International Retailers Virtual insanity
Just north of our borders, SPAR Zimbabwe, owned by an independent retailer, has completed a four-week renovation of its Groombridge store in Harare, with a 500m2 ‘fresh is best’ section, improved shelving, innovative point-of-sale technology, and LED lighting, an extensive deli, a sushi chef, and a Biltong Bar. Next up, in the US, Walmart is spending $130m to roll out the store of tomorrow in over 1,000 locations, where it will use data analytics, augmented reality and AI to improve the shopping experience. The AI will help manage the stores’ inventory, the availability of trolleys (they call them carts over there), and customise recommendations, offers, and promotions; the AR will power interactive displays and virtual shopping lists. Finally, in India, organic dairy and grocery outfit Praakritik has teamed up with Bhoomi India Agtech to also bring fresh organic fruit and veg to the thousands of households the business already delivers to in the tech hub of Bangalore.
Comment: India is a sophisticated and much misunderstood market where we could learn much – and perhaps teach a thing or two as well.