Artificial intelligence powered store sets ambitious roadmap for the future of grocery retailing

Leading convenience retailing brand Londis has officially launched Ireland’s most technologically advanced and sustainable grocery store in the heart of the Dublin City University (DCU) campus.

The concept store has been in development for well over a year through a formal partnership between DCU and Londis’ parent company, BWG Foods.

To facilitate today’s connected generation, the store features a highly sophisticated central intelligence platform that continuously monitors in-store activity to enhance operational efficiency, improve the customer experience, and ultimately increase the overall profitability of the store.

A key feature of the intelligence platform and a first for Ireland is a complex and high spec Panasonic operated camera system which uses machine vision to actively monitor shelf activity. Apart from alerting staff in real-time to product replenishment needs and automatically ordering additional stock where required, the technology will also monitor product merchandising and ensure compliance with best-in-class presentation for individual products.

The intelligence platform also incorporates the use of electronic sels (digital price tags) which are centrally controlled and allow for remote and real-time product pricing, in addition to facilitating dynamic pricing whereby product prices can be modified throughout the day to minimise fresh food waste and increase profitability. The digital tags will also feature smartphone compatible software which allows users to link with product information through their phones and register other consumer preferences.

Together, these integrated technologies will, in the very near future, allow for self-scan virtual basket transactions, significantly adding to the convenience of the customer experience. Additionally, the system will also facilitate the intelligent analysis of customer in-store activity to ensure the correct amount of product is stocked during the appropriate times of the day to maximise product penetration.

Other technology featured in the store includes electronic posters and a cutting-edge image-projection solution that displays video content on dedicated walls within the store.

The store has also leveraged the latest technologies to ensure that it effectively caters to all customers, including those physically challenged, through the introduction of wheelchair accessible self-scan tills and a dedicated talking till for the hard of hearing.

The entirely paperless shop, which features zero traditionally printed marketing and sales materials, has also been designed as the country’s most environmentally friendly grocery retail operation. In addition to pioneering solar powered external signage, the store features LED lighting throughout, minimal environmental impact refrigeration, compostable mugs and compostable fruit and vegetable bags.

All of the refrigeration units combined uses less electricity than one household fridge, further enhancing Londis DCU’s sustainability message and reinforcing its position as Ireland’s most sustainable convenience outlet.

Speaking at the official launch of the new concept store, Donald Christian, Londis DCU Manager said, “Our ambition for this new store, which aligns closely with that of the wider university and its various schools, was to create and pioneer ground-breaking solutions that will positively influence the wider retail sector and its customers. With this in mind we’ve created a template for best-in-class retailing that focusses on accommodating diverse customer needs, enhancing the customer experience, minimising the environmental footprint, and supporting more sustainable and ethical food production.”

Commenting on the new store, Conor Hayes, Sales Director, Londis said, “We in Londis are continually exploring opportunities to enhance the shopping experience for our customers and through this highly experimental process we believe we have developed a new store design that will allow our retailers to strongly differentiate themselves in the marketplace and meet the continually evolving needs and expectations of grocery retailing’s multifaceted customer base.”

In addition to the new campus store, Londis, its parent company BWG Foods, and the DCU Innovation, have partnered to research and test new emerging technologies that could be integrated into the shopping experience of the future. Through this partnership, new concepts will be tested and pioneered through BWG’s expansive supply chain and expansive store network.

Commenting on the partnership with the DCU Innovation Centre, Chris Donnelly, IT Director, BWG Foods, said “As the leading convenience group in the country, we have a responsibility to develop and integrate technology solutions that make the shopping experience, quicker, easier and more rewarding for our customers. The DCU Innovation Centre is a thought leader in this space and we’re hugely excited about working with them to pioneer new concepts that will change the face of grocery retailing in Ireland.”

Londis is one of Ireland’s most established convenience retail brands and caters to a wide and diverse base of customers through its forecourt, neighbourhood and urban store formats.

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