Move aside Amazon Go: Small grocers grab tech by the horns
- Woodman's Market is one of several small grocery stores aggressively pushing the envelope on technology for its customers, reports U.S. News. The store recently added a scan and go capability, where customers can pick up a device and scan product prices as they shop, and then scan the final receipt and pay at the terminal.
- The Madison, WI store also has "rapid checkout" lanes with 360-degree scanners that decrease checkout time by half.
- Grocers say that Amazon's acquisition of Whole Foods increased pressure to step up their incorporation of technology, including e-commerce.
Large retailers aren't the only ones grappling with how to incorporate technology in their processes. While Woodman's Market is on the aggressive end, other grocers are hesitant to introduce new technologies that may be costly and not currently in demand by customers. The spectrum is wide. Some grocers don't yet have a website, while others are introducing e-commerce options.
Grocers who are incorporating technology have customers in mind: the mobile shopping and rapid checkout lane technology can speed customers through their shopping trip — something customers have said they want, yet some grocers indicate a reluctance to push forward. After all, it is an expensive investment, and if customers in smaller markets aren't asking for this technology, will they use it? This strategy is more push marketing than pull, but as customers become more familiar with the convenience, they may soon begin to demand it.
But even as small grocers incorporate technology, they must determine if the cost of implementation and use —one that is more difficult for them to absorb than for a Walmart or Kroger — is worth it.