Kroger is rolling out a new technology to nearly 200 stores that could change grocery shopping as we know it
- Kroger is rolling out a new technology, called Kroger Edge, to nearly 200 stores by the end of 2018, the company told Business Insider.
- The technology digitally displays pricing and nutritional information, as well as video ads and coupons for various products.
- It will eventually communicate with customers' smartphones and highlight products on their shopping lists as they walk down store aisles - helping them to quickly select items in a sea of identical-looking items.
- It will also highlight items that match customers' dietary needs if they have allergies or other dietary restrictions.
Kroger is rolling out a new technology to nearly 200 stores, and it could change grocery shopping as we know it.The technology, called Kroger Edge, will be installed on store shelves where paper price tags currently hang. It digitally displays pricing and nutritional information, as well as video ads and coupons for various products.
The technology gives Kroger the ability to instantly change prices and activate promotions across its stores, enabling it to undercut sales at other chains and freeing up employees who would otherwise change prices by hand.
"It's an exciting platform for a lot of future innovation," Kroger Chief Information Officer Chris Hjelm told Business Insider in an interview.
In the future, the technology will communicate with customers' smartphones to help them complete their shopping lists.
This means the shelf will light up underneath the product that shoppers are seeking.Kroger employees recently tested out this function while picking items for customers' online orders.
"They loved it," Hjelm said, noting that it drastically cut down on the amount of time it took to pick and pack the orders.
Kroger expects Edge to be particularly helpful to customers trying to identify a specific brand among a sea of identical-looking items.
"If you are looking for a particular bottle of wine, Edge will show it to you by highlighting it on the shelf," Hjelm said.
The technology can even help customers select items based on their dietary restrictions.
"If you are standing in front of nutrition bars and you are gluten-free, we would highlight for you, in your color of choice, which of the gluten-free bars are good for you," Hjelm said.
Kroger Edge is currently deployed in only a handful of stores. For now, customers must use one of Kroger's handheld devices to communicate with the system.The company is working on developing an app that will enable customers to take advantage of the system with their smartphones.
Kroger Edge will be available in 200 stores by the end of 2018, but mostly in stores' end caps - the industry's term for displays at the ends of store aisles.
It could also start showing up soon in other retailers' stores. Kroger is marketing and selling the technology, which was developed with Microsoft Azure, Microsoft's cloud computing service, to other retailers globally.