Why You Need These Top 5 Features of the Future Grocery Store Now


Running a successful grocery today is more than just a milk-and-bread endeavor; it takes an immersive, consumer-focused approach that extends well beyond brick and mortar.

Consumer behavior and a digital culture are driving new expectations. It’s no longer okay to have just the basics; now there’s Starbucks while you shop and self-serve checkout lanes. It’s not ridiculous to expect robot concierges and drone deliveries in the not-so-distant future.

But what’s really making the difference in retail are digital, omnichannel features. And the common tie between these elements is the network. The grocery network must be so much more sophisticated to support the advanced technology that makes things like omnichannel experiences possible. Elements like machine learning, AI, data analytics, and advanced wireless must work together to keep everything running naturally and securely.

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Only 15% of retailers have even one of these elements already in place, according to Supermarket News. But 68% of consumers in APAc and 58% in Europe are advocating for immersive technology experiences in retail. It’s expected that 33% (or 110 million users) will have an AR experience in the US as they shop by the end of 2023.

How many elements do you have already? And which do you still need of these top 5 elements of the grocery of the future:

  • Omnichannel Customer Service: This is where online and physical combine to provide a wholly immersive connection with and fluid experience for the shopper. Interactions and transactions will happen even before they leave their home. In the future, we can expect the shopping experience to regularly extend to at-home tools like an online shopping list that connects to the in-store aisle stock levels. This keeps the consumer in tune with the store well beyond the physical and gathers data for the grocer to help determine things like inventory levels and interest.
  • Click & Collect: Consumers can now order ahead everything from their Starbucks order to their movie snacks before even getting out of bed. This is the Click & Collect culture of convenience that has been surging post-pandemic. Although it’s dedicated brand mobile apps that create the order, the store network is the one making the connection between customer and store. The customer swings by to get their order while intelligent data analytics collect their own information about things like shopping habits, repeat items, and dietary preferences. This level of customer service builds brand loyalty on the customer side and replaces impulse buying revenue on the business side.  
  • Micro Fulfillment Center: Today’s pickers will be replaced by a completely automated dark store where robots zoom through online orders in an efficient dance of order fulfillment. Your workers can focus on more human interactions and customer service, your regular store aisles will be more open for shoppers, and the network will have a snappy dedicated focus for e-commerce.
  • The Digital Shelf / Electronic Shelf Labels: Network-powered digital labeling will replace the manual print and labor-intensive replacement of labels in most stores today. Not only can these electronic shelf labels (ESLs) be remotely changed through a single digital dashboard, but they can also be set up with AI sensors that report back through the network about low inventory or out-of-stocks. When you think of things like local pricing variations and promotions, the possibilities are endless.
  • Frictionless Checkout: Although this gained fame during the pandemic with the hyper-focus on contactless transactions, the business benefits of this approach have contributed to a continual rise in usage. Some stores like Walmart have minimized their human cashiers in favor of self-serve checkouts and use the Extreme-powered Fast Lane app for integration with the store app. McDonald’s is even dabbling in a fully contactless, AI-powered robot drive-thru. For grocers, this means using cameras, RFID, and transaction-based technologies that need a robust network to run smoothly and accurately.

Many of these features are already sprinkled throughout grocery stores today, but the grocery of the (near) future will have them all. This is where a network powered for tomorrow’s retail experience will be necessary.

It would make sense to assume that a store network that can handle all of these complex features would have to be equally complex. But we believe a good retail network is so sophisticated, it becomes beautifully simple to manage. Cloud management, intuitive dashboard features, automated tasks, and fabric-woven unity makes everything come together in a fluid flexibility and reliability. This is the network that Extreme alone offers.

It simply means you can get started on building a network powered for next-level grocery today.

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About the Author
Natasha McNulty
Senior Content Strategist

Natasha McNulty is a Senior Content Strategist for Extreme Networks specializing in K-12 education, higher education, and retail. Captivated by connections of any kind, she strives to uncover the human side of every story.

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