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How a grocery store is using technology to disrupt the market

Application Development Done Right
By Larry Salomon

Developing code, without considering either the current or future needs of the end user, can cause frustration and result in customer churn, which ultimately means lower revenues. In this blog, I'd like to describe something simple I came across that demonstrates how to avoid these pitfalls.

Using Technology to Get Ahead
Recently, we had a severe snowstorm with blizzard-like conditions, which is unheard of in central New Jersey. Being responsible adults, my wife and I went to the grocery store to stock up on essentials (read: chips, chocolate, etc.) in case we got stuck at home.

At the checkout, the cashier mentioned to us that the store has a mobile application. Since both of us are technology oriented professionals, we were skeptical about the need for a grocery store mobile application. But then the cashier told us two things that immediately caught our attention:

  1. The application will allow us to search for a specific item and see if the store at which we shop carries the item. It will also tell us in which aisle and where in that aisle the item will be located.

  2. We can associate digital coupons with the application so that we don't have to worry about collecting those strips of paper that spew out whenever we scan our loyalty card at other grocery chains, (much less keep them organized, etc.) All we need to do is scan a single QR code at the register; the appropriate coupons are consumed and the savings automatically applied to our bill.

These two features are enough for us to justify the 25 minute drive to this particular chain, which previously is something we've only done once every two months at best. This is in spite of the fact that there are two major chains (without digital capabilities like those mentioned above) currently within five minutes of our house.

Creating the Right Environment to Realize a Vision
Although it's possible for these capabilities to have simply "sprung from the head of Zeus," it's more likely that the software development methodology facilitated this wonderful end result. Implementing methodologies such as Test Driven Development and Behavior Driven Development provide a constant feedback loop, which gives the developers a chance to see user behaviors in near real time and make changes as needed.

Of course, this feedback loop is useless without a mechanism to deploy new builds of applications fast enough to keep up with the rate of change in their development. This is where release automation comes into play.  A fully implemented, fully automated CICD process is essential for ensuring companies can develop at the "speed of change" so that they aren't overtaken by the competition.

While our grocery bill won't do much to add to the bottom line of this particular chain, if you multiply the effect it's had on us by the number of people like us who are hearing about it for the first time, you can see how this could have an impact. And this is possible only because someone took the time to consider the shopping experience; how it could be improved in a very real way for their customers and then providing the necessary structure internally to give the development teams the ability to fully realize their vision.

Read the original blog entry...

More Stories By Automic Blog

Automic, a leader in business automation, helps enterprises drive competitive advantage by automating their IT factory - from on-premise to the Cloud, Big Data and the Internet of Things.

With offices across North America, Europe and Asia-Pacific, Automic powers over 2,600 customers including Bosch, PSA, BT, Carphone Warehouse, Deutsche Post, Societe Generale, TUI and Swisscom. The company is privately held by EQT. More information can be found at www.automic.com.

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