Artificial intelligence improves efficency of online grocery shopping

Dive Brief:

  • Pathover has released Grocery 360 (G-360), a new service that aims to decrease the complexity and financial cost of online grocery shopping and delivery, according to Grocery Headquarters.
  • The e-commerce and logistics startup said G-360 builds a product catalog, connects the catalog to customer-facing point-of-sale system, and then utilizes artificial intelligence to create optimal schedules for delivering products from grocery stores to their customers.
  • Pathover is currently working with 240 retailers around the U.S., and plans to expand to reach 5,000 grocers by the end of the year.

Dive Insight:

Pathover’s goal is to reduce the complexity and cost of online grocery shopping and delivery, which is what retailers have been trying to do for years with varying success. Artificial intelligence is not something that many people trust right now, so adoption of this technology by consumers might take some time.

There are signs artificial intelligence technology found in voice-controlled speakers, like Amazon Echo, Echo Dot and Google Home, are popular with consumers, so further adoption in the grocery space could only be a matter of time. Analysts believe they have the potential to disrupt the path to purchase in the coming year. Artificial intelligence could connect with a smart fridge, scan the contents and automatically reorder eggs, milk or produce.

Wal-Mart recently filed a patent for technology that would track consumers’ usage of everything from toothpaste to shoes, automatically place reorders and suggest additional products, according to The Wall Street Journal. The system, which would rely on sensors placed on products, would be a close competitor to Amazon’s Dash Buttons, which allow consumers to order branded products at the push of a button. Many shoppers may not like the idea of sensors inside their home tracking how much juice they drink and how many chips they consume in a week.

The secret to success for Pathover is in eliminating inefficiencies in the end-to-end delivery process. It charges a flat fee of $0.99 on every order. One advantage with the system is if a grocer already has an e-commerce site, integrating with G-360’s logistics (delivery) feature is easy. That could result in some fast implementation.

Many believe artifical intelligence will play a factor in the check-out line as well, and you can bet many retailers are already in the planning stages on how to utilize the technology to improve the in-store experience. Artificial intelligence has a small presence in the grocery space now, but it’s a good bet that over time that presence will grow exponentially as retailers look for more ways to implement it into their operations.


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