Digital Innovation | Data Analytics | Customer Experience

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Digital Innovation in Grocery Industry: What Grocers Are Doing to Stay Ahead

This is a part of our ongoing series “Why Analytics Matters,” which examines how BigData, Analytics and Cloud tools are transforming businesses. This month, we look at the cross section of technology and the grocery business. Today, grocers are embracing digital tools to better serve customers, grow loyalty, improve inventory management, and stay competitive. Digital innovation is needed in the grocery business now more than ever. Think about it: The way we shop for food is evolving. We’re buying at least a few grocery products online, we create grocery lists on our smartphones, and we aren’t reading newspaper inserts for coupons and sales information. Grocers that respond and deliver innovative digital experiences will win in this hyper competitive environment. Already, innovation is occurring. Just look at Amazon Go or 365 by Whole Foods, grocery stores built for digital audiences. But underneath all of these digital experiments, you’ll find a strong foundation of data and analytics. Grocers that integrate data completely into their operations are rewarded with streamlined inventory management, a more-complete customer view, and optimized pricing and product mix. Ultimately, grocers must have firm control over their data, before the true innovations begin. We have curated articles from BigData, Analytics and Business Intelligence Thought Leaders dive into the most interesting digital innovations taking place in the grocery business.

How Amazon Go Works: The Technology Behind the Online Retailer’s Groundbreaking New Grocery Store via GeekWire

How Amazon Go Works: The Technology Behind the Online Retailer’s Groundbreaking New Grocery Store via GeekWire

Amazon’s innovative grab-and-go was hailed as a game-changer for grocery by a range of business journals. True, this is the cutting-edge of retail innovation and the technology is likely beyond the capabilities of many businesses. Yet, examining what it is and how it works is useful information for retailers of all sizes. Essentially, the company is using sensors, computer vision and artificial intelligence to detect what items shoppers grab and put into their baskets. This detection process is aided by machine learning and Big Data. Ultimately, Amazon is calling the stack Just Walk Out technology. Is it the future of retail? This is just a pilot store, but over the next decade, this type of innovation has the potential to become commonplace.

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At Kroger, Technology Is Changing the Grocery Shopping Experience via Wall Street Journal

At Kroger, Technology Is Changing the Grocery Shopping Experience via Wall Street Journal

Kroger – one of America’s largest grocery chains – has been at the forefront of grocery innovation. This Q&A with Kroger’s CIO Chris Hjelm provides insights into how the company has embraced cutting-edge technology. Here’s one example: The grocery chain is experimenting with sensors and camera-enabled learning at their check-out, deli and pharmacies counters. These systems can detect how many people are in line, who was there first, and provide customers with expected wait times on digital displays. The organization then uses this data to streamline its operations. Another innovation: Kroger’s app offers personalized coupons and offers – something many have experimented with – but they’re layering this technology on top of smart shelves. Digital displays on the front of shelves can interact with the app, offering promotional info, highlighting products that are aligned with the customer’s app preferences.

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Instacart’s App Has Changed Grocery Stores for the Better via TechCrunch

Instacart’s App Has Changed Grocery Stores for the Better via TechCrunch

One of the fastest growing online shopping companies, Instacart is now valued at $2 billion. The app’s promise is simple: They make it possible for users to shop online, pair with a personal shopper and have their groceries delivered in as little as an hour. Instacart has partnered with a variety of grocery chains, and they continue to grow. This piece from TechCrunch highlights some of their key innovations. One, a store mapping feature within the app, provides personal shoppers with optimized store routes, helping them select cold item and pre-prepared hot items just before checkout, as well as finding those hard-to-locate items.

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Big Data at Tesco: Real Time Analytics At the UK Retail Giant via Forbes

Big Data at Tesco: Real Time Analytics At the UK Retail Giant via Forbes

The UK’s largest food retailer has put BigData at the forefront of their digital transformation. One area they’ve begun: Predictive modelling. Through modelling the company can better understand how products behave on store shelves, which informs their inventory management process. The organization has also begun to experiment with sensor data in their freezer section, to predict maintenance schedules and optimize energy consumption. How can you put this plan into place? Tesco utilizes a data lake, which provides data to all stakeholders and enables a data-driven culture across the organization.

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Can Whole Foods Keep Pace with Innovation? Inside the Grocery Chain’s New High-Tech ‘365’ Store via GeekWire

Can Whole Foods Keep Pace with Innovation? Inside the Grocery Chain’s New High-Tech ‘365’ Store via GeekWire

As Isabelle Francois, VP at 365 by Whole Foods, puts it: 365 has allowed Whole Foods to “build a brand with a digital foundation.” This article provides a deep dive into what Whole Foods is doing to stay relevant. A few examples: Digital price tags, near-100% high-definition signage, tea kiosks, and the ability to scan items and receive information, like wine pairings, for instance. With digital price tags, pricing is updated instantly – averting any “price lookup on aisle 3” announcements. One of the most compelling innovations: My 365 Rewards, the brand’s all-digital loyalty program. 365 is introducing digital punch cards, and personalized recommendations, content and promotions.

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