Grocery expo highlights tech’s role in ‘unified’ shopping experiences
The technology displayed at groceryshop covered many aspects of grocery retailing — from omnichannel integration to in-store promotions to inventory management to visual merchandising to supply chain management — much including self service applications.
The expansion of e-commerce and the need for retailers to define the right balance between in-store and online customer engagement commanded decision makers’ attention at last week’s groceryshop show in Las Vegas held at Mandalay Bay.
Much activity at the event — which included exhibits, education sessions and one-on-one time slot networking between retailers and product and services suppliers — addressed the rising importance of artificial intelligence in fine tuning customer engagement and operational efficiency.
Presentations focused on ensuring data integration, inventory visibility, flexible order fulfillment, social commerce integration and employee training in pursuit of what some called a “unified shopping experience.”
The technology on display covered many aspects of grocery retailing — from omnichannel integration to in-store promotions to inventory management to visual merchandising to supply chain management — much including self service applications.
Sessions and exhibits alike focused on the rising importance of in-store retail media.
Matt Eichorn, president, CEO and co-founder of Freeosk, which provides interactive sampling kiosks, described in one session how kiosks are gaining a role as an in-store multi-media network.
JJ Fleeman, CEO of Ahold Delhaize USA, noted in another session that the company’s digital media income jumped 70% year over year and should not be considered simply an alternate or separate revenue stream as it strengthens the relationships with consumer product manufacturer partners and aids in consumer discovery.
Following are exhibits offering self-service technology. Companies are listed in alphabetical order.
Aisleworx Media Corp.
Martin Moore presents one of the digicart fixtures displaying digital advertising at the Aisleworx Media exhibit.
Aisleworx Media Corp. presented its “digicart” shopping carts that display digital entertainment for children. The digicarts, positioned at the store’s entrance, allow children to ride in them while the screens play moving videos or still images as the adult pushes them.
In addition to playing digital entertainment, the digicarts allow brands and retailers to run advertising.
Bryan Crum presents the charging kiosk that supports the in-store mobile devices shoppers use on their shopping carts.
The BeyondStore.com solution offers a portable shopping platform that attaches to a shopping cart and allows the guest to view store inventory, place phones, scan product bar codes, navigate the store and make purchases on a card reader.
The customer pulls the mobile platform from a kiosk that holds 25 devices and charges the devices when not in use. The customer then returns the device to the kiosk upon completion of their shopping trip.
The platform’s software integrates with a retailer’s.
Steve Hornyak presents the mobile curbside pickup lockers at the Brightdrop exhibit.
Brightdrop introduced its mobile, temperature-controlled e-commerce fulfillment lockers for curbside pickup to streamline order fulfillment for online grocery purchases.
The “eCart” allows grocery employees to put orders directly into the mobile unit before stationing it curbside for customer retrieval. With access given after digital verification, the mobile unit is compatible with most grocers’ existing online fulfillment apps.
The eCart is more economical than a static locker system and reduces the number of times employees have to touch the products.
Doug Baldasare shows the arc mobile device recharge kiosk at the ChargeItSpot exhibit.
ChargeItSpot, a provider of cell phone charging stations, presented its arc — a centralized mobile device management kiosk that allows retailers to control enterprise devices used by employees.
The company’s mobile device management system includes a self-service touchscreen kiosk with expandable modular locker banks and a reporting and management platform.
Users can access the lockers by scanning a QR code or using an employee badge.
The locker releases the device — be it a smartphone, tablet or handheld computer — with the highest charge and alerts managers when a device has not been returned.
Team members are able to notice device damage and remove damaged devices from the system.
Diebold Nixdorf Inc.
Jerry Langfitt presents the countertop self-checkout that comes in various sizes and configurations at the Diebold Nixdorf exhibit.
Diebold Nixdorf Inc. presented its modular, countertop self-checkout kiosk that comes with or without a monitor and can accommodate a cash rack, a receipt printer and a camera for age verification to meet state age verification requirements.
