From a consumer point-of-view, grocery stopping is fairly low-tech. You push a cart or carry a basket through the store, pluck items off of shelves or from cases, and then check-out, either by going through a line or using the self-check-out system. Yes, the latter is very sophisticated and high-tech, but painfully challenging if you need to punch in the codes for fruits and vegetables, apply in-store discounts or do anything more demanding than pass an item over the SKU-reader.
Unless you have a few items to purchase, most shoppers opt for the low-tech option of having a smiling cashier do most of the work of punching in codes, scanning SKUs, and bagging groceries.
Recently, two companies introduced high-tech innovations, which are designed to make grocery shopping more enjoyable and in-tune with shoppers’ unique needs.
The first bells-and-whistle application comes from Chaotic Moon, which developed a smart shopping cart, which can initially scan your member card, guide you through locating items on your shopping list, scanning and checking each item that’s placed in your cart, and then automating check-out.
The key to the application is the use of the Kinect for Windows software (SDK) and sensor, which can not only verify and account for everything that’s placed in the cart, but enable the cart to follow a shopper throughout the store, stopping, turning, and moving whenever and wherever the user goes. Watch the video.
In South Korea, where shopping needs to be sandwiched between the demands of home, work, and commuting, Tesco, one of the world’s largest international retailers, created virtual storefronts in subway stations. The storefronts enable customers to use their smartphones to scan the QR codes of products, which are then charged to their accounts and delivered to their homes.
To make it easier for customers to shop, the storefronts resemble what customers would find in supermarkets: Shelves of canned and package goods, dairy products, meats, cheeses, and sundries. They simply walk along the photo-realistic shelves and aisles, scanning what they want to purchase.
Check out how Tesco brought “the store to the people” and at the same time, increased their online sales by 130%:
Tesco created virtual grocery stores, which enabled commuters to make purchases by scanning QR codes with their smart phones.