4 Jun 2019

A More Intelligent Way to Shop with NCR

Location: United States & Canada

Wouldn’t it be great if you could bring Alexa with you to the grocery store? “Alexa, go get these things from the deli and bakery while I shop for produce.” How cool would that be?

While personal digital helpers like Alexa and Siri have made life easier for millions, there are limits to what they can currently do. But the type of artificial intelligence technology that drives these products is coming to a retail store near you, and it promises to change the way shoppers’ shop.

“The convergence of AI with traditional customer service has the ability to transform the shopping experience,” says Perry Kramer, senior vice president and practice lead at BRP, a retail consulting firm based in Quebec.

BRP’s 2018 Customer Experience/Unified Commerce Survey found that about 55% of retailers plan to leverage artificial intelligence in-store within the next three years. Kramer says AI offers the ability to exploit the vast amounts of customer preference and transaction data gathered and reach a much larger group of consumers on a personal level to enhance the customer experience.

Products like NCR’s FastLane Mobile Shopper and Zebra Technologies’ PS20 Personal Shopper are designed to help retailers in their AI journey. These products let shoppers research, price-check and scan their products right from the shopping cart, saving time and money in ways that weren’t possible before. It’s all in response to the growing preference among shoppers to shun the help of salespeople in favor of ways to gain insight independently.

In a 2018 survey of 2,900 North American shoppers by HRC Retail Advisory, most consumers said they prefer to use in-store technology or social media for shopping advice rather than ask a store associate for help. The majority of those surveyed, 85%, said they want to be able to check prices at scanners throughout a store rather than having to ask someone for pricing information.

While grocery stores are traditionally designed for self-service, navigating the shelves of today’s large supermarkets can be intimidating for many customers. Frustrated shoppers often have to return to aisles they’ve already shopped to find everything on their list. Then after waiting in line at the checkout, they have to unload everything they’ve pulled off the shelves only to have it scanned and returned to their cart, which then has to be unloaded again into the car and so on.

Mobile scanning technology featuring AI promises to change all of that. Take NCR’s FastLane for example. With FastLane, shoppers can use an app on their smartphones or a hardware device the store provides to scan and price items as they shop. By scanning a barcode, users transfer their orders over to a payment terminal as they shop, saving time and money.

Likewise, the advanced scanning technology in Zebra’s PS20 Personal Shopper captures virtually every kind of electronic and printed barcode found in stores today and delivers location-based personalized coupons, discounts, shopping paths and more as consumers shop. The PS20 uses Android technology, making it as easy to use as a smartphone.

Making things easier is what technology innovations are all about. Someday Alexa might just be able to do all of your shopping for you. Until then, these “smart” personal shoppers sound like a smart way to shop.


Originally posted by Dusty Lutz on the NCR Blog on May 10, 2019