Seven shifts tracked by PSFK reports that will continue to drive retail, CX and shopper experience innovation over the next decade.
Supermarket chain Wegmans integrates smartphone app Aira into the shopping experience to act as the visually impaired consumer’s eyes. Using the device’s camera, the app connects to a live operator who can view the perspective of the shopper and help them navigate around the store to find the grocery items on their list.
U.K. supermarket chain Sainsbury’s uses lanyards printed with sunflowers to discreetly identify shoppers with hidden disabilities in order to better service them. Store associates have been trained to recognize the lanyards and offer additional aid, such as assisting in finding items or allowing more time at checkout, without the customers having to ask.
Israeli supermarket Shufersal simplifies the grocery shopping experience for the visually impaired and blind customers through a smartphone app called RightHear. The app guides shoppers through the entrance, aisles and checkout with real-time voice descriptions of their surroundings. Through bluetooth beacon technology stationed around the grocer, it directs customers to the exact spot a product is positioned on the shelf.
U.K. supermarket chain Morrisons collaborated with the National Austitic Society to accommodate consumers with autism, who are more likely to have sensory issues that can make the in-store environment seem overwhelming. During in-store Quieter Hours, which are 9 to 10 a.m. on Saturday mornings, Morrisons stores lower the lights and limit loud noises like music, check-out beeps and speaker announcements.
Dutch supermarket chain Jumbo combats loneliness amongst older adults with two new in-store initiatives. In contrast to the typical express lane, Chat Checkout is a special lane, where the cashier takes extra time to engage in a conversation. Jumbo also hosts All Together Coffee Corner, an in-store local community space that allows elders to meet one another.
UK discount retailer Home Bargains offers quiet hour in its stores in its stores to provide a peaceful shopping experience for autistic shoppers and their families. During the hour, the stores turns down all music, which can make autistic customers feel overwhelmed, in an effort to be more inclusive to all shoppers.
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Warehouse club retailer Sam’s Club is incubating new retail technologies centered around its Sam's Club Now app that let members unlock a more personalized and responsive shopping experience. Machine learning and purchase data automatically generate shopping lists with suggested items, and beacon technology helps guide members through the store. Members can use the app to scan items to pay without waiting in line, as well as place orders for one-hour pick up. The features are currently being tested in its Dallas, Texas, test store before being rolled out nationwide.
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Charitable organization The Salvation Army opened DMG Foods, the country's first-ever nonprofit grocery chain, in Baltimore. Named after the brand’s motto, “Doing the Most Good,” the store is open to shoppers of any income level, with special coupons available to customers on SNAP benefits and onsite job training.
Seattle-based agricultural startup Pacific Coast Harvest implemented a program that discounts fresh produce for low-income families. The brand already offers CSA boxes that support small farms, and now families that are part of Seattle’s Fresh Bucks to Go program can order produce to be dropped off at their children’s preschools.
Bodega, run by the nonprofit Love Without Reason, is a new store in the Westlake neighborhood of Los Angeles that offers healthy food to low-income shoppers, plus employment opportunities for homeless people and veterans. Everything on the menu is $5 or less, inspired by the free breakfast program run by the Black Panthers.