Technology in Stores: Lessons from Food Retail

We all know that technology has the power to completely alter the shopping experience when incorporated physically in-store. Some of the first companies to approach this were those in the food industry – restaurants, quick service chains, and grocery stores. Our panel of experts from the world of food retail discussed how the use of technology in the retail space and online has affected their business, where it’s going, and what to expect in the future.

Speakers:

  • Spencer Saunders, President – Art & Science (Moderator)
  • Lara Skripitsky, Head of Digital – McDonalds
  • Lauren Steinberg, Sr Director Digital & E-Commerce Marketing
  • Ray Reddy – Founder & CEO – Ritual
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How has the use of in-store technology affected food retail?

Early adopters in the space did not care about optics but rather about the features and benefits, whereas late adopters do care about feeling special and getting ahead of the line. As a result, there is a greater emphasis on in store experience and consumer have come to expect a seamless process.

“People feel like they are cutting the line to get their orders and that’s a big deal to a lot of people.” –
Ray Reddy – Founder & CEO – Ritual

Lessons learned and what should other brands keep in mind when launching in store technologies?

1. Choose a straightforward name for your service

You have to be extremely straightforward in communicating what you are doing and it should be really easy for the customer to understand.

2. Allow room for changes

At launch, companies are usually in a rush to get the project implemented. However there needs to be enough room for changes and tweaks.

3. Focus on data

“If I could roll the clock back, I would focus more on data.” –
Lara Skripitsky, Head of Digital – McDonalds

Focus on analytics and tracking the consumer journey. In the long run it will help you measure the success of your business and how the customer journey ties in to it.

4. Staff buy in is critical

It is not enough to just chat with the business owners and staff buy in is critical to success. When things go wrong, it is the staff that can fix it in real time, not the owners.

5. Consider edge cases

“Edge cases are really important and can really impact the customer experience.” – Lauren Steinberg, Sr Director Digital & E-Commerce Marketing

Future of Technology in Stores

Apart from creating more ways for customers to shop, it will become increasingly important to consider omni channel journeys across the digital channels.

“The look, the tone and the feel should be seamless across channels.” – Lara Skripitsky, Head of Digital – McDonalds

Something for business owners to think about: How do you retrofit existing stores to make them fit with digital?

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