Supermarkets of the future: Brands modernize, aiming to save time

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What if you spent less time in store doing your shopping? In any case, this is the objective of supermarkets in seeking to become more “intelligent” (technology based on artificial intelligence). Augmented reality overview of these ongoing changes.

Shopping is a task not always appreciated by consumers. Supermarkets have understood this well: they are developing new technologies to make your experience easier. In a large orange-colored store, as soon as you enter the store, your presence is recorded using intelligent cameras. The objective is to allow employees to adapt checkout openings and manage queues in real time.

So that you don’t miss anything on the shelves, the supermarket is also testing another tool. Cameras can identify an empty shelf in seconds and alert employees to restock it. This data is transposed onto a screen in the store’s stock warehouse. Employees then know which shelves need to be restocked as a priority.

Companies in the United States and the United Kingdom are developing cameras capable of anticipating the ripening of products in the fruit and vegetable section. If the product expires, a promotion automatically applies.

Another strategy developed by certain supermarkets: offering more fresh products with a new layout. Fruits, cold meats and cheeses will be found at the front of the store. And speaking of cheeses, it’s not always easy to choose your wine. Software will assist you in your choice. Price, type of meal, type of wine: so many criteria that will allow this software to make suggestions and indicate where to find your bottle of wine. Once your items are selected, you won’t even have to scan them.

Several foreign brands are going even further by developing the connected shopping cart: a sort of automatic checkout on wheels equipped with a scan and a scale to detect products taken from the shelves.

But this store has opted for another technology. The customer still goes to the checkout, but it is not the employee who scans their products. It’s a smart camera. Barcodes are automatically detected. “For our employees, it is much more ergonomic. It also gives our employees the opportunity to be more in contact with our customers and it saves time,” emphasizes Jean Christophe Burlet, regional director of Colruyt in Halle.

Or 20% faster. In this race for efficiency, another brand is testing a new 18 m2 space without staff. All you have to do is enter with the store app or with your bank card. Inside you can choose the desired product. Cameras positioned on each shelf will be able to identify it. “This drink is x grams. So he measured here and what’s more, he saw that I took this. Every time I take a product, he will take a photo of my hand and behind us we have a back office if ever there is a problem, a complaint. At least we can tell you that at such and such a time you have been there,” explains Arnaud Lesne, Innovation Director at Carrefour.

You will then be automatically billed. “The idea is to offer consumers a solution that has finally been available for a long time with local night stores, etc. in which we were not present. We say that today with the technology that artificial intelligence offers us, we may be able to do this kind of store,” indicates Arnaud Lesne.

But this type of store is not ready to become widespread. For the Belgian consumer, physical contact remains important. “That’s the difficulty of technological implementation in stores today. It’s the balance between operational efficiency, that things go quickly and rigorously, and at the same time this warmth of human contact which is still one of the strengths of physical stores today,” explains an economist.

This article is originally published on .rtl.be

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