How soon before digital technologies reinvent food shopping?
Hailing it as the “Supermarket of the Future,” Coop Italia, Italy’s largest grocery chain, has opened a store that delivers heaps of information to consumers via smart shelves, interactive food display tables and other digital screens via an IoT, in-the-cloud solution.
Based on designs by MIT professor Carlo Ratti, a conceptual version of the store debuted during Milan’s Expo Milano 2015. Accenture and Avanade – a joint venture between Avande and Microsoft – helped complete the supermarket’s information architecture and create a modular, flexible, cloud-based system stores to support the design.
The concept features:
- Interactive tables: Products are exhibited in the supermarket on large interactive tables where a movement of the hand triggers information to be shown about the product on monitors above, including origins, nutritional facts, the presence of allergens, waste disposal instructions, correlated products (i.e., wine pairings) and promotions.
- Vertical shelving: With a touch-screen application, customers navigate through categories besides shelves of product, filtering and searching for most suitable products, viewing detailed product information and discovering promotions.
- Real Time Data Visualization: A large real-time data visualization screen shows content including Coop’s brand values, special daily offerings, cooking suggestions, social media information including posts on Coop’s Facebook account, top selling products and promotions for each category.
The screen experience is complemented by a mobile app that helps customers navigate the store and also access product information and identify products compatible to their lifestyle needs.
“The outcome was a more natural experience for the shopper,” said John Konczal, director, industry marketing, Avanade, in a Microsoft blog. “Digital tech changed the experience, but the customer didn’t have to do much differently — all they had to do was wave their hand.”
In a YouTube video, Mr. Konczal added that that gaining information on what customers are looking at in real time can be used for merchandising insights as well as in-store gamification efforts.
- Supermarket of the Future Opens its Doors, Coop Italia and Accenture Reinvent the Grocery Shopping Experience – Accenture Consulting
- Coop Italia: Transforming The Customer Experience – Accenture Consulting
- The supermarket of the future: Designing for humans – Microsoft
- The Supermarket of the Future – YouTube
- The Supermarket of the Future – Accenture consulting
DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: Do you still see a future of in-store digital screens even with the proliferation of smartphone screens? How could they complement the in-store mobile experience, particularly in food shopping?