January 31, 2019 Published by CP Voice

Grocery Tech Talk Episode 2: “The year ahead- what’s next?”

Steve Duffy: Hi, Steve.

Steve Blevins: Hi, Steve. I’m Steve Blevins here Cuhaci & Peterson Architects. I’m the digital practice leader.

Steve Duffy: I’m Steve Duffy, and I’m with Cuhaci & Peterson and I lead the overall grocery sector.

Steve Blevins: So, Steve, today we want to talk a little bit about a retrospective of 2018 and see what we think we’ve learned in 2018 and see how that might influence 2019?

Steve Duffy: Yes, we are, Steve. So, we’re going, to just briefly say the watch words for 2018 were change and transformation. We’re continuing the conversation we began in 2018 as we look toward 2019. So many changes occurred.  We outlined in our initial podcast many changes within the overall, what we would refer to this ecosystem within grocery and those elements that are going to be moving the sector forward.

Steve Blevins: And I think from a consumer standpoint, there was a lot of talk, last year about the word frictionless and specifically, you know, everybody’s looking at Amazon with their Frictionless check out. No cashier’s etcetera. So, from a consumer standpoint, I think that’s what they’re hearing at least and have an interest in.

Steve Duffy: That’s interesting, Steve. But while everyone in the U. S looks at Amazon, they’re remiss if they don’t take a look at Asia. So, China leads the way. And a lot of this they have different privacy laws and regulations related around edge computing the differ from USA. But Jack Ma, the Alibaba Group through Hama has led the way. There are many elements of that go beyond just the frictionless process with facial recognition beyond the checkout that are in place there, and key to that is the personal shopping experience. They have different logistics network as well,

Steve Blevins: Right. And I know in China they definitely don’t have the same privacy laws there. So, the government kind of owned your privacy. It’s much different in the States. So, our consumers are really concerned about privacy. So, I think one of the advantages for the consumers hear is we have the edge computing that keeps all the data within the store. And I know a lot of companies here really focused on privacy and keeping the consumer privacy in check. And so that really helps give them confidence that their privacy is not being compromised.

Steve Duffy: As Amazon has announced that they plan to do the 3000 thousand stores, they’re much smaller footprint, at least currently planned. But the driver behind that is going to be mobile technology 5G. 5G isn’t here yet, but it’s coming, maybe a year plus away. So, when these various elements and pieces come into play and are in place, it’s going to truly advance the use of this technology in a big way. Other elements that are behind this from the mobile viewpoint or the use of the Q R codes again, another element that’s used much more significantly in China through the Hama and 7Fresh stores as well.

Steve Blevins: I think consumers are getting more and more used to these devices, you know, like the Amazon, Alexa. There’s a lot of stuff in the home now that I think folks are probably getting comfortable with using that. And so, this IOT piece is expanding. I think that moving that into the store, you know, along with 5G and the increased bandwidth is going to make a huge improvement for control of inventory and control of their facilities.  It’s going to be a tremendous benefit. And I think we’re going to see more and more of that coming into retail in 2019.

Steve Duffy: Another element that we touched on are robotics; robotics are key to the entire logistics and fulfillment of convenience. We’re going to touch on another podcast, the whole notion what we will call the drivers and change. But robotics is crucial not only for the front of house, the interaction with customer, but also the back house behind the scenes logistics to fulfill the convenience and the new experience of shopping so that the consumer not only saves time but money. It’s all about the value proposition with-in shopping experience in elevating that shopping experience.

Steve Blevins: Yeah, yes, I’m looking forward to that, specifically having those options when you go to the stores like just it’s, all about convenience and just having those options of, I can get these things at the store, but other items I can just have them delivered. And I think that’s going to be a tremendous impact on how future consumers shop.

Steve Duffy: So, this sets out the conversation for one of our next podcasts as well before we end up, Steve, I want to just touch on the fact that we were fortunate to be able to do a series of articles for Progressive Grocer. So, within this podcast, as we’re going to provide additional links for those articles dating back to August and December of 2018 and if you have not had a chance to listen to our initial podcast it will be linked as well. So, Steve on that note…

Steve Blevins: Let’s go shopping

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Progressive Grocer: November- Front and Center-Grocers and other food industry figures contemplate the future of center store. 

Progressive Grocer: August-Store of the Future-Reshaping Retail


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