Get Ready for AI Transformation in the Grocery Business


By Doug Baker, FMI Vice President, Industry Relations

Among the six digital imperatives for a successful omnichannel strategy established by FMI and Nielsen is one that involves completeness and consistency across in-store and digital shelves, cutting costs and creating a clear assortment inventory that keeps shoppers coming back. This is particularly relevant, given that grocery retail spending on technology could vastly increase shoppers’ online grocery habits.

By 2022, consumers could be spending $100 billion dollars a year on online grocery. That’s equal to every U.S. household annually spending $850 online for food and beverage, according to The Digitally Engaged Food Shopper. One way that grocery retailers plan to meet this emerging demand is by considering the use of artificial intelligence (AI).

Two grocery retailers recently announced at Groceryshop how they’re tackling and optimizing the digital shelf head-on – one is implementing aisle-scanning retail inventory robots, known as Tally, and the other is automating the “picking” process for its consumers’ baskets. We also heard how AI technologies promise to solve various pain points across the grocery retail value chain, from the supply chain to merchandising and marketing.

Suketu Gandhi, partner, digital transformation practice, A.T. Kearney, shared that the, “opportunity is real, digital is necessary to compete and win,” in the Evaluating the People, Processes and Technologies of the Digital Shopper session. He went on to say that without an omnichannel view the “game is over.” Randy Burt, partner, consumer & retail practice, A.T. Kearney, also cited five things digital organizations are getting right: The north star—unified organizational alignment and focus on a clear strategy and ambition; customer centricity; agile experimentation; collaboration; leadership and talent.

The wide-ranging use cases of AI can be overwhelming for CPG companies and retailers who struggle to understand where AI can have the biggest impact on their business. At FMI’s Midwinter Executive Conference in January, we will showcase the top use cases for artificial intelligence in grocery retail and feature AI-based solutions currently being deployed by forward-thinking brands and retailers.

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