• Kroger is rolling out new technology to stores that's designed to make grocery shopping easier than ever before.
  • The technology communicates with customers' smartphones and uses emoji-like icons to highlight products on their shopping lists as they walk down store aisles, helping them quickly select items in a sea of similar-looking products.
  • It also allows Kroger to better manage out-of-stock items and rapidly change prices using digital price displays.
  • Kroger worked with Microsoft to develop the technology. The companies announced on Monday that they were marketing it to other retailers globally.

Kroger is rolling out new technology to its stores that could change grocery shopping as we know it.

The technology, which digitally displays pricing and nutritional information, video ads, and coupons, is installed on store shelves where paper price tags hang. The digital shelving is being tested throughout two pilot stores and has been rolled out to about 100 Kroger stores' end caps, an industry term for the space at the end of store aisles.

The digital price tags give Kroger the ability to instantly change prices and activate promotions across its stores, enabling it to undercut sales at other retailers and freeing up employees who would otherwise change prices by hand.

The technology also communicates with customers' smartphones to help them complete their shopping lists.

Here's how it works.

As customers move through a Kroger store's aisles, digital price tags will light up with a personalized icon that signifies an item on their shopping list.

As customers move through a Kroger store's aisles, digital price tags will light up with a personalized icon that signifies an item on their shopping list.Kroger

The icon, such as a pumpkin, is selected by the customer and stored in their shopper profile.

The icon, such as a pumpkin, is selected by the customer and stored in their shopper profile.Kroger

Customers can scan items using their smartphones as they place them in their carts.

Customers can scan items using their smartphones as they place them in their carts.Kroger

This allows them to bypass checkout lines when they're done shopping.

This allows them to bypass checkout lines when they're done shopping.Kroger

They can also scan products using a handheld device provided by Kroger.

They can also scan products using a handheld device provided by Kroger.Kroger

When a shopper is done scanning an item, an app will show them where to find the next product on their list.

When a shopper is done scanning an item, an app will show them where to find the next product on their list.Kroger

The app will also show them coupons and ads.

The app will also show them coupons and ads.Kroger

It can even help customers select items based on their dietary restrictions. "If you are standing in front of nutrition bars and you are gluten-free, we would highlight for you, in your color of choice, which of the gluten-free bars are good for you," Kroger's chief information officer, Chris Hjelm, told Business Insider in an interview last year.

It can even help customers select items based on their dietary restrictions. Kroger

The technology was developed with Microsoft Azure, Microsoft's cloud-computing service. Kroger and Microsoft announced Monday that they were marketing it to other retailers globally.

The technology was developed with Microsoft Azure, Microsoft's cloud-computing service. Kroger and Microsoft announced Monday that they were marketing it to other retailers globally.Kroger

The technology should be particularly helpful for Kroger employees picking and packing customers' online orders.

The technology should be particularly helpful for Kroger employees picking and packing customers' online orders.Kroger

Hjelm said that during a pilot test, the light-up tags drastically cut down on the amount of time it took employees complete online orders.

Hjelm said that during a pilot test, the light-up tags drastically cut down on the amount of time it took employees complete online orders.Kroger

This could give Kroger an advantage over Amazon as demand grows for curbside grocery pickup. Amazon recently started rolling out curbside pickup from Whole Foods stores.

This could give Kroger an advantage over Amazon as demand grows for curbside grocery pickup. Amazon recently started rolling out curbside pickup from Whole Foods stores.Kroger

-- This post originally appeared on  Business Insider.

Published on: Jan 8, 2019