Metropolitan Market joins the shelf technology movement

Metropolitan Market is the latest supermarket operator to implement digital technologies to optimize ordering, inventory management, merchandising and the use of in-store labor.

In a pilot with San Francisco, California-based Focal Systems, Metropolitan Market is deploying hundreds of tiny, inexpensive shelf cameras that digitize shelves hourly. The Focal Systems Operating System (FocalOS) uses the data to automate many in-store processes and improve operating efficiencies, the companies said. Benefits include accurate just-in-time ordering; replacing the manual daily out-of-stock scan with automated hourly scans; improving product availability for customers by increasing the productivity of replenishment staff; and reducing food waste with better produce ordering, the companies said.

“In a rapidly evolving world, it’s our duty to continue innovating in order to provide the best possible experience for shoppers at all of our locations,” Ron Megahan, Metropolitan Market’s chief executive officer, said in a statement.

Metropolitan Market has nine locations—and a 10th scheduled to open—across Washington state. Good Food Holdings, the holding company for five retailing brands—Bristol Farms, Lazy Acres Natural Market, New Seasons Market, New Leaf Community Markets and Metropolitan Market—is known within the industry for focusing on “high-touch, high-service” retail. It places great emphasis on enhancing the customer experience by cutting down on wait times, expanding employee expertise and optimizing in-store operations.

Focal System said it has raised more than $40 million in venture capital funding and claims that its technology delivers a 50x return on investment.

“As the groundswell of AI and computer vision adoption takes hold across retail and grocery, early adopters like Metropolitan Market will see optimizations and enhancements across the in-store experience for customers, and in the backroom for staff, completely transforming the shopping experience and separating them from other retailers in the industry,” Francois Chaubard, Focal Systems’ founder and chief executive officer, said in a statement.

supermarket news logoThis piece originally appeared on Supermarket News, a New Hope Network sister website. Visit the site for more grocery trends and insights.


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