Food retail workers have been surveyed about their personal feelings toward AI, robotics and other grocery technology.
Food retail associates are making their thoughts on in-store technology tools known thanks to a new report from Grocery Doppio, a joint venture from Wynshop and Incisiv. The report, dubbed the “State of the Industry: How Digital is Reshaping the Grocery Workforce,” surveyed more than 700 grocery workers about their personal feelings toward artificial intelligence (AI), robotics and other grocery technology amid a changing digital grocery landscape.
Grocery Doppio found that store associates believe in the potential of technology, but they say they don't have the right tools to execute it effectively. While 87% of workers say new technologies can help them do their jobs better, 63% of them experienced technology failure, with 81% saying it impacted their job performance.
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When it comes to poor technology, 73% of associates believe it is due to limited real-world testing, 71% experienced poor connectivity/infrastructure, 59% cited a lack of associate input and another 59% said they received poor training. Overall, Grocery Doppio found that the selection and deployment of new technology needs more input from workers to ensure its adoption and effectiveness.
Meanwhile, though the promise of AI and robotics could save the grocery industry up to $13.8 billion to improve store operations, workers recognize that the technologies could have a significant impact on their jobs. As such, 87% of store associates are worried that AI and robotics will lead to a reduction in workforce.
Additionally, Grocery Doppio learned that there is a growing generational tech gap among grocery workers. Some 74% of Gen Z store associates are dissatisfied with their store technologies, and younger associates, especially those from Gen Z, believe there is a need for more intuitive and advanced solutions. A majority of Gen X and Boomer store associates, meanwhile, say they are satisfied with their in-store technologies.
"Digital is changing the grocery experience across channels," said Gaurav Pant, chief insights officer of both Incisiv and Grocery Doppio. "Store associates have a front row view of what is needed to ensure a smooth shopping experience and to protect customer loyalty. It is crucial that grocers listen attentively to their associates' insights and empower them with modern technologies and tools to optimize operational efficiency and enrich customer interactions."
Charlie Kaplan, chief revenue officer at Wynshop, added that incorporating innovative technology and user-centered design principles of apps used in our everyday lives can vastly improve fulfillment capabilities for grocery workers.