Category Archives: Systems and scanning

Inventory Issues Costing Supermarkets Dearly

SupermarketNews recently reported that, despite internal systems improvements, retailers continue to struggle with labor and supplier issues, costing North American supermarkets over $349 billion in total sales lossesmdue to out-of-stocks and overstocks.

Reports of consumer discontent are common, with shoppers claiming one-out-of-five items they want to buy are out-of-stock according to new research from analyst firm IHL Group the article said.

“While there have been considerable improvements in systems and processes in recent years, labor challenges and continued supply chain disruptions issues continue to frustrate both consumers and retailers,” said Greg Buzek, President of IHL Group. “In addition, challenges from theft, mistakes by employees, and spoilage cause retailer’s inventory counts to be off as much as 25%, resulting in consumers having a shopping experience where they left the stores without buying 1 in every 5 items they planned to buy.”


You can read the full article here.

“Smart” Supermarkets!

According to an article published on LInkedIn, Wal-Mart recently opened its first “smart store” supermarket in Xin’an Wu Road, Bao’an District, Shenzhen.

We first read about the “smart supermarket” concept in a piece published by AgThentic, a sustainability and innovation consulting firm focusing on the food industry. In a 2016 article, they referenced the increasing popularity of online grocery shopping and click-and-collect services, and predicted the model was set to change how consumers “will do their weekly shop.”

The article went on to say, “Incorporating predictive technologies into the online shopping experience will allow consumers to access discounts on their favorite brands or re-order the same essential items each week without having to individually add them to a cart. These features have huge implications for convenience… By using data collected from your previous purchases, retailers can understand what you buy and how often you buy it, and send you friendly reminders when you’re running low. Say goodbye to the days of getting halfway home and realizing you forgot to buy toothpaste.”

In addition to helping consumers shop with ease, these same practices are also beneficial to supermarkets as they look to manage inventory and reduce food waste. “Consumers expect to see an overstocked display of cosmetically attractive produce,” the article said.  “To compensate, supermarkets throw out up to 40% of food before it even reaches store shelves.”

AgThentic predicted  retailers of the future will use consumer data to understand how to market and sell ‘unattractive’ or ‘imperfect’ produce, citing examples in Australia that are already doing so.

Read the full article…

Robots in the Aisles?

A recent video and report by Phil Lempert, founder of, shared information about “Tally,” a robot that will be working the aisles at Schnucks looking for items that are out of stock and checking on prices.

The robot is being tested at a store in the Richmond Heights area of St. Louis, the article says. A second will be tested at another store in the Kirkwood area. The tests are expected to last about six weeks.

Tally weighs about 30 pounds and stands at 38 inches tall and has sensors to avoid bumping into things like shoppers and carts. It scans the shelves and notifies the store personnel when quantities are running low.

A new component of the digital trend?

Insight Into Shelf-side Decision Making?

A recent article published by shared some interesting information about understanding shopper behavior at the shelf.

“Understanding true shopper behavior in the store has become the latest battlefield in the fast moving consumer goods industry,” the article states.

Citing studies that show an estimated 76% of purchase decisions are made in the store, the article goes on to suggest that adding even a single product to a small percentage of shopping trips could equate to significant increases in sales revenue.

Wondering if there’s a way to accomplish this?

According to the article, Shopperception, a company with locations in Delaware and Buenos Aires, offers a platform that is able to “digitize shopper behavior in much the same way marketers are able to understand shoppers’ behavior online.”

Apparently their platform uses three-dimensional sensors combined with sophisticated algorithms to generate the data.

Assuming the decision-making that will be based on the consumer preferences translated by this data is combined with high levels of customer service, could this be a win-win opportunity for shoppers and supermarkets alike?

Check-Out Free Stores?

A December 5th SupermarketNews article shared insights on the latest — and potentially most disruptive — development from Amazon: Amazon Go.

This new convenience store concept will offer consumers grocery essentials, convenience items and prepared foods-to-go without requiring them to check out.

The 1,800-square-foot test store, located in Seattle, is currently open to Amazon employees using the store in a beta test. It will open to the public early in 2017, the Seattle-based retailer said.

According to the article, these new stores will use proprietary technology allowing shoppers to take items from shelves and simply walk out with them to be billed later — “…a potentially big step toward meeting shopper demand for convenience while relieving Amazon the burden of costly  fulfillment as it pursues a greater impact on food retailing.”

