New Business Ideas: Super Supermarkets

Future Store - Photo by Metro AG

Supermarkets in the future will be very different from the way we know them today.

Modern technology has allowed us to re-invent the way we shop and pay for our groceries and daily essentials. Here are some highlights to pique your imagination:

  • At Price Chopper’s Burlington store, checkout lanes are equipped with automated “Easy Scan Checkout” machines. Only a few employees are present to verify age for alcohol purchases, witness credit card transactions and assist shoppers. Customers manage their own checkout. They weigh their vegetables, scan the barcodes, package the food, and pay via cash or credit cards at the automated self-checkout machines. Shoppers are reporting a greater sense of participation and achievement with this self-checkout concept.


  • Europe’s Metro AG is revolutionizing the shopping experience by introducing cutting-edge technologies at its Future Store in Germany. At the supermarket, you’ll receive a device called the Personal Shopping Assistant which allows you to manage your own shopping. Your recent shopping history can be easily retrieved, and you can even use the intelligent scales that recognize, weigh and price fruit and vegetables automatically. Interactive multimedia kiosks are located throughout the supermart so that you can obtain detailed information easily.
  • Pick n’ Save Metro Market in San Francisco (USA) has rolled out a new payment service to allow its customers to Pay By Touch. At check-out terminals, shoppers scan their finger, enter a search code, swipe rewards cards and/or payment cards, and add their checking account information to build a personal Pay By Touch wallet, which is stored at secure IBM data centers. Next time you shop, simply do a finger scan to pay for all your purchases conveniently.

Have you seen any smart, innovative technology being utilized in your local supermarkets?

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This New Business Ideas Report is compiled specially for Small Business Trends from the editors of


10 Reactions
  1. Very cool business ideas! The local supermarkets here in Sweden are not up to par compared with international standard. Mainly due the general low service level and the notion that the customers aren’t interested in this kind of service. My guess is that it could pop up some feature with wireless internet access with terminals placed around the store.

  2. I shun self checkouts. If they expect me to do all the work I expect at least a 5% discount.

    I have noticed they are expanding the self checkouts to support unlimited items now. So I have to scan it, look up item numbers, bag it, I don’t think so. Not without compensation.

  3. Ron,

    Here in Sweden you have to put the goods in the bag by yourself. I agree that a discount of the price could be an attractive offer in order to do some of the store’s ordinary procedure.

  4. My husband and I love self checkouts at our local grocery store. It goes much faster and you don’t have to deal with unpleasant employees. It is a lot more difficult when I’m by myself though. Definitely a two person deal.

  5. Ron, I am with you. I too shun self checkouts.I think an automated 5% should be taken off total when doing so. As Amanda says, it is a two person deal so the one person saves no time at all. Take the cashier any time.

  6. Amanda & EJMalyn: Don’t think that the do-it-yourself checkout is mainly for the single household, doing small purchases now and then? I thought it was pretty fun to do it yourself, but it was probably the “geek” in me that had a blast… 😉 I appreciate the cashier service and that the bags (why without handles?!;) are taken care off by helpers at the end of the conveyor belt.

  7. I was at Meijer last night in the Detroit area, they didn’t have any cashiers open at all, it was ALL self checkout. I made the guy who runs the self checkout area check me out. I made it clear someone would check me out and bag my food or I’m leaving the cart there to rot.

    I’m not doing someone else’s job for free.


  8. Ron,

    I remember Meijer from my time in Ohio. They had their own gas station and you got free petrol if you bought at certain amount.

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    Thanks for this list, it was exactly what I was looking for.

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