There’s no doubt that demands on grocers to differ- entiate and compete are evolving at a rapid rate, and food assortment aside, factors such as tech- nology, equipment efficiency, sustainability and store design can make or break a retailer. To help grocers navigate the winding roads to- ward the future of grocery, WGB enlisted leading industry experts to share their observations on the foremost equipment and design topics that have
been leading the conversations this year. From those interviews, nine categories emerged, each of which play a critical role in a store’s overall success and productivity.
Cashierless Is Coming Fast
More and more retailers are adopting scan, bag and go
concepts, but Andrew Swedenborg, director of business
development for Fort Worth, Texas-based design firm Paragon Solutions, believes the technology may be on its way
out before it’s even begun. Store concepts such as Amazon
Go demonstrate a future in which technology could analyze what’s in a customer’s basket and allow them to check
out right on their smart devices.
Swedenborg equates scan, bag and go to MySpace before it was overshadowed by Facebook in the early 2000s.
TRENDS TO WATCH
Despite the buzz around scan, bag and go, Swedenborg
believes that, at a certain point, “people are going to yearn
for that next technology because the scan and go is not that
Adaptable, Multitasking Equipment
Retailers must always think of the purchase of new technology and equipment as a long-term investment, says
Guy Dille, retail business area leader and N.A. service
business development for Columbus, Ohio-based kitchen
equipment manufacturer Mettler Toledo. One way to ensure long-term profitability is to look for equipment with
multiple uses, such as weighing technology that can run
a playlist on its scale’s customer display or deli board for
in-store marketing while it manages a take-a-number program, Dille says.
“A centralized software platform and distribution can
reduce the cost and time of servicing your technical infrastructure and helps ensure scale alignment across your enterprise,” he says, pointing out that this type of technology
is gaining traction in grocery in tandem with the advent
of nutrition labeling regulations that will go into effect in
2020. Such a centralized system makes it far easier
for retailers to remain compliant with federal and local standards with functions such as seamless notifications to managers and efficient problem-solving
that may have otherwise been overlooked.
Markus Glueck, EVP for kitchen equipment
manufacturer Rational North America, Rolling
Meadows, Ill., says flexible and efficient equipment
can also help grocers keep up with changing diets,
flavors and food styles. “They should look for one
piece of equipment that can adapt as new concepts
Experts weigh in on retail equipment and design breakthroughs
and share predictions for the future. By Rebekah Marcarelli
Year new nutrition labeling
regulations will go into effect