The 3 Minutes Grocery Run – Retail Automation

These days we spend a bulk of our time on phones/tabs, so why not optimize that time to increase quality “Life” – being with your family, friends, pursuing sports/hobbies or even watching TV (Though I recommend more OffScreen time :) ?

I often find myself asking my wife for the grocery list via email/ SMS while I’m driving back from work. Things are even more hectic for working moms who have to micromanage their minutes.

What if your local super-market/grocery/retail store gave you an app, which pre-populates the products that you bought last couple of times, highlights the on-sale items and relevant promotions/coupons, suggests products based on anniversaries and calendar events, in addition to the full inventory list of all items? And that’s not all, what if it also includes a section for you to suggest stocking products that are currently unavailable at the store? Here, all you got to do is, tap on the app, confirm the products in your shopping basket, specify your pick-up window time, set an alert in case you want to re-schedule – and voilà! Your shopping basket is ready to be picked up at the checkout counter! All you do is pay and carry it back home – makes sense?

Now, let’s explore the back-end process flow. The products are loaded in the StoreApp via the eCommerce platform with GeoLocators. Once, an order is processed, the information is fed into the global ERP system for data analysis and harvesting purposes. The ERP system’s delivery module passes the information to the local store’s automated stocking shelves (imagine vending machine racks/shelves being governed by system requirements instead of choices entered via keypad). Automated shelves collate your ordered items, pack and deliver them in a designated counter with the shopper’s name/QR code/bar code. Here, only the accountholder/shopper (via your mobile/keychain RFID) or the store designated person can move the package.
If you want to make it more efficient and customer friendly, have the delivery done via drive-through pick-up with a manned counter for trouble shooting.

Not just the Walmarts or Targets of the world, the Home Improvement stores and the Indian Big Bazzars/ Nature’s Baskets can also explore this. This way, not only the customers are spared from standing in shopping queues, the store’s target marketing and distributed delivery efficiency is also increased. I have kept the garden variety grocery ordering dot coms’ out of this scenario as they lack outlets/shops, where one could swap items in thirty seconds to two minutes. The intent here is “Touch Retail” with improved physical customer experience.

I welcome the readers to share their opinions and comments.

Published with permission.

About the author  ⁄ Chirantan Ghosh

Chirantan Ghosh

Chirantan is a senior Marketing-Communications executive with a Branding Advertisement background, instrumental in driving awareness and shaping the reputation of the esteemed companies predominantly in North America (Capgemini, Google, Publicis, Sony, etc.) and have two patents that are used by Capgemini+IBM and Google(Double Click DART). Chirantan heads Communication and Digital Marketing for a global strategic business unit of Tata Consultancy Services(TCS). Earlier he was CMO of JIS Group and DMS of a leading social networking platform. Chirantan’s core competency revolves around Marketing Strategy, Branding and Digital Media. He specializes in restructuring/redesigning Branding, Corporate Communications for effective strategic marketing (B2B and B2C) with an experience of 18+ years in publishing, multimedia and graphic design. Chirantan attended Norendrapur Ramkrishna Mission Vidyalaya as his high school in Kolkata, India. He spent his college life in New York being educated in New York Institute of Technology and New York University. Ghosh is credited for two Industrial Patents on SEO and Search Marketing, presently utilized by blue chip companies.

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