More in-store digital grocery deployments expected in 2019

More data usage and deployments of artificial intelligence (AI), as well as greater usage of in-store technology, and growing commitments to sustainability and wellness – that’s grocery in a nutshell for 2019.

According to the grocery sector’s insight, training and education charity, IGD, innovative advances in technology and further frictionless in-store shopping experiences are on the cards for the next 12 months.

In its annual end-of-year top predictions list, IGD said customer data will help grocers offer more personalised shopping; sustainability concerns will change the way retailers do business; stores will offer more seamless shopping experiences; healthy eating and wellness will grow in popularity; and shopping opportunities will increasingly be available anywhere and anytime

The predictions come after a year that has seen UK supermarkets extend their trials of electronic shelf labelling, strengthen their research and piloting of voice-enabled technology, and some leading players experiment further with self-service.

Toby Pickard, head of insight, innovation & futures at IGD, commented: “Physical stores offer customers a more tangible shopping experience, where they can see products before they commit to purchase.

“This gives these spaces an advantage over online providers, and we are seeing stores begin to capitalise on that and add in extras to incorporate more of the benefits of online.”

He added: “A recent example of this is Il Viaggiator Goloso, a premium Italian brand, which has enabled its electronic shelf-edge labels to show the online reviews and scores products have received. This gives customers a more informed choice in store.”

IGD noted that by using customer datasets, AI and machine learning in their stores, grocers will garner efficiency and customer service benefits. Insights gained through closer customer engagement will provide invaluable guidance to retailers looking to grow their businesses, it argued.

“In 2019 we’ll see retailers think increasingly about making every moment shoppable,” said Pickard.

“A recent innovation was easyJet making it possible for Instagram users to find and book holidays to new destinations, simply by clicking on a photo they have seen. Whether through targeted marketing or simple ways to make purchasing more seamless, shopping is becoming not just more convenient but more instant as well.”

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