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The ‘supermarket of the future’ makes its debut — in Italy


Coop Italia, Italy’s largest supermarket chain, is looking to reinvent the customer experience in grocery shopping.

In collaboration with Accenture, the retailer has opened a flagship in Milan that merges the physical and digital to recreate the atmosphere of local open-air markets. Billed as the “supermarket of the future,” the store uses innovative digital solutions that provide product information, improve store navigation and engage customers.

The implementation of interactive food display tables and smart shelves make shopping more relevant and personalized by providing customers with a range of product information. (The project incorporates a series of technical solutions originally developed by Accenture for Coop at Expo Milano 2015, based on designs by MIT professor and head of Carlo Ratti Association, Carlo Ratti.)

Coop’s “supermarket of the future” includes:

• Interactive tables: Products are exhibited in the supermarket on large interactive tables where a simple movement of the hand shows augmented information about the product on a monitor, including its origins, nutritional facts, the presence of allergens, waste disposal instructions, related products and promotions. The experience is made possible by Microsoft Kinect sensors that use body detection to interpret a customer’s gestures.

• Vertical shelving: The traditional layout of the shelving has been rethought with a touch application, which enables the customer to navigate through product categories, to filter and search for the most suitable products, view detailed product information and discover promotions.

• Real time data visualization: During the shopping trip, the customer can take a look at a large, real-time data visualization screen showing such content as special daily offerings and cooking suggestions, social media information including posts on Coop’s Facebook account, and top selling products and promotions in each product category.

Accenture helped Coop to completely redesign the supermarket’s information architecture. Working with Avanade, a joint venture company between Accenture and Microsoft, Accenture helped implement the IT infrastructure, and analyze and develop point-of-sale touch-points.

The result is a modular and flexible solution, underpinned by a Microsoft Azure cloud-based platform that can be easily scaled to a large number of stores.

“Through Coop’s Supermarket of the Future, we are bringing to life how the physical and the digital are capable of converging to create an engaging and immersive grocery shopping experience,” said Alberto Pozzi, managing director in Accenture’s Retail Practice in Italy. “Coop is shaping the future of supermarkets by combining hyper personalization, deep product information and connected devices in-line with customer buying journeys. We are looking forward to continued collaboration and bringing future innovation straight into the hands of Coop’s customers.”

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