NRF: Waitrose develops digital store of the future

NRF: Waitrose develops digital store of the future
on January 21, 2015 in News

Grocery chain considers what its ‘store of the future’ might look like. Glynn Davis reports from New York

Waitrose is experimenting with a variety of digital technologies in its stores and on mobile that it believes will ultimately position it well to deliver high levels of customer experience as it considers what its ‘store of the future’ will look like.
Enhancing shopper experience
Speaking at the Wincor Nixdorf Breakfast Briefing that was held alongside Retail’s Big Show, organised by NRF in New York, Tom Fuller, head of IT customer relationships at Waitrose, says the retailer’s focus on “value and experiences” rather than technology per se was resulting in it gradually introducing technologies that enhance the shopper experience,
One aspect is the deployment of 4,500 iPads onto the shop floor from which sales assistants can check product availability for customers, and access Google+ to communicate/collaborate with other employees.
Waitrose has also introduced devices into store for customers to access additional product information and the next generation of this thinking will involve in-location offers targeted at individual shoppers. It will be possible for customers to walk past an item and promotions to then hit their phone or appear on the company’s own self-scan devices.
Voice recognition
Fuller also revealed that empowering customers is also been pushed forward through the supermarket’s partnership with Hiku to enable people to scan barcodes or use voice recognition to add products into their virtual basket. “It goes into the cloud and into the shopper’s basket. They then pay for it and have it delivered to their home,” he says.
The retailer has big plans for this basket-building and transferability of this information across devices. Phil Curnow, practice lead for system design and development at Waitrose, is experimenting with how devices will be used in the Waitrose stores of the future.
Trialling this technology
Waitrose is running a trial at its new Graze cafe in two stores, whereby orders can be taken on iPads. Payment functionality will be added in the future. He also foresees customers using their own devices in-store for scanning and paying for goods.
Integral to this is the work Waitrose has been doing with vendor PCMS on its PoS and payment infrastructure that has involved the development of PCMS’ OnDemand service-enabled solution that allows for greater interoperability and payment solutions across devices.
With this flexible backdrop the supermarket is positioning itself to more easily introduce a raft of digital solutions across various devices.

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