Bolster grocery store appeal with new technology

Photograph: Shutterstock

Going to the grocery store is no longer the routine errand it used to be. With the growing number of online shopping opportunities, a visit to the store is becoming more about the shopping experience itself and feeling inspired and connected to the store.

Increasingly, grocery stores are catering to this new mindset and developing ways to engage customers—both with product selection and with the errand itself—so shoppers can easily navigate the store and complete their shopping in an efficient manner. 

Keeping customers engaged and immersed in the shopping moment is tied to technology more and more. Here are some ways grocery stores are leveraging technology to win customer loyalty and strengthen their bottom line.

Click-and-collect: The internet is making a major impact on brick-and-mortar shopping. People can shop from the comfort of their homes and have food and other items delivered to them. Click-and-collect technology allows grocery stores to play a role in the digital relationship with consumers. With click-and collect, shoppers order food at home and then pick up the items at a brick-and-mortar location. The added benefit for grocery stores is that customers inevitably will need something while they are at the store and will choose to make a pass through the aisles. Grocery stores are also changing the layouts of their stores to adapt to click-and-collect. For instance, new layouts include placing a pharmacy or prepared-meal counter near the click-and-collect pick-up locations to create added convenience for customers.

Self-scanning devices: Customers are busy, and the allure of bypassing a busy checkout lane for a self-scanning device is a powerful draw. Many customers like the control that self-scanning gives them over their shopping by offering them a rapid and efficient conclusion to their shopping experience. 

Videos at checkout: One checkout development that might increase throughout the industry is the checkout video screen. With these, companies can advertise to customers while they wait in line, and retailers can place store announcements and other store-promoting content in the rotations. Grocery stores can factor the information from the checkout videos in with revenues to figure out if it the videos being shown are having an impact on sales.

Events and ambiance: A trend consumers are latching onto is the idea of grocery stores as dining destinations, such as restaurant areas at Whole Foods and Costco, where shoppers can go to enjoy a meal with friends and pick up a few items on their way out. Some stores are capitalizing on this trend by hosting events, such as tastings or cooking classes, so that people might make a trip to the store for an experience that is separate from grocery shopping. This type of engagement turns the grocery store into a locale for entertainment on par with a restaurant and expands shoppers’ idea of the definition of a grocery store. 

Entertaining the customer is about making them feel relaxed and comfortable. Some grocery stores are experimenting with atmosphere, such as playing music softly throughout the store to help put customers in a joyful mood to shop and enjoy themselves.

Coin redemption: Other types of technology at stores can also help improve the shopping experience for customers. One of these options is coin counting machines. Grocery stores can expand their profits, as well as customer service, with a reliable and easy-to-use coin counting machine at their storefront. With these options, shoppers can stop in to change their coins into cash, and while they’re there, can pick up the few items they might have forgotten from their shopping list the last time they went out.

Through these enhancements and more, grocery stores are changing the way customers view the shopping experience and are improving their businesses as a result. Technology is no longer just an option—grocers and retailers are implementing new and effective technologies with the express goal of increasing the bottom line.

This post is sponsored by Cummins Allison