Grocery Tech Roundup: Top Retail Innovations of 2021

The pandemic shaped the way many customers shopped in 2021. From online ordering, delivery, and pick-up to streamlined in-store purchasing, today’s consumers are looking for grocers to offer the fastest and most convenient options for all their grocery needs. Smart retailers are using technology to enhance the many facets of their store – including their e-commerce shop, point of sale, and back office. 

Here’s STCR’s roundup of the best innovations in grocery technology in 2021.


Digital touchpoints, like in-store kiosks where customers can ask for help, allow stores to boost customer service and shopping efficiency. Large retailers are even using QR codes and other methods to help shoppers connect to a mobile app that will assist them in navigating store aisles and unlocking coupons. AI-powered salad bars are all the buzz in the grocery industry most recently. The innovation includes a digital food freshness system, digital labels, smart cooling algorithms, and displays to communicate with customers.

But that’s not the only place we’re seeing artificial intelligence (AI) technologies being used. AI-powered shopping carts, like Caper’s smart cart, can detect items instantly through a basket camera, allowing shoppers to pay for their groceries directly through a built-in touch screen. AI-powered carts are proven to be successful for both the shopper and the store. Research shows shoppers who use smart cart technology increase their basket sizes by 10%.


Ever since the infamous toilet paper shortage of 2020, shoppers have been more concerned about supply chain issues than ever before. In fact, 91% of consumers surveyed say they consider product availability when making purchases. To combat this, stores are investing in new retail management software systems to help forecast supply shortages, manage on-shelf availability, and assist with category planning. Data management tools also allow grocery stores to expand on nutrition incentives that are typically challenging to facilitate manually. The strategy can help further position your store as a healthy, fresh food destination.


As more shoppers use online shopping amidst the pandemic, retailers must find creative ways to stand out among the competition. According to industry experts, personalization is a key way to convert online customers. By utilizing customized coupons and promotions, shoppable recipes, and customer reward initiatives grocers are putting their shoppers’ needs first and making the experience as seamless as possible. This method helps shoppers not only save time but also avoid the dreaded “click and scroll fatigue” that many individuals experience while shopping online.

It’s not enough to utilize just one smart retail solution, stores must now incorporate a full suite of omnichannel innovations aimed to create consistent and efficient shopping experiences for customers and streamlined management systems for employees. The professionals at STCR can help evaluate your store’s needs and help you get set up for success. Request a demo to get started today!