By: Laurie Gethin, Director, Education, Food Marketing Institute

Technology in Grocery StoresFuturologist Alvin Toffler garnered worldwide popularity for his predictions on social and technological progress in society. He accurately predicted the rise of the internet, cable television and consumerism as global trends. Toffler knew then what we’re living now: technology is the great growling engine of change. And this ever-evolving engine continues to run on all cylinders. 

Per FMI’s Digitally Engaged Shopper research with Nielsen, we’re predicting that the grocery industry will reach $100 billion in online sales by 2023.  Seventy-two percent of all shoppers are expected to integrate digital purchasing into their overall food shopping rituals over the next five years.

As technology redefines shopping experiences online, it will also transform traditional store experiences. 

“Brick and mortar stores will continue to survive, but they’ll begin to host significant digital experiences,” said Thom Blischok, Chairman, and CEO, The Dialogic Group LLC, and strategic growth advisor to Nielsen and its clients. 

The influential gamut of emerging in-store technologies captures the eyes of food retail idealists and realists alike. Blischok, who is presenting at FMI’s 2018 Energy & Store Development Conference in September, will outline several ways technology will redefine store development: from interactive, storytelling food labels to mobile quality assessments for perishables that engage consumers as they shop, to even voice activation in-store. 

Blischok added, “Using technology to make the shopping experience easier for customers and offering expertise that helps shoppers understand where products come from and how food can help their health and wellbeing will be the single largest retail differentiator moving forward.”

When it comes to store development and technology integration, Blischok emphasizes it’s important to think about how shoppers will interact with the store. 

“Organize for the short-term and strategize for transformative growth. Think about how to replace mundane tasks, so the store operates more flawlessly,” he said.

It is no longer just about the in-store shopping trip, but about the experience that retail customers have at every touch point of the shopping experience (in-store, website, mobile app, click & collect, chatbots, home delivery, in-store engagement/experience, etc.).

Hear more about Blischok and his session on “Unshackled Grocery Store Designs – 2025” at the 2018 Energy and Store Development Conference