Woolworths' latest digital developments

Nick Miles
Head of Insight - Asia Pacific
@RetailAnalysis

Date : 24 September 2020

As Woolworths in Australia continues to drive digital innovation in its business through its X functions, we round up four of its latest developments...

New digital, media and creative hub

Woolworths will move its WooliesX and BigWX functions, media business cartology and creative agency Greenhouse, powered by M&C Saatchi, into a new building on Sydney's Elizabeth Street in Surrey Hills. The location is opposite the existing WooliesX office and will help Woolworths bring together all of these relatively new and innovative Australian business functions. A key part of Woolworths strategy is to drive business adjacencies and clearly consolidating these in the same location will help. The location, central to Sydney, will also likely help the retailer attract the talent that it will want to recruit as these functions grow.

New Cartology screens rolling out to Dan Murphy's

After rolling out Cartology digital screens to the front of almost all of its supermarkets in FY20, the retailer has now started doing the same at its Dan Murphy' stores. It plans to introduce 228 screens at the entrance to Dan Murphy's stores, allowing brands to purchase the space and provide timely and relevant communication as shoppers enter. The roll out will take place over the coming months, with screens installed in Victoria as COVID-19 restrictions ease. Although currently it appears that these screens show similar messages across its estate, Woolworths has previously expressed that it will use them to drive more localised messaging in the future. 

Cleaning robots coming to a store near you...

Woolworths continues to look to test and roll out new smart technology into its stores. Since last year it has been testing cleaning robots in a handful of stores in Sydney, but these have now been spotted in stores in Melbourne and Newcastle. The robots detect hazards and clean up spills, plus scan stock levels, with information fed back to staff. Greater automation, such as AI enabled weighing scales, Scan & Go being rolled out to more stores and the introduction of its first eStores in conjuction with TakeOff in FY21, show how Woolworths is innovating at pace.

New tech to help control customer flow at Christmas

With it looking increasingly likely that Christmas 2020 will be impacted by COVID-19, retailers globally will be thinking how they can meet demand, protect sales and ensure safety for staff and shoppers. Woolworths is testing new 3D cameras at the entrances of 10 Melbourne stores to monitor the number of customers within a store at one time. The tech will mean that staff will not have to manually count customer numbers, but automatically alert the store team to implement queuing once a store reaches capacity. To protect shopper privacy, the images will not be used to identify customers and will only be stored locally for a short time. The technology follows on from the Q-Tracker app that Woolworths launched earlier this year, allowing shoppers to monitor how busy a store is and even book a shopping slot.