As with many other industries, emerging technologies have already disrupted the nature of shopping and will only continue to do so. Virtual reality (VR) and artificial intelligence (AI), for instance, are already employed by supermarkets to glean deep shopper insights and encourage customer loyalty.
The Store of the Future: An Exploration & Planning Guide, the newest study from the Coca-Cola Retailing Research Council of North America, explores the many ways new technologies have enhanced today’s supermarket experience. Page 46 describes how VR provides staffers invaluable customer service insights by simulating Black Friday shopping rushes and educating staffers in customer service best practices. In turn, AI technology will assume menial tasks, allowing the staffer to focus on customer service and strategic thinking.
These technologies will also reshape how retail staffers are trained. VR training—which has proved to be a versatile tool in industries like medicine and sports—will likely become industry standard. For example, by the end of 2018, Walmart had already employed more than 17,000 VR headsets at store-level to give employees access to virtual learning.
VR training best practices and other key technological insights about the store of the future can be found in the report, which can be downloaded for free at www.ccrrc.org.