Shopping for groceries has always been a necessity, but the process hasn't changed in decades. The stores may have grown in size and glitz, but the basic concepts remained the same: customers entered the store, chose their items, waited in line, and then took them home. However, a push for personalization and customer experience, combined with new technology, has resulted in significant changes in the grocery industry that are just getting started. We'll see significant improvements in grocery shopping convenience and overall experience over the next five years.
In five years, here are five ways grocery shopping will be different:
- After decades of being the same, grocery shopping is getting a makeover.
- Cashierless checkout is being tested in stores, allowing customers to scan items and leave on their own.
- Grocery stores will become smaller and more interactive.
- Real-time data, personalization, and automation will all be possible thanks to technological advancements.
- Customers will be able to pick up items or have them delivered, including the option of using robotic delivery.
Retail without cashiers
Customers will be able to browse the store for the items they want and then leave without having to wait in line. Cashierless retail has already been implemented in some stores. Some stores go even further, picking out the items or having them delivered after the fact, so customers aren't burdened with bags. Human employees can focus on assisting customers, keeping the store clean, and providing a personalized customer experience with cashier-less retail.
Shopping with a Difference
Grocery stores will place a greater emphasis on experiences rather than products. Grocery stores will compete on the overall experience rather than just being a place to buy food, aiming to be a place where people can connect. More services and experiences, such as cooking classes and product demonstrations, will be available in stores. Customers will come to see what the store has to offer as well as get their groceries, rather than just for the products. Grocery stores will also be smaller, focusing on product quality rather than quantity, with many brands specializing in niche markets.
Personalization and real-time data
Customers are accustomed to personalized offers and recommendations from a variety of businesses, and this trend will soon extend to the grocery. Customers are able to create a cohesive shopping list that is automatically shared with the grocery store for real-time personalization as soon as they arrive, thanks to the integration of smart devices. When a customer walks into the store, they'll get real-time updates on promotions for items on their wish list, as well as targeted offers based on their demographics, location, and even the weather. Personal pricing combined with digital shelves will take personalization to the next level, allowing retailers to change prices in real-time while also displaying promotions and dietary information.
Artificial Intelligence and Automation
As much AI and automation as possible will be used in grocery shopping in the future. In stores, AI will take the form of robots roaming the floor, assisting customers, and keeping track of inventory. Robots will fulfill orders and deliver packages on the backend. Order fulfillment and stocking the shelves will be automated to the greatest extent possible. AI and automation will create a more seamless supply chain experience, allowing customers to get exactly what they want, when they want it, without having to waste time on unnecessary steps or items.
Options for Delivery
Customers used to have no choice but to go to the grocery store and shop for their own groceries, but that is no longer the case. Almost every major supermarket chain has already implemented pick-up and delivery services, which will be fine-tuned in the coming years. Shoppers are able to order groceries online, via a mobile app like Vocally, or via voice commands, and receive them in the most convenient manner for them, such as picking them up in the store, having them delivered in person, or having the items delivered to their doorstep. Orders could be fulfilled in minutes or hours rather than days with robotic delivery.
Grocery stores are racing to innovate and update the shopping experience, and the future is already here. We'll see major changes in the next years to make grocery shopping more enjoyable and convenient, but most importantly, a customer-centric experience.