What If The Grocery Store Was Part Of Your Workout Regimen?

Not everyone loves going to the gym or sticking to their diet but most everyone want’s to live a somewhat healthy lifestyle creating an amazing opportunity for retail grocers.

What if grocers could use heart monitor carts, ocular scans, and AI health profiles to help shoppers obtain that healthy lifestyle they see on Instagram or TV. Grocers could help become the one stop shop for health and wellness for their shoppers. We’ve seen grocers such as ShopRite invest in nutritionist but how much more effective could they be if they had a quick report on the shoppers current health status. With today’s tech, they could have it in minutes and all the shopper would need to do is shop.

Shop Based Your Health Needs or Deficiencies

We’ve seen the health and wellness category explode over the past few years with even private label brands getting in on the action. The issue for shoppers is the lack of information around what they need and why they need it. Everyone know’s you’re supposed to eat your greens and stay in line with the food pyramid but what greens provide the greatest benefits? Or how about vitamins, besides the one-a-days or vitamins C most shoppers don’t know what they need or the benefits that the vitamins provide. All that can change with the right tech and information.

We’ve Tried The “Healthy Shopping Cart” 

Grocers have incorporated health into the shopping experience but focused on the shopping cart not the shopper. Back in 2004, Tesco PLC in Britain introduced the “Trim Trolley” with a large rear wheel that could be adjusted for resistance and a handle-bar monitor that shows heart rate and calories burned.

According to the Wall Street Journal, “a typical 40-minute trip around the supermarket burns about 160 calories. Pushing the Trim Trolley, with the resistance level set at seven out of a possible 10, the average person would burn up about 280 calories in that time, says the cart’s designer and marketing consultant Wayne Asher.”

Around 2004, everyone seemed to be excited about making the grocery cart smart. IBM’s Shopping Buddy that came out in 2005 seems to have disappeared as quickly. Then there have been SK Telecom’s Smart Cart,  Springboard Retail Network’s The Concierge, and Chaotic Moon Studios’ Smarter Cart. Depending on which one you use, they would track your grocery list and steer you toward the products you were looking for. They might weigh the items in your cart, give you ads based on previous shopping and on where you were in the store, and even let you check out using your phone. Some are self-driving.

But that self-driving feature defeats the purpose of the health cart, inspiring shoppers who don’t feel like “hitting the gym” to “hit the supermarket” instead and kill two birds with one stone.

Is the Tech Worth The Investment

Sure, any time you introduce new technology you’re asking for headaches—repairs, connectivity problems, etc. But today, everything about the shopping experience is disruptive. We’re miles ahead of where we were in 2004 but we’re only getting started.

At one point it was assumed most brick-and-mortar stores would disappear, thanks to grocery delivery service. But Ad Week reports that Millennials actually like going into stores and many other reports show that younger people don’t really want everything in their lives to be digital. Many stores have come up with really creative ways to make the shopping experience one that keeps shoppers hanging around and coming back. There are bands, wine tasting, internet cafes.

But what if we made hanging out at the store the healthy option? Shop the aisles, learn new recipes, feel the burn. Because, while they’re at it, smart carts can still offer ads, health tips, recipes, and directions, and let people check out when they’re through.

Researchers have discovered that people who use pedometers 30 minutes a day, for 12 weeks, continue a healthy lifestyle for years afterward. Maybe it’s finally time for a cart that’s part of the solution, not just part of the problem.

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Seth Nagle, Senior Marketing Manager at RW3 Technologies understands the power of innovation but also its limitations. Attending Salve Regina in New England, starting his career in Silicon Valley, and now living in Austin, Texas; Seth provides a unique tech perspective to a complex CPG and Retail Grocery Industry that is in constant disruption.

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