Kroger plans to add high-tech digital shelf displays to nearly 200 US stores by the end of 2018. Their new “Kroger Edge” displays are placed right where paper pricing tags are usually found on shelves. The digital screens display the price of an item, its nutritional information and any promotions related to the product.
Their new shelf displays are currently being tested in select stores but the displays only interact with a hand-held Kroger device. When Kroger Edge is officially launched, the technology will work hand-in-hand with a specialized Kroger app that consumers can download on their phones. The app will alert shoppers if a product on their shopping list is located in an aisle they are walking down. The shelves and the app will work together to highlight products that compliment each customer’s dietary needs and alert them about products that have ingredients they are allergic to.
“If you are standing in front of nutrition bars and you are gluten-free, we would highlight for you, in your color of choice, which of the gluten-free bars are good for you,” said Chris Hjelm, Kroger Chief Information Officer to Business Insider.
If successful, Kroger will be able to update the prices of their products as well as activate any promotions in its stores electronically. This enables Kroger employees, who would otherwise update each item by hand, to focus on other tasks like ensuring stock levels and maintaining customer service.
Once complete, the technology will be able to interact with customers and guide them in finding items on their grocery lists. As a customer walks down an aisle in Kroger, the shelf screen below a product on their list will light up, therefore helping them find their items faster and allowing them to have a more convenient shopping experience.
“If you are looking for a particular bottle of wine, Edge will show it to you by highlighting it on the shelf,” Hjelm said.
Currently in the test stores, customers are able to communicate with the technology using Kroger handheld devices. According to Business Insider, Kroger will be implementing Kroger Edge in 200 of their stores, but most displays will be at the end caps of aisles (displays at the end of each aisle).
With consumers becoming more technologically savvy, Kroger’s innovative technologies will help the company stand out in the brick-and-mortal retail space. However, the company plans on marketing their new Kroger Edge system, which was developed with Microsoft Azure, to other retailers in the future.