Why grocery shopping needs digital ID

The coronavirus crisis has shifted so many of our expectations of what we want in life – including what we want from our grocery shopping.

During the pandemic, omnichannel prevailed and click and collect and delivery services grew in popularity. Now, as we start to move out of lockdown and restrictions begin to ease, digital ID systems will be the next stage of grocery shopping innovation.

As The Grocer explains, barcodes are currently flying the flag for digital ID in grocery stores – though they aren’t the most advanced technology out there and can only provide limited information. Still, retailers need to track all kinds of data such as expiry dates, provenance, and product journeys.

One piece of tech vying to replace the humble grocery barcode is radio-frequency identification (RFID). Trials of RFID have been run by Tesco in 2003 and Asda in 2006.

Back then the technology wasn’t ready, but things are different today. The rise in cloud computing, the use of smartphones to shop and consumers being more tech-savvy all point to successful RFID implementation.

RFID works in tandem with other technologies, allowing complete end-to-end supply chain visibility. But while the potential is clear, there are still challenges to overcome. Companies may need to upgrade their infrastructure and the global nature of food supply chains could also hamper progress.

On the flipside, a key benefit of RFID is multiple item scanning (even when products are assorted in boxes). This means entire baskets, trolleys or stock rooms can be scanned in one go, saving time and labour costs.

Digital ID can also help identify food based on allergens and dietary requirements – e.g. vegan or gluten-free items.

Another valuable benefit is that of sustainability. By linking expiry dates to individual products, food waste is reduced. Plus, if a product needs to be recalled, the technology can identify a batch of items rather than the entire stock.

Digital ID reduces waste, avoids over-production, and decreases plastic consumption by tracking reusable containers. And that’s on top of helping retailers upgrade their offering and driving supply chain efficiencies. 

If you’re looking to make the most of advanced technology in order to improve your offering and boost your customer experience, we can help. Get in touch with the Delta Group team today: hello@thedeltagroup.co.uk

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