Groceryshop 2021 offered a wide window into the cutting edge of retail technology. As always, the show floor offered an exciting mix of small startups and established industry leaders.
During the first days of the show, a few clear trends emerged.
1. NPS, Personalization, and convenience become increasingly important
This was a theme that came through in many talks like that by Chris Rupp at Albertsons, Larry Liu at Weee! And Yakir Gola at GoPuff. Whether it was through offering customers more of the products they love, doing a better job of personalizing to customers, being closer to the customer through having stores in more geographic locations, or delivering to customers faster, it was clear grocery retailers are putting a focus on increasing customer satisfaction and convenience, both through classic approaches and new ones enabled by technological advancements.
Retailers want to make shopping a more personalized, more convenient, and more delightful experience no matter how you interact with their brand be it on the web, on an app, or in-store.
2. Buy Online Pick-up In Store (BOPIS) is here to stay
In their speaking sessions, Doordash and Target made their focus on BOPIS and delivery options clear. As more brands rush to add these options to their eCommerce experiences, consumers will expect them, making them table stakes in the digital transformation arms race.
Many assumed the rise of these technologies were due to consumers working to reduce possible Covid exposure, but the reality is that these technologies offer consumers flexibility that traditional shopping experiences lack and their demand isn’t going away.
According to Insider Intelligence, BOPIS will account for around 10% of retail eCommerce sales in 2021. This makes it more likely that pick up options are no longer a “nice to have”, providing a strong middle option between delivery and in-store shopping, and blurring the line between e-commerce and brick and mortar.
3. Robots and mechanical automation becoming more accessible
It is nearly impossible to look in any direction on the show floor and not see a company that deals directly with automation, one way or the other.
Automating the physical processes in store and at the warehouse is on the forefront of many retailers’ minds. Once, this sort of technology was accessible only to the likes of Amazon, but that’s starting to change. Not only are industry giants constantly looking for ways to get an edge on the competition, but as the cost of automation decreases, smaller retailers are getting in on the trend.
AutoStore made a big splash with their live demonstration of warehouse robots on the show floor. Being able to show the speed and efficiency of the picker bots live made their booth one of the centers of attention on the show floor.
Caper drew plenty of attention, offering automated, cashierless retail checkout options. As customers get more used to automated cashierless experiences, these types of products will quickly become a common sight in stores.
4. AI has come to eCommerce
It’s no surprise that retail companies are becoming more aware of the dramatic impact that AI technology can have. What is surprising are the number of exhibitors on the show floor based around eCommerce AI technology.
From purchasing and stocking for eCommerce sites, to setting prices, and (hint hint) product search and discovery, AI-based solutions popped up everywhere. Here are a few that impressed:
- Eversight helps retailers adjust their pricing and offers automatically using customer purchase data and AI algorithms. Their system allows for dynamic pricing in eCommerce, and smarter, data-informed pricing in retail storefronts.
- Constructor.io’s $55M Series A announcement was still making waves on the show floor. Constructor’s AI-based eCommerce Product Search & Discovery offers huge value to retailers in grocery and beyond.
Find out more about Constructor.io
Constructor sits at the center of many retail trends including AI, automation, and BOPIS shopping options. Our platform uses clickstream data to organize products for conversion and optimize for the KPIs that matter most to you.