Research: Young consumers want smarter, better supermarkets

Young consumers want more information about products while they are shopping, preferably delivered by smartphone, according to a survey conducted by research firm Quotas. Customers want to do more shopping faster, broadcaster NOS reported.

An Albert Heijn in Eindhoven is used as a demonstration ground for how near-field communication "beacons" and tablets may address future needs. The devices occupy space all over the store. These beacons are a type of sensor that works via Bluetooth to help aid shoppers in locating products, and may also be used to ask for assistance.

Shop assistants can be called using a tablet, a signal is sent to the beacon nearest the employee and the customer is informed of how long it will take for the employee to get to them.

Store manager Bert van Brakel said that the future holds many new opportunities with these beacons, like displaying future products right on the shelf. But for this function, an app might need to be installed, he told NOS.

This has raised concern with Hanz de Zwart of Bits of Freedom, who said that with the technology the supermarket could track you and your movements, an unacceptable violation of privacy. De Zwart says that he wants more transparency on the Albert Heijn website regarding this new technology.