- The Fresh Market has expanded its tie-up with Invafresh, which runs a platform to automate demand forecasting, to service all of its categories across its entire fleet of 159 stores, according to an emailed press release.
- In a separate announcement this week, the specialty grocery chain has expanded the rollout of voice communication technology from VoCoVo to 44 stores to enhance in-store communication between workers. The grocer also installed VoCoVo’s keypad devices across six checkouts in all of its stores to let employees call a manager or request a price check.
- The Fresh Market’s expanded tech partnerships come at a time when grocers have been focused on improving in-store efficiencies.
The Fresh Market has now deployed the Invafresh Fresh Retail Platform across its entire grocery operations, from the perimeter to center store, following a successful rollout of the technology across the grocer’s fresh food business in 2021, per the announcement.
Invafresh takes care of the chain’s retail operations including inventory management, replenishment, compliance and sustainability with its artificial intelligence demand forecasting.
Invafresh’s technology has led to more accurate projections, improving product availability and freeing up the overall capital holding in backrooms, John Bishop, group vice president of operations at The Fresh Market, said in a statement.
“By leveraging our Fresh Retail Platform, they’ve been able to realize labor efficiencies through automating ordering and production decisions and redistributing that labor into serving their guests,” Invafresh CEO Tim Spencer said in the announcement.
With the VoCoVo partnership, The Fresh Market workers use wireless headsets to communicate with each other across store departments, allowing employees to participate in group conversations.
The announcement noted that the voice technology aims to provide better speed and service quality. Team members can speak to the cashier via the keypad to address requests from anywhere in the store.
The Fresh Market trialed VoCoVo’s voice communication system at one of its stores in Greensboro, North Carolina, in July. Previously, the chain had not used any voice communication technology. The grocery chain plans to add more VoCoVo communication devices to 116 more stores in the coming months, per the press release.
With 159 stores spanning 22 states, The Fresh Market has made headway in innovating its shopper experience with in-store and digital changes. The chain is working with live commerce platform Firework on shoppable content. In March, the grocer unveiled its first-ever loyalty program called the Ultimate Loyalty Experience, which then achieved the milestone of 1 million members just seven months later.
Earlier this year, South American retailer Cencosud acquired a majority stake in The Fresh Market for $676 million with the existing shareholders, including the Apollo Funds, the Berry family and company management, remaining as minority stakeholders. A few weeks after the acquisition announcement, The Fresh Market scrapped its plans to go public, withdrawing the SEC filing it made in 2021 as a step toward an initial public offering.
Correction: An earlier version of this story reported incorrect information that was in the original VoCoVo partnership press release about how The Fresh Market workers can use the technology.