The world of technology is constantly changing and evolving and it can be difficult for us everyday folk to keep up. Now it seems as if our local grocery stores are getting in on the tech side of life. Each year more and more gadgets and tech our taking over our grocery store; from self check out to no check out at all. The grocery store is changing. With that in mind, here are our 10 Futuristic Gadgets That Are Changing Grocery Shopping forever!
10. Augmented Reality
Many people already use Augmented Reality all the time in their daily life; ok, so it’s mainly Pokemon Go that we’re using it for. Pretty soon A.R is going to be an integral part of our grocery shopping routine. The idea of this new system is to help everyone have a better shopping experience. Using special tracking and computer vision, the A.R will be able to integrate with your shopping list and pick out any dietary or allergy foods you need. It will also guide you around the store in a more efficient way. Plus, if you need to make a recipe, the system will pick out all the ingredients you need and show you where they are in the store. We could well be seeing more of this A.R technology in many walks of life soon. After all, most of us use our phones and apps for most things, especially shopping. Already people write their shopping lists and use coupons within an app, so how much easier would it be to do all that with one single app, plus you get your own shopping guide as well.
If there is one thing that all of humanity has to suffer with, it’s standing in line at the grocery store. We’ve all been there and we all dislike it, but somehow it’s ok as this is a shared experience and we all suffer together, which makes it ok. However, the days of standing in line for seemingly hours on end may well be a thing of the past. A big piece of technology making real waves in the grocery business is QueVision. Rolled out by grocery store giants Kroger in 2012, QueVision is the latest piece of smart tech designed to make grocery shopping a more pleasant experience. Using infer-red cameras, sensors and a predictive analytic systems, QueVision feeds ‘real-time’ information directly to store managers. The information helps the stores determine how many people are in the store at any one time and therefore how many cash registers they need to open. Given enough time, QueVision can actually start to predict what is going to happen on certain days and how busy it should be. The idea of this is that customers shouldn’t have to spend a big part of their day in a line. QueVision will know when it’s busy and the store will already have enough cash registers open to make a shopping run more quickly and smoothly.
8. Scan And Go
Possibly one of the biggest and most exciting innovations that grocery stores are doing right now is the Scan and Go. As we’ve mentioned on this list already, a trip to the grocery store can be a nightmare. With so many people shopping at once, the lines can be insane and annoying. While QueVision may offer some relief, the next big thing that really could help deal with this issue is Scan and Go. Essentially, Scan and Go takes away the need to go to the cashier as you scan the food yourself. Using an app, the customer scans the barcode of the product and then places it a bag or cart. When the shopping is done, the customer can either pay for the groceries via the app, therefore bypassing the cash register and line ups altogether. Or they can generate a single barcode on the app, which can then be scanned into a self-checkout. Whichever way you choose to pay, Scan and Go could really make line ups a thing of the past and actually make grocery shopping a pleasurable experience. Scan and Go isn’t available in every store, but we can’t imagine it will be long before this is rectified and we will all be scanning our own barcodes in the very near future.
7. Smart Carts
So far on our list of gadgets that will change grocery shopping forever, we have mentioned a lot of tech that you can use on your phone to help you with your weekly shop. Now we come to a gadget that the store is providing for you and that’s the Smart Cart. We have all had problems with a shopping cart. Not only is there never a cart when we need one, but when we do finally get our hands on one, we can never steer it properly and the thing has a mind of its own. Not any more. The Smart Cart is here to save us from the ordeal of pushing a broken cart, and it’s also here to help with our shopping too. Each cart is fitted with a scanner so customers can scan the item before putting it in the cart. Much like the Scan and Go app, excepts it’s built into the cart. Just in case you were wondering about foods that don’t have a barcode, such as fruits and vegetables, the Smart Cart has a built-in scale so you can weigh the food as you put it in the cart. The Smart Cart also allows you to pay at your cart so you can avoid line ups and the cashier altogether. The Smart Cart is also loaded with artificial intelligence and machine learning tech that will actually be able to identify the products rather than customers having to scan them. That part of the Smart Cart isn’t available yet, but we are assured that it is coming soon. The Smart Carts aren’t coming to a grocery near you yet as it’s Canadian Store Sobey’s that are introducing this gadget. However, assuming that the Smart Cart does well with customers, we could be seeing this item in most grocery stores soon.
6. Amazon Go
The future of grocery shopping is now. That’s according to Amazon. The internet shopping giants have recently expanded into the real world as they have started to roll out their physical stores across the country. The stores themselves look very futuristic; sleek, black and minimalist, the stores look more like tech boutiques than a grocery store. Just before everyone runs off to check out the Amazon go stores, there are a few things you need to do first. The most important thing is to install their app, as you can’t even enter the store without it. Then you have to log into it, and set up an account if you don’t already have one, then you are good to go. The store has a fancy turnstile that you must scan with the app in order to get in, and then everything inside the store is closely monitored by cameras and tracking technology so it knows exactly who is in the store and what is going on. It also keeps tabs on what you are putting in your basket and what you put back. The selves are covered with sensors so the store knows exactly what product you have picked up and can charge your account accordingly. That all sounds super futuristic but the main selling point from these stores is that there are no lines what so ever. There aren’t even any cash registers. When you have done your shopping, you exit through the turnstiles, which scans your app again, and then Amazon just charges the shopping to your card or bank via the app. Having tested this system out extensively, Amazon assures us that this technology works and is, therefore, the future of shopping. The popularity of these stores is growing rapidly, so much so that Amazon is opening more and more across the country.
