Briggo and Trigo

Luxury brands tend to create their value through intellectual property, marketing and engagement. With a few notable exceptions, the grocery brands create value through efficient operations, bargaining power over suppliers and dominant distribution channels. For this reason, whilst the future of some shops might be experiential, most supermarkets will for the time being continue to focus on scale, efficiency, convenience and cost leadership. In the modern age, this inevitably requires consideration of robotics and digital automation. There are two recent and different examples of this. Firstly, Tesco has disclosed an investment in Trigo Vision. Trigo uses ceiling mounted cameras to create a 3D image of the shop floor, which maps the movement of every object in the store. Neural networks then identify those items, allowing the shopper to check out without check-outs, a la Amazon Go. As the number of propositions build in this space, the areas currently dedicated to checkouts will quickly become redundant, along with any staff performing those functions. Meanwhile, Whole Foods has announced that it is rolling out a different type of automation. In partnership with Briggo coffee, they will be installing a ‘Connected Coffee’ robot barista proposition in their Houston Midtown store. The robot can apparently brew coffee to exacting standards, made to order; attitude is optional. The 160,000 baristas in the UK might rightly feel concerned.