ANALYSIS: Changes in store for retail

Safeway’s in-store TV system is a sign of things to come as big chains meet the challenges of new technology, writes Julian Lee

Safeway’s in-store TV system is a sign of things to come as big chains

meet the challenges of new technology, writes Julian Lee



Supermarkets have seen the future - and they don’t like the look of it.

Pundits are telling them it could mean home shopping and the concept of

the supermarket becoming obsolete.



Management consultancy Andersen Consulting forecasts that by the year

2000 20% of supermarket shopping will be done through electronic

channels.



In order to survive, supermarkets are having to adapt.



One such versatile retailer is Holland’s leading chain, Albert Heijn,

which has developed a new concept store that is a radical departure from

present formats.



It has a central food area where chefs demonstrate how to use the

products on sale and a food bar where the food is prepared in front of

you to eat in or take away.



Customers can then browse an outer aisle selling goods in a conventional

fashion, stop and scan a product for more information or even talk by

phone to a major manufacturer, such as Procter & Gamble, about a

particular brand.



Safeway, the UK’s third largest supermarket chain, has been leading the

way in technological innovations in this country.



It is rolling out its Shop ‘n’ Go self-scanning systems and auto pay

points are being introduced. Last week it began trials of an in-store TV

system that could evolve into interactive terminals that communicate

with individual customers. Not only is the technology working but it is

expected to deliver increased future profits as wastage, supply chain

efficiencies and lower staffing levels take effect.



According to stockbrokers Kleinwort Benson, self-scanning should boost

profits by pounds 30m by 1999.



With the advent of the Internet and online services, supermarkets are

being forced to accommodate a customer who, in the near future, will be

confronted with a myriad of buying opportunities.



In order to stand out, the supermarket will be expected to offer a range

of services that will make it easier for the consumer to shop.



Rune Gustafson, a director of retail design and strategy consultants

20/20, says the retailers which use technology as a communication tool

rather than just a quick fix to a problem will be the survivors.



‘Customers are demanding more relevant information about the products

they buy,’ he says. ‘If technology can help them in this then they

[retailers] can help them reach a buying decision much more quickly.’



If retailers move fast enough they can ride the technological wave

rather than be swept aside by it, claims Bob Tyrrell, chairman of the

Henley Centre.



‘Superstores might end up having a different function as the

distinctions between home shopping and normal shopping blur. The idea of

having stock on the shelves will be redundant. What you might find is

that they act as showcases and the customer can then order and browse at

their leisure,’ he says.



Discussion

Before commenting please read our rules for commenting on articles.

If you see a comment you find offensive, you can flag it as inappropriate. In the top right-hand corner of an individual comment, you will see 'flag as inappropriate'. Clicking this prompts us to review the comment. For further information see our rules for commenting on articles.

comments powered by Disqus
Brand Republic Jobs

subscribe now

Latest

Oasis #springasmile digital campaign gets people doing good deeds
Coca-Cola: 'Don't approach bloggers with a fait accompli'
Tesco CMO Matt Atkinson: 'It is so important not to stereotype mothers'
McDonald's gives Ronald a new look ahead of global 'Fun times' social media push
In pictures: BrewDog opens first craft beer shop BottleDog for 'beer aficionados'
Facebook ad revenue leaps $1bn as it invests in targeting
Malteser or Maltesers? Mars takes Hershey trademark dispute to court
Apple Q2 profits top $10bn as iPhone sales soar
Lynx tells men not to leave love to fate
HBO captures awkwardness of watching sex scenes with parents
Primark to open first US stores with Boston chosen as flagship location
Marketing spend on the up but a reality check is needed before celebrating
Top 10 ads of the week: Jackpotjoy and BT Broadband fend off Kevin Bacon
Lidl beats Tesco to 10m Facebook fans
Center Parcs ad banned for encouraging parents to take kids out of school
Coca-Cola, Cadbury and Amazon named top brands for targeting youth market
Leaked document shows Nokia to be rebranded as Microsoft Mobile
Nike lays-off hardware staff in move that casts doubt on future of FuelBand
Greenpeace says save the bees or humans will die
What brands need to know about changes to VAT and online downloads in 2015
Jimmy Savile victims urged to claim compensation in new ad campaign
UKIP launches biggest  ad campaign and stirs up 'racist' accusations
Apple boss Tim Cook provides voiceover on ad touting firm's renewed green commitments
John Lewis walks consumers through its history to celebrate 150 years of business
Waitrose boosts content strategy with 'Weekend Kitchen with Waitrose' C4 tie-up
Hottest virals: Cute puppies star in Pedigree ad, plus Idris Elba and Fruyo
Amnesty International burns candles to illuminate new hope
Tom of Finland's 'homoerotic' drawings made into stamps
Toyota achieves the impossible by calming angry Roman drivers
YouTube reveals user habits to appeal to 'older' marketers