Home » Automation in Grocery Stores: What Independent Retailers Need to Know

Automation in Grocery Stores: What Independent Retailers Need to Know

Marty, the grocery automation solution employed by GIANT Foods since 2019.

Labor automation is becoming more and more common in grocery stores. In February, one of GIANT Food Stores’ robotic assistants, “Marty,” dramatically escaped a store in Hellertown, Pennsylvania.

Small grocery store owners already had a lot to think about: extreme price changes, rapidly emerging markets, now robots? Here’s everything independent retailers should know about labor automation and how it impacts their businesses:

  1. Benefits of Automation: Automation can increase efficiency, reduce costs, and improve the customer experience. Self-checkout systems at chains like Fairway and Whole Foods have been around for years. One form of automation accessible to small retailers is inventory management software. These tools are usually available for free or a small subscription fee. These tools can streamline operations without investing in expensive infrastructure like self-checkout machines.
  2. Affordability and Capital Investment: Implementing automation can be costly for small businesses. For a small store owner, leasing automated tech is an affordable way to implement automated labor before purchasing equipment upfront.
  3. Workforce Adaptation: Automation may change job roles, but it will also create opportunities. Upskilling employees to specialize in less replaceable roles like customer service can help small businesses adapt to a changing workforce.
  4. Personalized Service and Customer Relationships: Small grocery shops have a unique advantage: personalized service and a connection to the community. By maintaining strong customer relationships and adapting offerings to meet specific needs in your community, independent retailers can thrive.
  5. Collaboration and Innovation: Automation providers want to look accessible and relatable. Collaborating with these providers or participating in local initiatives can foster innovation and help small businesses stay competitive in the automated landscape.

Grocery Automation: TL;DR

Automation in grocery shops can impact small businesses. While financial barriers and workforce changes may arise, small businesses will always have unique advantages. Focus on personalized service and customer relationships. If you are seeking to automate your business, look into leasing options and collaborations with automation providers.

If you are a independent grocer, bodega, or convenience store owner, you can get discovered by more customers through Evidnt, a small business store locator available for free on Square and Clover.

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