Hannaford Tests Technology for More Interactive In-Store Grocery Shopping
Northeastern chain Hannaford Supermarkets is testing new grocery technology at a store in Portland, Maine, to provide shoppers with a more interactive in-store experience, the Portland Press Herald has reported.
The Scarborough, Maine-based banner is piloting such innovations as digital displays, touchscreens and shelf-level sensors to help promote specific categories and drive additional sales by offering a more convenient shopping experience, the news outlet said. The technology all serves a newly redesigned section of the store near the pharmacy, focusing on health, beauty and active-lifestyle products – each category bearing its own unique color (green for lifestyle, blue for health, yellow for beauty).
Among the new and redesigned elements are:
- Shelves extended to a much greater height and featuring an additional 1,500 SKUs, which emphasize natural and organic products
- New end caps featuring locally made products
- Special curved shelves to indicate where organic goods are placed
- Semitransparent LED displays in some cold-storage cases to show ads for products inside where the glass display windows used to be
- Sensors on certain shelves to determine which products get pulled off shelves by shoppers, along with tablet screens to display detailed information about products taken from shelves
- A touchscreen kiosk that lets customers search for information on off-the-shelf medications and supplements, or instantly receive information on products to help treat a health condition after typing in its name
Also new is an in-store nutritionist to provide customers with product advice, the Press Herald noted.
Hannaford arguably is setting the scene for what more grocers likely will be adopting in the new year: new technologies that improve the physical experience through digital tools. Among five of the key grocery technology advancements that Progressive Grocer predicted for 2019 is the further bridging of the physical and digital within stores.
Late last year, Mark Hardy, CEO of Chicago-based InContext Solutions, said that the first thing grocers must do in this space is stop thinking about digital and physical commerce separately, a perspective usually driven by their internal corporate structure.
“Retailers need to look at the commerce experience from the eyes of the shopper, where there is no division between the two, and look to facilitate the easiest and most engaging path to purchase,” he noted.
Hannaford Supermarkets operates more than 180 stores and employs more than 27,000 associates in Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New York and Vermont. The company is a division of Quincy, Mass.-based Ahold Delhaize USA, No. 4 on Progressive Grocer's 2018 Super 50 list of the top grocers in the United States.