Tech lets shoppers say ‘Optimize Me’ when ordering groceries
The line between digital and physical shopping continues to get fuzzier.
At NRF’s “Big Show” last week, Cisco showcased a concept called “Optimize Me” within its fictitious Stop, Shop & Go store.
Rather than the shopper buying everything online and picking it up in store (BOPIS), this scenario allows the shopper to save items in a grocer’s smartphone app as they go about their regular activities. They add items to a virtual shopping list as they think of what they need and then select “optimize me” within the app when they are ready to head to the store.
Using artificial intelligence (AI) technology, items purchased before and marked as favorites in the shopper’s profile are picked by store associates and placed at a designated in-store pickup area, while those products never purchased before remain in the shopping list. For those, customers go to the shelf to browse and select the items they prefer. The physical locations of these items are displayed on the shopper’s smartphone via a store map using location-based services. The customer still goes through the purchase process at the store (scan and go, self-checkout, traditional register, etc.), but they don’t have to trek through the store to pick up refill items.
An alternative approach to digital/physical shopping is soon to be available from Stop & Shop (owned by Ahold Delhaize USA), which plans to offer driverless vehicles that bring shoppers groceries when summoned by an app. The test should launch in Boston in the spring and the vehicles from startup Robomart Inc. will offer a selection of produce, meal kits and convenience items.
Customers request a visit from the nearest Robomart vehicle. When it arrives, they go outside, unlock the vehicle and make their selection from the shelves inside. The vehicle’s RFID and computer vision “grab and go” technology records the purchase, charges the customer and e-mails them a receipt. Mark McGowan, president of Stop & Shop, said the chain is leveraging this technology to “bring the store to them (customers).”
- NRF 2019 Key Takeaways to meet Consumer Expectations – Cisco Blogs
- See What DevNet Has In Store for the Retail Industry – Cisco Blogs
- Stop & Shop Brings On-Demand, Self-Driving Grocery Stores to Consumers – Stop & Shop/Globe Newswire
- Stop & Shop is planning to roll out small ‘driverless grocery stores’ in the Boston area – The Boston Globe
DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: Will optimizing a customer’s order and setting regularly ordered items aside make BOPIS easier for the shopper and the retailer? Will bringing a selection of items to the shopper by driverless vehicle pan out?