“Our Just Walk Out technology automatically detects when products are taken from or returned to the shelves and keeps track of them in a virtual cart,” the company said in a release. “When you’re done shopping, you can just leave the store. Shortly after, we’ll charge your Amazon account and send you a receipt.”

Amazon Go — reportedly known inside the company as “Project X” — has been the topic of considerable speculation in recent months. Recent reports said the company was eyeing the potential to add as many as 2,000 such stores in the coming decade following a test period in major markets before 2018.

Wow! We didn’t see this one coming, but it is certainly a good example of customer-driven decision-making! And as some in the industry are wondering, might this be then next big “game changer?”

Martin’s Supermarkets Adopts New Food Safety Compliance Solution

A recent EIN News article reported that Martin’s Supermarkets has started using Park City Group’s ReposiTrak® compliance management solution to manage regulatory and business documentation compliance within their supply chain.

“Martin’s Super Markets is the latest retailer to recognize the advantages of using ReposiTrak to reduce brand, regulatory and financial risk in their supply chain,” said Randall K. Fields, Chairman and CEO of Park City Group. “Their commitment to food safety and transparency for their customers makes us proud to have them utilize our system.”

Family-owned and managed since 1947, Martin’s operates 22 full-service supermarkets in Indiana and Michigan.

Increased Demand for Advanced Food Packaging

According to an article posted on, changes in food processing methods are impacting packaging needs.  Manufacturers rethinking operations to meet FSMA requirements may address issues of food safety by using more advanced packaging for their products.

The article listed several key issues, including:

  • Three factors driving this growth are demand for hygienic packaging, development of innovative packaging solutions, and consumer engagement.
  • Food safety, shelf life, use of fresh and/or natural ingredients, and smart packaging may come into play for manufacturers when making decisions about advanced packaging and materials.


The Future of Independent Supermarkets?

Independent operators will remain relevant because they have the flexibility and commitment to adapt and change, according to a recent SupermarketNews article.

The article was quoting remarks made by Peter J. Larkin, president and CEO of the National Grocers Association (NGA),  at NGA’s annual convention in Las Vegas.

Those in “the know” seemed to agree that Independents need to catch up on collecting information in order to remain competitive, so that they could “have an understanding of where consumers are shopping.”

Sounds like big data and tracking technology is here to stay as well!

No Lines at the Supermarket?

supermarketcheckout copyImagine an entire shopping trip without long lines or human interaction. The days of suffering through a mile-long-line on a shopping excursion might soon come to an end, according to a recent article.

The article shared information presented at the National Retail Foundation’s “Big Show” in New York by Diebold, which produces self-service finance products, will introduce what it’s dubbed a “contact-less self-checkout concept.”

The concept will allow grocery store customers to skip the check-out lines and instead scan items with their phones as soon as they stuff them into their cart.

At the end of the shopping trip, customers will stop by a self-checkout machine where they can either pay with cash on the machine or through a credit card through tapping the phone’s mobile wallet, which will have credit card information on file.

Wow! I wonder what will be next…?

Read the full article…

Where Everybody Knows Your Name?

A recent SupermarketNews article shared information on software that might turn-back the clock when it comes to customer engagement.

The piece, entitled Moving From Transactional to Personalized Relationships in Grocery, references a time when “the neighborhood grocer knew all of his shoppers by name, and more importantly knew their shopping habits and preferences. It enabled a level of personalized service that benefitted both parties tremendously.”

The article goes on to say that through the use of technology and the data-driven insights it provides, the opportunity exists for that kind relationship to return. Personalization can now be scaled across a broad customer base with online tools and digital communication channels.

The journey involves four “stages of maturity” according to the white paper that is accessible through the article, which are:

  1. Static & Minimal Digital Presence
  2. Basic Digital Engagement
  3. Digitally Active Customer Experience
  4. Data-Driven Personalization

Once a supermarket reaches the fourth stage, it is suggested that they will be able to fully leverage the data and insights that their investments and strategic partnerships have been able to deliver.

“These grocers are leveraging real-time data to make strategic adjustments on the fly,” the article says. “…and using predictive data science to plan for the future.”

Read more in the article…