and uses Bluetooth technology to communicate with nearby consumers through smartphones. For example, if consumers are walking by your store, beacons can send an alert with relevant sale information – perhaps on a frequently purchased item. This type of beacon technology is helping supermarkets and other stores make vast improvements in sales as well as increase their general appeal to consumers.

Retail execution is changing in a big way, and supermarkets need to get on board with digitization to keep up with the competition. Digitization can actually help stores reduce the size and shelf space of their retail areas by focusing on the items that cater directly to consumers needs. Gathering mobile data about consumer shopping behavior can be incredibly helpful for stores that wish to level up and attract new consumers, while maintaining a loyal customer base. The bottom line is this: grocers need to invest in digital technologies to keep up with ever-changing consumer needs and industry structure.

Joey Alfano

Written by Joey Alfano

Co-founder/CPO @GoSpotCheck. Undergrad from Bucknell and International MBA from University of Denver. Background in global IT consulting, ERP and big data. Oh yea, and obsessive golfer.