Earlier this month, Kroger announced its plans to roll out new technology to optimize the in-store shopping experience. Called the Kroger Edge, the digital signage will inform customers of product price updates and nutrition information.
Eventually, the platform will also sync with shoppers' smartphones to alert them as they're approaching an item on their shopping list.
Kroger is continually innovating in an effort to keep its large share of the grocery industry—Kroger owns about 7% of the market, second behind Walmart, 14%.
Brennan Wilkie, SVP, customer experience strategy at InMoment, a customer experience intelligence company, believes that customers will be excited about this new engagement strategy.
“Increased engagement is always a good thing, so the reaction will most certainly be positive," he told FierceRetail. "Customers will associate the technology with a modern, real-time link between price and product, reducing a lot of the common shopper anxiety around getting the ‘right’ prices."
Wilkie says that the move shows Kroger's commitment to improving the customer-staff interaction and the overall grocery shopping experience.
"With digital signage, the grocer can reflect both proactive and reactive pricing changes depending on what’s happening in the market and what consumers’ needs are. It also gives the shelving a bit of life and communicates visually to the customer who Kroger is as a brand—it’s a cue to the shopper that Kroger is investing in a premium experience for its customer base," he added.
Wilkie also said that the new technology will assist Kroger in automating pricing changes, a traditionally high-cost, low-value task. With more free time, sales associates can spend more time consulting with consumers on products and and less time on replacing pricing signage.
Of course, there will be initial growing pains, as with any new technology.
"If you’re going to be updating individual pieces of tech and rearranging your shelves, there’s a possibility there will be some kinks to work out," he said. "The important thing is that Kroger uses this as an opportunity to reaffirm its value proposition to the customer through its ‘Scan Right Guarantee.’”
Wilkie stressed that Kroger will also need to listen to customer feedback carefully during this growth period.
"Continual feedback can help businesses determine what’s working and what’s not in the early stages and make changes as needed, ensuring a more seamless transition," he said.
Once in place, Kroger will be one of the first grocers to bring digital signage to scale and to this level of sophistication. Wilkie believes that Kroger is setting the tone for other grocers and eventually, digital signage will be something that consumers will come to expect from all brands.
“These types of technologies have the potential to combine a number of different elements that drive a quality customer experience: convenience, product knowledge and personalized recommendations," Wilkie said. "This move really helps advance the cause in the interest of the customer. I anticipate it will do for the grocery browsing and shopping experience what scan-and-go is doing for check-out. It enables a truly seamless customer experience and relieves one of the biggest burdens for grocery shoppers—finding the right product at the right price.”