The grocery sector, historically reluctant to embrace technological innovation and replace traditional systems, is actively pursuing innovative efficiency and future-proofing strategies. This transformation involves adopting other technologies, such as Artificial Intelligence (AI) and generative AI, to enable data-driven decision-making, revolutionize supply chain management, improve customer experience, drive efficiency, and meet the growing demand for sustainability.
Coresight Research, Groceryshop 2023’s research partner, presented its key findings on unified shopping experiences, future readiness, and new growth opportunities.
Groceryshop 2023 took place Sept. 19-21, 2023, in Las Vegas. The annual conference helps companies navigate the changing grocery landscape by exploring the latest business models, advanced technologies, and changing consumer behaviors.
Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Generative AI
AI and, more specifically, other technologies like generative AI emerged as a prominent topic of discussion at the Groceryshop 2023 event. There, many speakers highlighted its role in bolstering organizational efficiency.
Before using generative AI for external customer-facing applications, companies should explore using this other technology to improve internal productivity.
Monica McGurk, CEO of Tropicana Brands and Mainstream, discussed “TropGPT,” the company’s internal generative AI tool that leverages natural language processing to streamline performance management and trend identification.
While identifying trends is essential, it is also critical that companies promptly implement changes based on AI-generated insights.
McGurk stressed the importance of democratizing retailer data and analytics – allowing broader access across the organization rather than limiting it to senior management – when implementing AI-driven, data-driven, insight-based changes.
Generative AI could also reshape the grocery and consumer packaged goods (CPG) sector, ushering in a new era of shopping experiences.
Retailers need to understand that this transformation could come sooner rather than later. “With generative AI, the long term is months away,” explained Krystina Gustafson, vice president of content at Groceryshop.
Related Article: 5 Benefits of Artificial Intelligence for Supermarkets
Within this transformation, AI-driven tools will center stage, refining and optimizing various functions. All this will include elevating engagement and customer engagement and simplifying supply chain management.
Data readiness and fruitful collaborations are essential for the productive integration of generative AI in the food and CPG sectors.
AI/ML (machine learning) is a powerful tool for analyzing historical sales data, market trends, and external variables—weather and social events- allowing companies to make highly accurate predictions about future demand.
Other technologies, like generative AI, provide companies with information and guidelines on adjusting inventory levels.
Ben McKean, CEO of Hungryroot, an online grocery service, showcased the power of AI. He did it by describing how AI-driven algorithms rapidly generate customized shopping baskets for each shopper.
This transformation will be driven by AI’s potential to reduce food waste. Also, to improve the shopping experience, mitigate impulse purchases, and offer sustainable and eco-friendly recipes and product alternatives.
Automation and supply chains
Regarding automation, retailers should establish their business objectives before implementing the technology that will deliver the desired impact.
AI can improve decision-making but should not replace valuable human input.
The grocery industry uses automation to improve operational efficiency and enhance the shopper experience. In addition, investments in technology that seemed unfeasible a few years ago now have more potential in the grocery industry thanks to the influence of AI. Examples are radio frequency identification (RFID) and automated checkout software.
David von Laskowski, president and CEO of Picadeli and Greenfood Group, a health food producer, discussed the valuable data-driven insights of AI and how they enable retailers to adjust stock on the shelves and prevent stock-outs.
With data collection and artificial intelligence, retailers are gaining valuable insights into customer behavior, reducing waste, and providing employees with actionable information that helps them better serve customers.
AI can also help with demand forecasting, traceability, and inventory management, contributing to the enormous food waste problem in the United States. However, implementing AI in supply chains requires careful consideration of a company’s technology readiness, personnel, skills, and tools.
Companies that manage these four areas in tandem are better positioned to achieve greater visibility and decision-making.
To achieve optimal results, it is crucial for retailers to carefully select other technology solutions that can seamlessly integrate with their existing technology infrastructure and operations, helping to conduct a comprehensive end-to-end impact.
Coresight Research recommends that companies determine their desired outcomes before choosing the right technologies.
In addition, retailers need to test technologies on a smaller scale before embarking on a broader rollout, which can be a cost-effective strategy, especially in an environment with a high-interest rate.