Kroger is attempting to revolutionize the grocery shopping experience through their new technological innovation called “smart shelf.” “Smart shelf” is a technological system that supposedly can “tell you where the nearest item is” from your grocery list. This system allows shoppers to see exactly what they are looking for on electronic shelves that light up on the products they are looking for.
“Smart shelf” offers the average shopper three major advantages to its features: simplicity, convenience, and personalization. This innovation will simplify how people shop in the grocery store. Now, we have to scan through the numerous shelves in order to find the one item we are looking for. With “smart shelf” the system will pick up which item you are looking for and the electronic price tags will light up for the specific item and the multiple brands that make that product. It also provides convenience because since our every day lives are very active some times going to the grocery store needs to be a quick trip and you do not have the time to waste on finding everything the old fashioned way. The electronic price tags also help with this because of the big numbers and bright colors they are implementing helps to grab shopper’s attention. Finally, “smart shelf” assists in personalizing the shopping experience to each individual shopper, such as dietary needs like gluten free products or on-shelf reminders. According to the article, in trying to test on-shelf advertising they displayed a reminder to purchase baby wipes near the diapers. This caused their sales on wet wipes to increase significantly during this trial period.
Although “smart shelf” is an attainable futuristic idea in revolutionizing grocery shopping, there are some things that remain unclear with this new innovation. Kroger has made it clear that they do not wish to discuss their ideas on expansion, they are also neglecting to discuss how this technology will actually work with customers. I think it’s important that the customers understand how this system will be interacting with them as they travel down the various aisles to select their groceries. One problem that can occur with this system is having multiple customers in the same aisle, how will the shoppers know if the price tags are lighting up for them especially if shoppers are looking for the same items. Also, Kroger needs to keep in mind the age range of their customers so that “smart shelf” is customer friendly for shoppers of all ages. This also applies to customers who may be visual or hearing impaired.
Although “smart shelf” is only in the test phase in a few Kroger locations, it will change the way people view shopping and the grocery store forever if implemented and designed properly.