The supermarket of the future is set to be an exciting, radically different experience to the supermarket we go to today. In fact, the face of supermarket shopping is changing right in front of our eyes.
But wait, you say, isn’t everything supposed to be online? Surely online shopping is the way of the future, and the supermarket is set to disappear? Clearly not, according to Amazon – by far the biggest online retailer in the US. In August of 2017, the company acquired brick & mortar establishment Whole Foods for $13.7bn, making a big statement. They clearly see a future where supermarkets are here to stay.
So, what does that future supermarket look like? We’ll take a look at some key changes and trends that are impacting the future of the supermarket experience.
Most of us are used to walking the aisles at the supermarket and choosing what we want by throwing it in our cart. At the end, we wait in line for the cashier, unpack our cart onto their station, watch our goods being scanned one-be-one, pay, and walk out.
A new initiative beginning across Europe and the US – and indeed in many other places in the world – is handheld scanners. Already rolling out in stores like Walmart and Kroger’s, these devices allow shoppers to scan as they go. You scan an item’s barcode, put it in your cart, and pay at the end. This eliminates the tedious process of watching someone else scan your items one-by-one. While it does involve walking around with a handheld scanner – in addition to whatever else you might be carrying – it is a welcome improvement to the supermarket experience.
Looking a bit further ahead into the future, augmented reality is set to really reshape the shopping experience. Imagine walking around a supermarket and moving your finger over a bag of coffee as its nutritional information and even its sourcing details are projected in front of you. You’ll see a beautiful video about where the beans come from, meet the farmer who produced it and follows its journey all the way from harvesting to the shelf in front of you.
Augmented reality, or “AR”, is an interactive experience of a real-world environment whereby the objects that reside in the real-world are “augmented” by computer-generated perceptual information. Made popular with Pokemon Go, AR can superimpose an image over what you’re actually seeing. With AR you can be guided to specific ingredients, see recipe suggestions, and make more informed decisions.
We’ve all had the frustration of looking for our favorite product, only to find that it’s out-of-stock. Sometimes, unbeknownst to us, it’s actually physically at the store but just hasn’t been unpacked yet. We’re also familiar with trying to choose the items we want while dodging supermarket employees who are busy unpacking new products on to shelves and trying to keep some sort of order.
In the supermarket of the future, smart shelves can gather data and automate replenishment. Micro-fulfillment centers can get your food delivered to you in under an hour. And robots can replenish shelves faster. All of this means that the products you love will always be there; fresh and delicious, and available whenever you want.
A Seamless Experience
There is one technology that is set to change the supermarket experience more than any other. Imagine the supermarket of the future where you walk in, take what you want, and walk out. That’s it. It might be difficult to imagine, and certainly, Amazon Go’s concept video helps, but this is the future of the supermarket. Seamless. Enjoyable. Even more social.
No more waiting in endless lines, no bottlenecks at the front of the store, no unloading your cart to be scanned by someone else and then trying to find the right card in your wallet while the people behind you look on disapprovingly.
This also means that in-store employees are freed up from menial tasks like scanning items. Instead, they can be giving great customer service, imparting their knowledge about specific items or even diets. The future of the supermarket is really this exciting.
The Not-Too-Distant Future
This seamless experience isn’t something we’re talking about in 50 years. Or even 5 years. It’s available right now.
Trigo Vision can make any supermarket into one that offers this seamless experience. Using our technology, thousands of supermarkets can be transformed into these utopian supermarkets-of-the-future, right now. Your supermarket shopping experiences are about to get a whole lot more enjoyable.