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What Leading Grocers Are Saying – and Advising – About AI

Upcoming GroceryTech event addresses aspects of AI across food retailing
Lynn Petrak, Progressive Grocer
GroceryTech 2024

AI remains one of the hottest topics of the year, pursued and discussed by stakeholders across most industries, including the grocery sector. A survey from consulting firm PwC revealed that 73% of U.S. companies have already adopted AI in at least some part of their business and more than half are pursuing Generative AI applications. Another survey of retail decision makers conducted by Google Cloud found that 81% feel a sense of urgency to adopt GenAI technologies and 72% are ready to deploy the technology in the next year. 

The question, of course, is how AI and, more narrowly, GenAI, should and will play out in the food retailing business. The upcoming GroceryTech event, hosted by Progressive Grocer at the Marriott Dallas Uptown from June 5-7, will address these and other topics as industry leaders gather to explore solutions for modernizing their technology ecosystems.

While this year’s GroceryTech sessions cover a broad range of tech capabilities, many of the experts convened for this thought-leadership conference will address the use of AI across the consumables chain. Examples include the following:

GroceryTech Bhardwaj

Anshu Bhardwaj, SVP/COO of Walmart Global Technology, kicks off GroceryTech on June 5 with a keynote session on “Emerging Tech and SaaS Technologies.” Early on, Walmart sought to harness the power of AI and it is at the core of the retailer’s adaptive retail strategy. Among other insights, Bhardwaj will share how the retail giant continues to innovate to ultimately improve the customer experience and enhance its own operational efficiencies.

GroceryTech Speaker

Scott Kessler, EVP and CIO at Northeast Grocery, will share his thoughts and experiences related to “Navigating the Grocery Tech Landscape: An Opportunistic Approach to M&A Consolidation and IT Modernization.” During his June 6 session, he will discuss the strategic advantages of adopting an opportunistic mindset when it comes to grocery tech, including embarking on an adaptable journey to AI. 

GroceryTech Speakers

The co-founders of Preferabli, Pam Dillon and Andrew Sussman, will delve into the ways that AI can expand shoppers’ tastes and baskets in a June 6 session on “Using AI to Increase Sales in Wine, Spirits and Cheese." Attendees can learn how leading grocers are using AI to increase sales within these categories and to enhance the in-store and online shopping experience. 

Giant Food Exec

Ryan Draude, head of loyalty and digital at Giant Food, dives deep into this timely subject in his June 7 GroceryTech discussion devoted to the “Use Cases of Artificial Intelligence at Retail.” Draude will share real-world examples and results of AI within the business and look ahead to even more possibilities as the technology – and its users – adapt and evolve. 

GroceryTech Speakers

The large reach and potential of AI within the independent sector of the grocery business will be part of the fireside chat between independent grocers Joe Wood (at left), CMO at Sendik's Food Market in Milwaukee and Robert Thomas (at right), founder and owner of District Market Green Grocer in Houston. Their session on “The Independent Spirit: How Indie Operators Tackle Tech” is slated for Friday, June 7.

Additionally, AI will be a focal point of conversations at the many opportunities for personal engagement offered at GroceryTech. Those opportunities include networking breaks, a Topic Tables lunch hour with real-time collaborative discussions and a Power Hour event allowing for 1:1 introductions with leading grocery peers and influencers. 

In addition to AI, the second annual GroceryTech event, with the theme of “Breaking Barriers to Growth,” will help retail decision makers navigate other aspects of technology driving change in the industry, from retail media networks to electronic shelf labels and more.  Guests will also get a first look at PG’s Grocery Technology Trends Study for 2024.

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