Kroger is changing grocery shopping as we know it - and it's becoming a bigger threat to Amazon
Hayley PetersonJan 7, 2019, 21:14 IST
Krogeris rolling out a new technology to stores that's designed to make grocery shopping easier than ever before.
The technology communicates with customers' smartphones and uses a series of emoji-like icons to highlight products on their shopping lists as they walk down store aisles, helping them to quickly select items in a sea of identical-looking products.
It also allows Kroger to better manage out-of-stock items and rapidly change prices using digital price displays.
Kroger worked with Microsoft to develop the technology. The companies announced on Monday that they are now marketing it to other retailers globally.
Kroger is rolling out a new technology to its stores that will change grocery shopping as we know it.
The technology, which the company recently rolled out in two pilot stores, 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 digital price tags give 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.
The technology also communicates with customers' smartphones to help them complete their shopping lists.
As customers move through the Kroger's aisles, digital price tags will light up with a personalized icon that signifies an item on their shopping list.
The icon, such as a pumpkin, is selected by the customer and stored in their shopper profile.
Customers can scan items using their smartphones and they place them in their carts.
This allows them to bypass checkout lines when they are done shopping.
The scanning and shopping process can also be completed using a handheld device provided by Kroger.
When shoppers are done scanning an item, the app will show them where to find the next product on their list.
The app will also deliver coupons and ads to customers.
It 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," Kroger Chief Information Officer Chris Hjelm told Business Insider in an interview last year.
The technology was developed with Microsoft Azure, Microsoft's cloud computing service. Kroger and Microsoft announced Monday that they are now marketing it to other retailers globally.
The technology should be particularly helpful to Kroger employees who are picking and packing customers' online orders.
Hjelm said that during a pilot test, the light-up tags drastically cut down on the amount of time it took employees complete online orders.
This should give Kroger an advantage over Amazon as demand grows for curbside grocery pickup. Amazon recently started rolling out curbside pickup from Whole Foods stores.