The versatile size of the unit, part of the company’s Easy Series, allows multiple kiosks to be placed or removed to accommodate varying customer traffic.
The company also presented a model with a weigh tray for produce checkout.
James Malone presents the self-checkout fraud prevention technology at the Dragonfruit exhibit.
Dragonfruit, a provider of shelf stock-out and fraud detection and alerts, presented its “Shelf Scout” that reduces the amount of time an item is out of stock on a shelf.
Dragonfruit leverages Google’s shelf inventory AI tool that enables computer vision to recognize thousands of different products and notifies the retailer of out of stocks via text, email or integrations with other alerting systems.
Cameras on store shelves can cover an 8-square-foot shelf and recognize a stock-out. Employees can also use a megapixel phone or Google Glass to detect what items need to be replenished.
Jeremy Janssens presents the self-checkout kiosk that has an AI powered camera for loss prevention at the Fujitsu exhibit.
Fujitsu presented its Express+ cashless, self-checkout kiosk that couples HP technology with Fujitsu’s U-Scan software.
The kiosk features AI enabled produce recognition software and a camera that captures the product on the tray.
The system automatically identifies items, weighs them and prints a self-adhesive barcode that can be scanned for checkout.
Andy Ruff presents the loyalty rewards offerings at the Givex exhibit.
Givex, a cloud-based provider of retail kiosks, POS solutions, gift cards, loyalty programs and business insights, demonstrated its suite of tools to advance customer incentive campaigns and track success in real time.
The company’s newly introduced “Community Round Up” allows shoppers to make donations to local organizations by rounding up their purchases to the nearest dollar.
Hanshow Technology Co. Ltd.
Sam Overholt presents the electronic shelf label tag technology in a vending machine at the Hanshow exhibit.
Hanshow Techology Co. Ltd., a manufacturer of electronic shelf labels, presented its digital marketing solution, an in-store marketing solution that integrates display signage, intelligent sensors and communication devices.
The solution integrates self-checkout kiosks, smart shopping carts, digital shelves, display screens and electronic shelf label tags that enable remote price changes.
The ESLs are digitally bound to both a product’s SKU and the retailer’s backend pricing management system which allows for remote management of the price and product display information.
The battery powered digital price tags communicate with backend management software via a wireless signal sent through ceiling mounted devices.
Jessica Moore presents the temperature controlled pickup lockers that use QR technology at the Hussmann exhibit.
Hussmann Corp. presented its e-commerce pickup lockers. Retailers deliver a customer’s order to the pickup locker by entering the order information on a touchscreen.
Customers then receive a notification via email or SMS which allows them to retrieve their order via a pin number or a QR code at the touchscreen, prompting the appropriate locker door to open.
Customers can order products online and pick up outside the store or at another convenient location.
Indoor and outdoor options include frozen, refrigerated or ambient applications.
Colin McAleenan presents the temperature controlled lockers for supply chain management at the Phononic exhibit.
Phononic, a provider of solid state cooling technology, presented its freezer and refrigerator totes that enable tri-temperature order consolidation for retailers.
The solid state cooling technology eliminates the need for compressors and refrigerants.
Specialized carts, powered racks and vertical lift modules transport orders and store the freezer and refrigerator totes to where they fit best in the store.
The totes reduce staging time for order fulfillment and provide real-time data that enables continuous improvement.
Dan Richards presents a prototype self-checkout kiosk that uses AI that can scan multiple products simultaneously at the Toshiba exhibit.
Toshiba presented its System 7 self-checkout kiosk that features LED lighting, audio indicators, scan-to-bag placement and accessibility mode options.
The retailer is able to centrally configure and manage the enterprise with actionable reports and alerts that help retailers test, control and optimize the unit to fit their unique environment.
The company’s CHEC software interprets shopper behavior and allows them to self correct common mistakes and supports shopper assistant functions at the checkout lane.
Photos by Elliot Maras, editor, Vending Times and Kiosk Marketplace.
Elliot Maras is the editor of Kiosk Marketplace and Vending Times. He brings three decades covering unattended retail and commercial foodservice.