High-tech customer service removes friction from the grocery shopping experience and gives supermarket chain Kroger an edge on the competition

Through strategic partnerships and investments in in-store technology, Kroger is aiming to transform the grocery shopping experience, making it more convenient and connected—from digital tools that aid wayfinding and speed up transactions to initiatives that offer in-step access to groceries without having to set foot in a grocery store.

In this excerpt from PSFK's Store Experience Design Debrief, we break down Kroger's key innovations and the tech or retail partners who helped to enable its success:

Kroger partnered with technology company Microsoft to test ‘digital shelves.’ Shoppers using the Kroger app are guided through the store, with the shelves lighting up below the relevant product to help shoppers locate items on their shopping list. The shelves also help store employees fulfill online orders, and Kroger says this ‘pick-to-light’ system cuts the time required to pick items in half.

Kroger’s curbside pickup for online grocery orders is now available in more than 1,000 of its stores across the U.S. (It also launched voice-enabled ordering through the Google Assistant app in several stores.)

Kroger partnered with pharmacy retailer Walgreens to pilot a store-in-store concept called Kroger Express, which will offer a curated selection of Kroger groceries inside a Walgreens test location. They are launched a pilot program that would allow online Kroger shoppers to pick up grocery orders at Walgreens locations.

Shoppers can use a handheld device, provided in kiosks at the store entrance, to scan items as they shop. Plastic bag dispensers are located throughout the store, so shoppers can bag groceries as they add them to their carts. When they are ready to check out, they hold the device up to the self-checkout kiosk to input their order. Shoppers can also download the Scan Bag Go app to scan items with their mobile phones.

Kroger's grocery shopping experience innovations are just one way that leading brick-and-mortar retailers are enabling next-gen customer journeys and breathing new life into the physical store. For more strategies, download PSFK's Store Experience Design Debrief here.