Automation is a hot topic this year for retail. From apps that allow you to scan groceries as you shop and pay on your phone, to self-checkout units, more retailers are turning to technology to increase proficiency.  Customer service has always played a considerable role in the retail market, and with the aid of technology, companies can spend more time assisting customers one on one. The latest trend to come out of automation technology is the “connected supermarket,” which has been growing in recent months.

A concept that started with Amazon Go, where customers could walk into a location, pick up an item, be automatically charged for it, and be done, has now spread to other retailers. Though no one else has gone to quite that extreme, many retailers, especially grocery chains, are using technology to boost customer service.

Walmart opened the first connected market by utilizing sensor technology and interactive displays to create a more enjoyable and proficient shopping environment. Earlier this year Kroger became the latest grocer to take advantage of automation by opening two pilot stores driven by connected technology. Partnering with Microsoft’s Azure, each of Kroger’s shelves will have sensors and digital pricing tags. Consumers will be able to make an online shopping list, and the app will guide the shopper through the store to each item on their list.

It is clear that automation is the future of retail. With connected supermarkets, digital assistants, interactive destinations, and self-checkout systems, retailers can combat the rise in online shopping by making the in-store experience easier and more enjoyable than ever before.