From food and drink to toiletries, you can find almost anything in a supermarket. You could literally spend hours walking up and down the aisles finding items you didn’t even know you needed; but my question is, with today’s technology and ability to order whatever you need with just the click of a button, are grocery stores and supermarkets going to start getting digital?
The answer is yes, right now, about two thirds of food retailers have online recipes and mobile friendly sites, and at least one third of grocers include online ordering, but these trends are way more prevalent among larger operators. According to the Shelby Report, supermarkets with 50-plus stores are more likely to drive technology in their promotions and advertising, they are also more willing to spend significant time and money on these digital investments. Grocers are racing to get into the game to beat off large competitors like Amazon and Walmart so they are creating promotions that can only be found on websites and mobile apps, as well as experimenting with online ordering, and digital coupons.
For a glimpse of how technology can affect supermarkets let’s take a look at Kroger. Kroger has over 2,000 stores which makes it the largest supermarket chain in the US and in recent years Kroger has focused a lot on upping their technology. Not only have they put in infrared sensors to monitor foot traffic, they have created a mobile app that can analyze customers shopping habits, and they have started using a digital coupon system. Chris Hjelm, Korger’s chief information officer said, “We want to bring technology to life in the store,” which they have clearly done successfully. These new technologies have not only helped bring in more customers, but it has also cut the waiting time at the supermarket and created a more interactive experience for buyers.
Digital tools are the perfect way for grocers to fight back against larger companies like Amazon. According to a Wall Street Journal article, 49% of shoppers are using digital coupons and 47% look up recipes on the supermarket’s website. If grocers want to stay in business it is necessary that they start shifting to a more digital industry. Whether dealing with a supermarket that has 2,000 plus chains, or just one, owners should start spending their money on upping technology.