Retailer technologies that can shake up CPG competition at the grocery store

By Adi Menayang

- Last updated on GMT

Retailer technologies that can shake up CPG competition at grocery

Related tags Retailing

More retailers are adapting new technology to keep them at the forefront—what does this mean to manufacturers? At Sweets and Snacks Expo 2017, we met with several exhibiting tech companies to chat about how their products can disrupt the landscape of food and beverage retailers, and how brands can best harness the change.

Dart Displays

This Chicago-based company creates digital signage for CPG manufacturers that can be updated in real-time at a store. “It’s about getting the right kind of image that draws someone in to an unplanned purchase,” ​Kenny Olson, business development at Dart Displays​, told FoodNavigator-USA.

An example of a Dart Display at the Sweets & Snacks Expo 2017.

Placed on end-caps or on store shelves, Dart Displays’ screens can be updated remotely, and also collect sales data with real-time analytics.

There are add-ons that manufacturers can incorporate to a basic Dart Display, and companies can go wild with their imaginations on what type of content they want potential consumers to engage with at the store. This may cut costs in the long term when it comes to printed-paper material and cardboard signage, or hiring an in-store spokesperson.

“For example, with our Shazam functionality, it enables someone to press a button and download a recipe on how they can use that product,”​ Olson added.


To compete in the ‘endless shelf space’ that is online shopping, it makes a world of difference to rank higher in search engines. Ireland-based Pointy​ was designed to help with just that—it’s a hardware and application system, that helps both retailer and the brands it sells get more visibility at a hyperlocal level.

“It’s a way to have retailers convert searches into sales,” ​Michael Gill, legal & operations at Pointy, told FoodNavigator-USA. “If someone is looking for a product nearby—we help the retailer do this by getting all their products online in a way that works for a local search.”

A Pointy Box at the Sweets & Snacks Expo.

Retailers have to make a one-time payment of $299 for a Pointy Box, which connects to a POS system. Every item scanned using the box goes to the store’s Pointy profile, which ranks high in Google. When a shopper searches for a specific product, and the retailer happens to sell it, the store’s Pointy page will show up high on the search results list.

IBM Watson

What can’t IBM Watson​ do? As WIRED journalist Brian Barrett wrote last year​, it’s a Jeopardy-winning, cookbook-writing, dress-designing, weather-predicting supercomputer-of-all-trades that is now being used to prevent cybercrime. For retailers, it can do sales analytics overnight that was once done by 200 to 300 data scientists in a span of at least a few months.

Just at the store-level, IBM’s Watson is a jack-of-all-trades; it can be taught to use real-time camera images and differentiate a ripe banana from an under-ripe banana and tally the numbers of each banana type in the inventory, Scott Duby, director of IBM Globabal Consumer Industry, told the audience at a Sweets & Snacks Expo education session.

It can also notify a store manager after a child picks up ice cream from a fridge and forgets to close the door tightly, preventing spoilage of more products. For brands, it lends a hand in digital advertising, for example tailoring which advertising your brand wants to put out on a rainy day versus sunny day.

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