As Google makes plans for exporting its cashier-free grocery services to the UK, we take a look at the latest news in the Smart Retail sphere. Read on to find out who is currently leading the way in retail tech, and how the IoT is helping to push this fast-moving sector forward in innovative and exciting ways.
Google looks set to turn the retail sector on its head with its new shopping delivery service, Google Shopping Express. It is currently only available in the US, although not for long, according to reports. With payment options such as an annual subscription and home deliveries of shopping from multiple stores, Google is giving customers the freedom to customise their own weekly shop while avoiding supermarkets completely. Could Google Shopping Express and its counterparts such as Instacart eventually lead to a change in traditional stores – transforming them into distribution centres for delivery services and doing away with the concept of the supermarket or grocery store altogether?
Amazon still believes in people’s desire to go to shops, as improbable as that may sound. In its hometown of Seattle, USA, Amazon is embracing bricks and mortar in the shape of a physical grocery store version of Amazon Go. Of course, this being Amazon, the aim is to use tech to minimise queues and keep customer convenience at the top of its priority list. The launch has not been without its teething problems, with reports of issues with the smart camera technology used to track customers and items within the store. However, there are unconfirmed reports that this flagship cashier-free shop could be the first of many to be rolled out by Amazon across the US and even further afield. The kind of tech used by Amazon to make the shopping experience as smooth and stress free as possible includes connected sensors and cameras, smartphone-enabled identity authentication and RFID tagging.
It is still anyone’s guess whether retail will move in the direction Google seems to be taking it – no more trips to the shops at all – or whether it will head towards the Amazon model where we can enjoy shopping in a physical store but without the headache of crowds and queues. The answer is likely to lie somewhere in the middle, although of course only time will tell. One thing is for sure though, the future of shopping is tech. Shelf-edge pricing, digital signage, connected cameras and asset tracking are just the beginning. It could end with automated stock keeping and supply chain management,and same-day, same-hour delivery via autonomous vehicles. We’re certainly excited to see where Smart Retail takes us next.
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