New Technologies Changing Retail & The Way We Shop

25 Apr,2019

We’re always fascinated to see how the retail sector is adapting and growing here at Tactical Solutions. We thought it was about time we take a look at a handful of new technologies – and how they are changing retail for the better!

Scan-and-go apps for quicker in-store shopping

As the rise of online shopping casts a shadow over the high street and physical premises, brick-and-mortar stores need to do everything they can to retain their consumer base. This rings especially true for supermarkets. All of the big 5 UK supermarkets offer an online grocery service but there will always be a collection of shoppers who prefer to do things in-store. So, what new technologies are retailers offering to entice consumers in?

Click-and-collect has never been easier – it cleverly combines the instant advantage of online retail with the convenience of picking up in store at a time chosen by the shopper.
We’ve also noticed an increase in scan-and-go apps lately. Many Asda stores offer this, as well as Waitrose, Tesco, Sainsbury’s and Co-Op premises’. This is a great solution for UK supermarkets. It gives consumers the freedom and choice of doing a physical shop in-store, whilst giving them a quicker checkout process so they can spend more time doing the things they love.

scan and go app

New types of trolleys to improve supermarket experiences

Taking it up a notch is car manufacturer Ford. The innovative brand has recently launched a prototype of a ‘self-braking’ shopping trolley, under its Ford Interventions series. Take a look at the video they recently published here:

Ford has employed the same self-braking technology they use in their cars to create this prototype. They’re hoping it will appeal to busy parents with screaming kids and single shoppers with a heavy trolley full of groceries – it’s a solution to a problem created by the stresses of modern life. We’re looking forward to seeing this one in stores after its official launch!

In other exciting news, Caper, a US-based start-up, has created a trolley powered by AI. It uses sensors to add items to a ‘virtual basket’ and add-up your total as you shop. The trolley also uses weight recognition, store maps and product recommendations for a quicker and more convenient shopping experience. Rumour has it, this will be coming to the UK in the future after Caper is in talks with a big supermarket here.

art big data blur

Digital SEL trials for streamlined supermarkets

SELs (or shelf-edge labels) are necessary to give consumers the information they need when buying a product. However, they can be pretty annoying for shop-workers who have to change prices and add offers/promotions on a regular basis.

In recent years, digital SELs have been in development. First and foremost, retailers can benefit from lower staffing costs and the ability to remotely change prices. But digital SELs can also offer much more including on-screen customer reviews, ratings and personalised recommendations as a shoppers’ smartphone connects to the store’s system. Sounds exciting!

We actually spotted a trial of these in a Tesco store in Braintree. Take a peek of what they look like here:

tesco digital sel store

In-store plastic packaging recycling

In light of the sustainability debate and countless campaigns for environmental health, it’s no surprise that some of the top UK supermarkets are doing their bit. Tesco has recently launched a trial across ten stores, to test the waters when it comes to recycling plastic packaging in-store.

There have been many public complaints about the unnecessary waste from plastic packaging, so it seems wise that Tesco is stepping up to do something about it. Shoppers can return ‘hard-to-recycle’ plastic materials like crisp packets and shopping bags to any store currently involved in the trial.

It’s a small step, technology-wise, but it’s something we think can be rolled out on a national scale, quickly and efficiently.

Have you noticed any exciting new technologies emerging in the retail sector? We’d love to hear about them! Make sure you follow us on Twitter, Facebook or Instagram to join in the conversation.