February 15, 2017
Kroger Co., the biggest supermarket store in the nation, has devoted itself to stay current on the latest technology that could affect the grocery industry during the last several years. Right now, sensors and analytics technology is being tested that allows products and shelves to interact with shoppers.
The system is set up to ping customers on their mobile devices - to offer some personalization during their grocery shopping. It will offer customers customized prices on certain items or help them around the store to attain the products they have listed on their shopping list. Tested started in late 2016 and will continue throughout 2017.
Kroger Chief Information Officer Chris Hjelm said the idea behind the technology is to bring life to the store.
Kroger has been in stiff competition with major players like Wal-Mart and Amazon. Amazon is offering its Fresh online service that will be expanded all through the nation and is leading to brick-and-mortar grocery stores as well.
With Amazon's completely automated grocery store, customers use their smartphones or mobile devices at a kiosk and then tap on the network of sensors that will track items customers want and charge their accounts online.
For Kroger, the answer comes in the form of shelves that talk to customers through pings, using either their grocery list items or items that customers may be interested in.
Hjelm said the company knows what is in the aisle and, thanks to the information shoppers have, the information is brought together to make the shopping experience a better one.
He didn't deny the fact Kroger is entertaining the idea of a completely automated store, but there were some challenges behind it that would have to be addressed. For instance, consumers would change their mind about a product and put it back in another location. This would confuse sensors.
Still, Kroger is thinking ahead and hopes to stay on top as grocery stores go digital.