The way we do business has been unquestionably altered by technological advancements. Technology has revolutionised numerous industries and sectors, including banking, healthcare, and education. Gone are the days when we lugged our shopping carts through supermarkets or stood in long lines at check-out counters; technology is already catching up in the food retail industry and transforming it for the better with such options as self-checkouts
supermarkets have begun improving customer experiences in many ways while simultaneously increasing sales, streamlining shopping trips, and delivering targeted promotions. The so-called ‘digital revolution’ has turned the retail sector on its head, with supermarkets looking for new effective, and creative ways to promote brand loyalty and attract new customers.
Automation is a critical component of the smart futuristic supermarket, as it lowers costs and allows employees to focus on tasks that improve customer experience. However, at the heart of the brick-and-mortar business is a superior shopping experience centred on high-quality fresh produce, delectable food, and satisfying social contact. Join us as we explore the most disruptive innovations in grocery shopping and examine how inventive retailers are setting the scene for the future of food.
In recent years, the use of touch screens in the food retail industry has become more common. From endless aisle promotions to commercial-grade touch screen monitors, technology has improved customer experience by allowing effective display of business information, store displays, and even product discounts and specials.
Internet of Things
As technological improvements influence the way shoppers engage with products in-store and at home, the shopper’s experience is entering a new era. By linking the Internet to everyday objects, the Internet of Things (IOT) embeds digital technology in a wide range of devices which in turn collects large amounts of data about the customer. As a result, any connected object can gather, send, and receive data. The Internet of Things also presents intriguing potential uses for grocery shops, ranging from adding shelving units that automatically monitor inventory to geolocating customers via a smartphone app.
Some companies in the food industry use TempTag, a temperature-sensing tag that helps to keep food fresh and monitor shop supplies. In addition, many   stores across the world use humidity-proof sensors placed in refrigerators and freezer units to monitor temperature and provide store managers with real-time product information. These cutting-edge technologies notify store managers when particular products should be discounted, which helps businesses better manage their sell-by dates, enhance inventory management, and decrease waste.
Virtual and Augmented Reality
Over the last few years, augmented reality (AR) has made a significant contribution to improving customer purchasing experiences. For instance overseas, Walmart’s has released its first app with AR features in 2018. With a simple scan of products, the app provides information such as product name, its price, and star rating. Using these features, employees can simplify daily tasks, quickly locate merchandise and quickly answer customers’ questions. All in all, retailers can enhance their revenue by using AR technology to improve customers’ in-store experience and make in-store navigation easier. 
Getting trapped in long queues has always been one of the most aggravating aspects of the in-store shopping experience. Fortunately, technological advances may soon help us avoid queuing altogether. Sainsbury’s, a British supermarket, is now testing a new service that lets consumers scan products using the retailer’s Smartshop app on their phone and pay for them immediately using Apple Pay. Similarly, Amazon Fresh is also intending to create its own chain of supermarkets that will accept this ultra-fast payment option.
Scan and Go
The latest innovations in ‘scan and go’ technologies hold promise in revolutionising self-service check-outs. The ‘scan and go’ feature on mobile apps and in-store technology eliminates the check-out step between placing items in a customer’s basket. This novel technology helps companies in speeding up shopper experiences to accommodate their busy lifestyles by avoiding costly check-out lines.
Currently, Amazon is upending the retail industry with its latest technology to help shoppers avoid long check-out lines. Amazon Go uses a combination of sensors and machine intelligence to eliminate the need for waiting in a queue. This innovative technology automatically detects what products are taken and returned to shelves, tracking the customer’s items in a virtual shopping cart. When the customer is finished shopping, when they leave the store, their Amazon account is charged for the items they purchased – eliminating the need for in-store check-out. Following the successful trial of their “Just Walk Out” in their first Seattle shop, Amazon plans to open 3,000 stores by 2021 at a cost of $3 billion.
Fast home delivery of goods and services is widely available nowadays. Some retailers are now attempting to take home delivery a step further. For example, Walmart has teamed with August Homes, a smart lock firm, to deliver groceries to customers’ homes, as well as stock them in their refrigerators.
Existing revolutionary grocery delivery services can also be updated with the addition of Rappie, a speedy delivery system. Amazon has next-day delivery, while Albert Heijn, the largest supermarket chain in the Netherlands, delivers within two hours of placing an order. In addition, the Dutch supermarket is experimenting with a delivery service that uses a bicycle courier to deliver the mart’s most popular food-to-go goods in 15 minutes. Dutch supermarkets are two of Rappie’s early users with delivery systems that allow customers to place orders using a dedicated application.
The Use of Blockchain in Supermarkets
Although Blockchain was created to support Cryptocurrencies, this emerging technology presents intriguing possibilities for grocery stores, too. From decreasing food waste, optimising supply chains, or enhancing quality control, Blockchain has the potential to assist retailers by generating safe and incorruptible records of perishable fresh food. In addition, Blockchain also enables businesses to sell fresher, safer, and more affordable foods that customers can rely on.
The Future of Food
Grocery stores can take advantage of an exciting array of opportunities and new challenges as technological improvements transform in-store and online purchasing experiences. Personalised marketing, improved food safety, reduced waste, smarter supermarket shelves, and quicker check-outs are just a few examples of innovations offered by technological advances. Furthermore, these technologies are assisting merchants in attracting new customers and building brand loyalty. It is not surprising that many traditional grocers are now investing in these technologies to remain competitive on the market and provide their customers the best experience.
When it comes to technological developments, especially in the food retail industry, the sky’s the limit. These cutting-edge technological innovations have already revolutionised the market, and who knows what the future may bring in the next 10 years?