5. Kroger and Microsoft
That’s right, one of the U.S’s biggest grocery chains and one of the world’s biggest tech companies are getting together to make grocery shopping an around better experience. The idea behind this partnership is to wage war on Amazon. While Amazon is one of the biggest internet companies, they have now ventured into the real world with their Amazon Go store. Microsoft and Kroger aren’t going to stand for this. In order to compete with Amazon, Kroger and Microsoft have come up with store ideas that will revolutionize the way we shop. The basis for the new stores is actually very similar to Amazon Go but with a few extra tricks. Adding a ‘Scan and Go’ element to their store, customers will have a guided tour around the stores, as well as being able to scan their own products and pay for them in the app. On top of that, these stores will also use high tech advertising and personalized shelf signs to help the customers complete their shopping. The selves are covered in sensors and cameras that can convert the digital signs into relevant information. It can also give detail information about a product such as; price and details about the product’s nutritional value and origin. As these digital signs are linked with the app, they can also be used as advertising tools and can target specific products based on the customer’s demographics and shopping history.
4. Warehouse Robots
if you are like us, then you probably watched a lot of science fiction movies as children. More often than not, in those movies robots would rise up and take over the world. We may be a long way off that actually happening, but the robots have started to take over our grocery stores. Maybe this is their plan; to infiltrate our shopping habits and then strike when we are unaware? Maybe that’s how it will all start? Until that day, we turn our attention to the grocery store warehouse. With online orders becoming big business, it can be difficult to keep on top of so many orders. There is a solution, however, robots. British online delivery company Ocado has thousands of busy robots packing grocery orders at their warehouse. Using air traffic control technology, the robots move along a grid, communicating with each other and even self-charging for maximum efficiency. The use of robots in this way speeds up packing time and therefore they can have a much faster turn around when it comes to ordering and deliveries. U.S retail giants Kroger is looking to use this technology in their warehouses too and have made a partnership with Ocado to bring the robots to the U.S.
3. Instore robots
As we have just mentioned, a big gadget that is changing grocery stores is robots. These robots are not just content with staying in the warehouses to pack our groceries. No, they are now moving into stores and are coming face to face with customers. There are in fact several companies using several ‘robots’ in their stores. However, it’s the ‘googly-eyed’ robot that is grabbing all the headlines. This robot is being let loose in stores across the country.The robots scan the shelves to see which foods need re-stocking or re-ordering. The other duty these googly-eyed robots, who is actually called Marty, will have is to warn customers of hazards and spills. It then notifies the staff to come and fix the problem. So, it basically rolls around the stores making sure everything is ok and everyone is safe. That’s a good robot. While these in-store robots are being seen more and more, they do have limited functions at the moment. However, we are sure it won’t be long before they are being programmed with more complicated duties., and who knows, maybe Marty and friends will one day be running the entire grocery business.
Nanotechnology is one of the great sources for all science fiction and now it’s coming to food. Nanotechnology is the science of the very small and is measured in billionths of a meter. The nanoparticles are on similar scales to viruses and proteins. While using nanotech in food isn’t a new thing, particularly in foods that have both a lot of oil and water. Mayonnaise, for example, uses this as water and oil doesn’t naturally mix. However, food sciences are starting to go further and using nanotechnology to manipulate the food in order to create a specific taste or texture and even reduce the fat content significantly. They are also looking into reducing salt grains by a thousand times, which increases the surface area and makes the food need less salt without losing any flavor. Nanotech isn’t just going into making food healthier and more sustainable, it is also going into the packaging. It could cut the use of harmful packagings, such as plastics, significantly. There is also research going into the packaging being able to change color if the food has gone bad.
1. Self Driving delivery
Grocery delivery has had a big boom over the last decade or so. Being able to order your weekly food from your favorite grocery store online, has been a revelation. Or at least it was years ago. With the speed that technology moves, online grocery shopping seems a little dated. That is until the groceries start driving themselves! A lot of Grocery stores, Kruger, Walmart, and Amazon, in particular, are testing out self-driving cars. With companies such as Ford and Baida involved, the quest for the ultimate self-driving delivery vehicle is on. While these companies are pushing forward with fully computerized driving, most vehicles do actually have a driver inside. Known as ‘safety drivers’ these people are there just in case anything goes wrong and they can jump in and take control. Not only are companies trying to get ahead with self-driving deliveries but some are actually trying for self-driving grocery stores. The mini grocery stores drive themselves around and can be called via an app, a bit like uber. Once the vehicle arrives, customers open the door and take what they need. In a similar vein to the Amazon Go stores, only much smaller, the vehicles and shelves have sensors and cameras so it knows what you’ve taken, then you get charged via the app and a receipt is emailed to you. The future of grocery shopping looks like it won’t even have us going to the store as the store will come to use.