From asking the shopkeeper to retrieve your groceries for you, to self-shopping with carts, to scanning barcodes and self-scanning apps, shopping at the grocery store has changed quite a bit over the years. Feeding the Accelerator’s Heather Jonasson looks at some of the more recent advances.
Twenty years ago, I remember being so excited because one grocery store in town installed animatronic chickens that clucked over the egg section and cows that mooed in the dairy section. Everyone in town went out of their way just to shop there so they could see this amazing marvel of technology. I couldn’t imagine how it could ever get better than that.
The past ten years have seen so many advances in grocery store shopping. Almost every large grocery store has an opportunity for self-checkout, though admittedly, I think there is a lot more work to do in that area. I’ve never seen that line go faster than the regular lines and so far I’ve never gotten out of there without having to talk to a clerk. And I’ve stated earlier how much I like to avoid dealing with people.
But I digress. Many grocery stores today are trying systems where the customer scans their own food before putting it in the cart and then simply turns in the scanner to know what to pay. A company called Fetch Rewards Inc. has developed a shopping app that gives you discounts as you scan your items on an iPad. (Note to companies – discounts are a great way to get people to try your product!) This product helps the customer to shop faster while getting discounts and also helps the grocer and food manufacturers by easily tracking what’s selling in certain areas.
Many grocery stores these days are also using products like Data Check Pro, which helps manage inventory expiration dates. Twice I’ve bought expired food at the grocery store. I might as well have scraped some mold from my garage. My stomach and I are happy that this new technology exists.
And of course, there are now the grocery delivery services like Instacart. This is the ultimate. I can browse what I want to buy during my free time and click to order when I’m ready. I don’t have to drive the shopping cart with the broken wheel. I don’t have to yell at the kids to get out of the magazine section. I can put on my pajamas and let the food come to my door.
What other technology will grocery stores develop in the next few years? I think there is a lot of room for development in this field and I look forward to seeing how it progresses. Now excuse me while I order this weekend’s dinner ingredients.
Heather Jonasson is an authentic Texas girl who is desparately waiting for the Star Trek food replicator to be invented. She is the twitter expert at Feeding The Accelerator. You can follow her at @FeedAccelerator and @heatheraudrey