Kagan: Kroger change wave keeps up with Amazon Whole Foods
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When Amazon acquired Whole Foods, I expected rapid change in the grocery industry. While change has been occurring, it's been slower than expected. This gives current grocery leaders like Kroger the chance to catch up if they are on their toes. Let's take a look at what Kroger is doing.
Kroger is testing technologies in certain stores which, if done right, will make the shopping experience easier.
They already have self-check-out counters, and now they are taking that to the next level. One way I talked about is to let the customer put groceries in the bags in their carts and simply let them walk out, through a scanner, which would identify what's in the bag and charge the customer's credit card.
Kroger partnering with Ocado Group and Nuro to compete with Amazon Whole Foods
Another way is Kroger has partnered with the grocer, Ocado Group. The Ocado Smart Platform is one way they are hoping to improve and transform the customer experience in the retail grocery business.
Still another way they are thinking about is driverless delivery. Kroger is partnering with a company called Nuro, which is a self-driving company. The autonomous car will likely play a role in our future and grocery delivery is an interesting place to start.
Kroger self-driving delivery vehicles vs. flying delivery drones
However, I am beginning to suspect that by the time self-driving cars become a reality, they will have blended with the drone market and that could change everything. So, will we have self-driving cars or flying-cars? Don't know, but this space is getting interesting.
Imagine, logging on, shopping online, choosing between picking your order up at the store or having it delivered. Now imagine the delivery vehicle will be self-driving or self-flying. That's what the future may hold and that's the future Kroger wants to be a part of.
There is one problem however. Who will ring the doorbell to let you know your ice crème is melting at your front door?
But hey, why not think about tomorrow? Kroger is not alone. Amazon is experimenting with using drones for deliveries, right? Company after company will first be thinking about and then moving into this new space.
Yes, that would mean we will have to deal with all sorts of self-driving delivery or self-flying vehicles, whether they be on the road or in the air.
That's right. Just think about the beautiful blue sky. Imagine, sitting back on a peaceful summer day looking up at the clouds and birds and leaves blowing in the wind. Now, imagine this peaceful moment interrupted by an airway in the sky made up of all sorts of delivery drones and self-driving cars. You remember that scene from Back to the Future when Doc Brown took Marty into the future and they appeared on that highway in the sky.
Is that really what the future will look like? It may be. I don't think we are giving the other side of this coin this enough thought. But that's another subject.
Who will transform the grocery industry, Kroger, Amazon or someone else?
As for Kroger, they are one of the thought leaders in the grocery space. I hope they bring the automated, self-check-out process to reality, nationwide, sooner rather than later. I hope they rush to bring all sorts of improvements to the grocery shopping experience.
Someone will. Either Kroger will or a competitor like Amazon will. That's what tomorrow looks like. One way or another, everything will change and quickly. The only question is who will lead this change wave?
There are all sorts of new technologies popping up. Some of them can be rolled out today. Others are still just visions for the future. So, let's just keep our eyes on this exciting and transformative time.
One thing is for sure, we may not know exactly what tomorrow will look like, but it will look very different from the world we all live in today and it's coming on very quickly.
Jeff KAGAN Jeff Kagan is a Wireless Analyst, Telecom Analyst, speaker, author and consultant. Over 30 years he has followed the Customer Experience through technology like wireless, wire line, telecom, Internet, cable TV, IPTV, Cloud, AI, Mobile Pay, FinTech and more. Email him at jeff@jeffKAGAN.com. www