Saturday, April 22, 2017

Technology is the Foodservice Industries Achilles Heel

Playing catch-up is a dangerous game according to Tacoma, WA based global retail foodservice consultancy Foodservice Solutions® Grocerant Guru® Steven Johnson.   When technology giant Amazon announced it plans for Amazon Go (a checkout free, ultra-convenient shopping experience powered through a free-to-use mobile app and Amazon Prime membership) grocery stores, C-stores, and Dollar stores were taken aback. 

Foodservice Solutions® Grocerant Guru® Steven Johnson stated in earlier this year that Mobile Augmented-Reality Save Full Service Restaurants for those willing to move forward with consumers. Regular readers of this blog called or Emailed asking why are they doing that already?  There are other retail innovations could help retailers to stay one step ahead of the game, according to Neil Gowing, EMEA managing director at Trax.  Let’s look at what He thinks:

Whilst still in its infancy, such a disruptive concept is set to change the game for convenience store retailers as Amazon Prime members (of which there are estimated to be up to 80 million globally) and other shoppers will undoubtedly flock to these stores for a speedier and more convenient shopping trip, if not just for the sheer novelty.

However, new technologies are proving equally disruptive and are giving traditional convenience stores the tools with which to compete against new players. According to the 2017 World Economic Forum Report ‘Shaping the Future of Retail for Consumer Industries’, eight new technologies are expected to change the face of the retail landscape. Of these eight, the internet of things, artificial intelligence and robotics are expected to reach “full readiness” within 2-5 years.

Image recognition has already been adopted by big brands and the convenience sector is starting to follow suit. This kind of technology works by capturing images of in-store shelves and uses Artificial intelligence (AI) to analyse them. This can provide a convenience store with a wealth of highly useful data, which can drive category growth in stores through promotion and planogram compliance and reduction in out of shelf/stock. This technology is being used by sales and merchandising staff to provide highly accurate shelf insights, and as an alternative to manual store audits that can be costly, time consuming and prone to human error.

Internet of things (IoT) technologies are also beginning to provide important real-time data for in-store execution. An example of their use can be seen in fridges where IoT cameras, discretely placed behind fridge handles to face the contents, take an image every time a customer opens or closes the door. The images are then automatically uploaded and analyzed to provide real-time data on product spacing and availability, and can alert staff when certain products are out of stock. These technologies can also alert staff when a particular brand is being stocked too often and doesn’t comply with the agreed planogram.

Similarly, robotics will play a crucial role in capturing data across stores. They can be used either once a day for a full sweep of the store between 3-6am, or in between peak times to ensure maximum availability and compliance during the busiest hours of the store. Cameras, fixed on top of mobile robotics platforms taking a full sweep of a store at intervals, can provide constant data about shelf space, product placing and pricing data. This frees up sales staff to make corrections to pricing or spacing and improve product placement, which in turn will improve the customer experience.

So now let me ask you are you waiting and watching to see who will be the next industry leader? What are you testing?  Are you moving with your consumers or monitoring your consumers and customer count decline?
Do your marketing tactics look more like yesterday that tomorrow?  Visit for more information or contact: Remember success does leave clues and we just may the clue you need to propel your continued success. 

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