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The Latest Retail Tech News

16 September 2019

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As technology continues to get more advanced, it’s becoming an imperative feature of everyday life.

Not the usual pairing, retail and tech, but it’s definitely one that can work. Technology is something, in this day and age, that we can’t live without. In one form or another, it has wormed itself into every aspect of our living, including where we shop.

Here at Tactical, we love some good retail tech news. In the industry in which we work, it’s always great to see how it evolves in the modern age. With this said, we thought we’d give you some of the latest revelations in the world of grocery technology as it’s probably going to be affecting your life at some point in the future!

Without further ado, here’s what the tech boffins have been up to behind the scenes:

Asda’s new food preservation technology

The tech professionals at Asda have been working on something that has the potential to revolutionise fruit and veg preservation. Asda has recently announced a plant-based  ‘extra peel layer’ which is being trialled in stores in the UK as we speak. Adding a second, peelable layer to produce like apples, asparagus, avocados, lemons and limes helps to substantially extend the shelf life, allowing them to stay fresher for longer.

This is great news for a world that is so concerned by high levels of food wastage, as the peel will actively reduce the need to dispose of expired food you’ve not had chance to eat yet. It also makes packaging obsolete, as well as the use of some pesticides, meaning it will help pave the way for a greener future in the grocery sector, which is always good news.

The peel itself was created by US-based ‘Apeel Sciences’. We won’t go too much into the sciency-bit, but we will let you know that the layer, made from all the good bits from other fruits and veg, creates a naturally occurring barrier which works to prevent moisture, bacteria, oxygen and other aspects that contribute to food deterioration; allowing it to sit in your fruit bowl for much longer. How cool is that!

Tesco launching google assist to help shoppers

If 2019 wasn’t looking extremely futuristic already, Tesco has made it possible for Google Assist users to shop at their store by using their voice.

Not too long ago, Tesco announced their work with platform providers IFTTT to help their customers shop online via their mobile device. Using this existing app, users are now able to link their online account to their Google Assist, enabling them to add things to their shopping list just by asking aloud. The app is a handy bit of tech in itself, but unlocking the ability to work with your Google Assist opens up a world of possibilities. We’ll set the scene:

Imagine you’re pottering around your kitchen, you open the fridge to see that you’re running out of eggs. Instead of trying to make a mental note, which let’s face it will probably be forgotten amongst all the other mental notes, you can just say ‘Okay Google, add eggs to my Tesco basket’ and Bob’s you’re uncle. Great for busy families on the go, and an amazing example of how tech is positively infiltrating the grocery sector.

Sainsbury’s to revert after till-less trials

A change in tone compared to the other news, but this is a prime example of when technology is not always the answer in a grocery environment. For the past three months, at a Central London branch of Sainsbury’s, a trial has been conducted where tills were made a thing of the past.

The trial began back in April, where instead of the taking their shopping to the usual checkout, shoppers we’re able to scan and pay for their shopping as they perused the store, using a specialised app on their smartphone. Those using it would then have to scan a code on exiting the shop, just to confirm their payments, and voila! Just like that, you’re shopping’s done.

Sounds like a doddle, but there were many problems arose during the trial which pushed Sainsbury’s to the conclusion that customers aren’t ready for a totally till-less system quite just yet. Some of the issues that cropped up included:

  • Codes were difficult to scan
  • Customers didn’t want to use/didn’t have the mobile data needed to activate the app
  • Sainsbury’s Wifi was insufficient
  • Many people wanting to use cash/card created long queues

Despite the setbacks, Sainsbury’s were happy to see that customers were excited to trial the new systems but concluded that it needed some work until it slipped into the smooth runnings of the store. With this said, you can still find the trial running in other London stores.

Have Your Say!

What do you think about technology being so involved in grocery and retail? Is it a great help that brings the sector up to speed with an ever-growing modern society, or does it cause more problems than it solves?

Make sure to join in with the conversation on our social media, Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.

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