News Feature | March 10, 2017

Creating Interactive, Digitally-Focused In-Store Experiences To Keep Customers Happy

Christine Kern

By Christine Kern, contributing writer

Omni-Channel At Kroger

How Kroger has upped their game with technology.

Kroger, the largest supermarket chain in the US, has recently deployed advanced technology in response to consumer demand for more digitally interactive in-store experiences. The technology will  up their in-store experiences and provide real-time store analysis and highly personalized offerings at brick-and-mortar locations.

Kroger is using data algorithms for scheduling in real time, has a mobile app that can push relevant digital coupons based on shopper habits, and is introducing sensor-laden interactive shelves that can detect shoppers’ smartphones in aisle and push pricing and product suggestions.

Chris Hjelm, Kroger’s chief information officer, told the WSJ, “We want to bring technology to life in the store.”

This blending of tech and brick-and-mortar is a direct response to consumer demand for more interactive, digitally-focused store experiences. According to the Walker Sands 2016 Future of Retail Study, two-thirds of shoppers say push notifications from retailers or in-store mobile tracking could improve their in-store shopping experience. Though only  6 percent of consumers have used in-store tech through beacons, 61 percent indicate they would opt into this in-store experience if incentivized by additional offerings like discounts, indicating Kroger is on the right track to meet ever-changing customer expectations.

Kroger has also implemented their “Scan, Bag, and Go” platform, as Hjelm described. “We have Scan, Bag, Go, which is a shopping solution where you use a wireless hand-held device and scan items. You bag them as you go, the way you want them bagged. Then you stop at checkout to pay and we send you on your way. I shop that way a lot. It’s in about 15 stores around Cincinnati. So with Scan, Bag, Go, we are kind of there. We’re now integrating mobile payment credentials, so you can avoid that last checkout step in the process.

According to Nick Manzo, global omnichannel lead at 1WorldSync, grocery is going to see a major transformation in the next 3-5 years as retailers up the ante with innovative, digitally-focused store experiences. The key for success will be operating on agile operating systems that can easily integrate in-store and online into one cohesive experience.