It’s no secret that retail has had a tough couple of years recently, but it looks like the tide is turning, and better days are ahead. Despite inflation, grocery retail remains strong, and a large part of the return to normalcy is due to investments in tech. In fact, Amazon recently announced that it plans to double down on its efforts to bring its Go stores to more shoppers, and Amazon’s Fresh stores will also be debuting in more markets.
Convenience Technology Plays a Larger Role
At the heart of the technology boom in retail’s comeback story is convenience. Shoppers returning to stores after the direct-to-consumer trend fizzled out and Covid restrictions eased are looking for a new type of shopping experience. This new experience blends the convenience of online shopping with the immediate gratification of in-store purchases.
Going back to Amazon, the company has been using innovative scanners, cameras, and machine learning systems in its Go and Fresh stores to allow customers to make purchases without visiting a point of sale. In addition, convenience retailer Circle K has implemented touchless self-checkout systems made by Mashgin, allowing customers to place purchases in a scanning station, pay the total by tapping a credit card, and then walk out with the purchases.
What Does This Mean for Grocery Retail?
Grocery retailers are paying attention to the impact of innovative tech on the customer experience. Many stores have already implemented self-checkout options, but some are now investing in retail marketing systems that incorporate engagement strategies. Some of these systems provide shoppers with live information upon picking up a product, while others help shoppers navigate stores using SMS messaging.
These technologies are more than mere novelties – they are part of a larger retail marketing strategy that is picking up steam. Retailers who plan to stay ahead in the post-Covid return to brick-and-mortar stores need to find ways to connect with shoppers. They must find ways to make the shopping experience the reason consumers walk through the doors. Of course, selection and pricing are still important, but shoppers have learned through the pandemic that they can get products and low prices from multiple retailers. The shopping experience made possible through engagement strategies will win the day.
Connecting With Customers Online
Aside from in-store tech, grocery retailers are also increasingly turning to experiential marketing to capture foot traffic, generate word of mouth marketing and increase sales per square foot. Holding an in-store demonstration is an example of a retail marketing solution that connects. When a retailer puts on an in store demonstration, the retailer can connect in ways that traditional retail marketing cannot.
Where the tech comes into play is the promotion of user-generated content. This is content that shoppers can create and post on social media to boost WOM marketing opportunities in the digital space. For example, an interactive showcase featuring a demo of products using interactive elements involves shoppers, making a significant impact. In addition, when shoppers share their experiences online through posts, pictures, and videos, retailers receive more attention for their store experience than just their prices and selection.