AI-Assisted Produce Ordering Streamlines Operations & Boosts Sales

Mar 20, 2024

Data. It's a general term that encompasses so much that it can seem trite and meaningless. Just like loads of data itself, if we're not using, managing, or even organizing it effectively, data can be overwhelming. 

Look at the spreadsheets grocery department heads manage: rows and columns aplenty, tabs upon tabs upon tabs. It's a wonder these department heads have time for anything other than managing spreadsheets.

And while data itself drives technological innovation, it's often only accessible by large corporations with financing to spare. But the team behind EmpowerFresh, the Independent Grocers Alliance's new Red Oval Partner, has found a way to help independent grocers use tech innovation to manage their produce data so that produce managers can get away from the spreadsheets and spend more time doing the rest of their jobs.

"We can assemble the data they have — access last week's ad plan, or last month's sales data — so the produce director can do their job better and streamline it," Robert Austin, president of EmpowerFresh, said in The Produce Industry Podcast.

The technology is a big win for the independent grocery industry, as the platform streamlines operations, optimizes inventory levels, and — since any staff member can write a daily order using the data in the platform — it can help with labor shortages.

We spoke with Austin about how the EmpowerFresh platform boosts efficiency in the produce department, and how independents grocers benefit from this new partnership. Keep reading for more information.

Tell us about EmpowerFresh.

EmpowerFresh is an SaaS platform designed by fresh produce experts for independent retailers' produce departments. Our comprehensive suite of tools include:

  • AI-assisted ordering
  • Ad writing tools
  • Competitor price indexing
  • And more

We understand the unique challenges faced by independent retailers, and our goal is to empower them with the technology and resources needed to thrive in today's competitive market and win the key department on the fresh perimeter, which is the key differentiator versus corporate chains and discounters.

Can you give us examples of how those tools work?

We use retailers' own data to optimize some of the most important tasks for both produce managers and directors.

For example, with our AI-assisted order guide, any staff member can write a daily order with the confidence of your best produce hand. So the manager can spend more time on the floor merchandising, visiting with customers, and building relationships – focusing more on management.

And they can count on:

  • Better inventory turnover
  • Less waste and spoiled products
  • More fresh product
  • An efficient cooler-to-shelf system

Imagine placing an order with all the pertinent information at your fingertips on an easy to use tablet that makes daily ordering a snap! 

Another example is our ad writing tool. With many produce directors writing ads weekly for multiple banners, we have simplified the process for them. Our tool uses your seasonal, price point, ad, and display history to forecast needs and financial predictability needed to give the most impact in ads, so they can drive bigger baskets and win total store shops! 

Why is the independent sector important to EmpowerFresh and your business?

Independent retailers pride themselves on offering personalized experiences and competitive pricing that larger chains often struggle to match. By empowering these independent retailers with our advanced technology and resources, we enable them to continue delivering exceptional value to their customers.

Our goal is to support the independent sector in maintaining its reputation for outstanding customer service and affordability, ensuring that consumers have access to high-quality fresh products at competitive prices. Ultimately, by strengthening the independent sector, we contribute to a retail landscape that prioritizes customer satisfaction and affordability, benefiting consumers across communities.

How can EmpowerFresh help IGA grocers drive sales?

Our AI-assisted ordering system optimizes inventory levels, ensuring that IGA grocers always have the right products in stock to meet customer demand. Additionally, our ad writing tools enable them to create compelling marketing campaigns that resonate with their target audience, driving foot traffic and increasing sales.

How can IGA retailers engage with EmpowerFresh for success?

IGA retailers who sign up for our platform gain access to personalized support and training to ensure they get the most out of our platform and achieve success in their produce departments. And because we regularly update our platform with new features and enhancements based on feedback from our users, these retailers always have access to the latest innovations in retail technology.

What can IGA retailers expect from this partnership?

IGA retailers can expect a range of benefits from partnering with EmpowerFresh, including discounts on our platform of 5%, exclusive offers on premium features, and ongoing education and support. We are committed to helping IGA retailers succeed, and our partnership is built on a foundation of mutual trust and collaboration. By working together, we can drive growth and profitability for IGA grocers while delivering exceptional value to their customers.

Ready to learn more? Check with your wholesaler to see if they have a partnership with EmpowerFresh, or contact the EmpowerFresh team directly at or (816)915-3000. 

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