Fresh Thyme Market to adopt Tampa-based Touch-Less Aisle technology

Cornerstone Consulting, a Tampa-based software firm, says its ELI technology is getting embraced by grocers in a time when touching is considered taboo.

“Technology has caught up to the concept [of touchless],” says David Williams, executive vice president of business development for Cornerstone Consulting.

Fresh Thyme Market, an organic and health-focused grocer in the Midwest, announced it would be adding Touch-Less Aisle Browsing using ELI codes to its Natural Living Shelf tags in November.

ELI codes, a technology Cornerstone used to develop its Touch-Less Aisle product, are advanced QR codes that, when scanned, provide the consumer with all the product information and content related to the product.

ELI technology is a more refined version of the QR code, allowing a consumer to scan a code and be directed to that product’s information, versus being taken to a site that then needs more action to get to the desired information, Williams says.

“By adding ELI codes to our shelf tags, we will be helping our shoppers make better-informed decisions in-store while allowing our supplier partners to provide digital content to best present their products to our shoppers, as well as educating our knowledgeable in-store team members,” said Jonathan Lawrence, senior director of grocery and natural living for Fresh Thyme Market, in a statement to vendor partners.

There may not have been a better year for adopters of Touch-Less technology. In the past seven months, people have been told to wash their hands frequently and avoid touching surfaces.

In a grocery store setting, especially for the health-conscious shopper who reads labels, every product touched and put back has the potential to be contaminated, Williams says.

According to the Centers for Disease Control, COVID can linger on carboard up to 24 hours.

“Retail is changing,” Williams says. “We believe this is very transformational.”

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