Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

With their high volume foot traffic, grocery stores are ideal labs to test bold ideas meant to save brick and mortar retail.

China's Alibaba is leading the way. In its Hema supermarkets shoppers can choose groceries in store, then get them delivered, or they can order online, then drive over to pick up.

  • In the U.S., Kroger has partnered with Microsoft to roll out grocery stores with LED shelves that reflect sale prices in real time and sensors that track which shelves need to be restocked.
  • Grocery logistics is a new business. The Kroger-Microsoft prototype also allows the stores to accept and quickly fulfill online orders. The partners plan to monetize by selling the tech to other retailers.

Be smart: The dystopian human-less grocery store of the future isn't coming soon — it's just too creepy.

"There will definitely be skepticism around it. It feels a little like big brother. Are they going to be monitoring me in the store?," says Barbara Denham, a senior economist at Reis, a commercial real estate analytics firm owned by Moody's.

Special report: The future of retail

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Updated 31 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

  1. Politics: Pence chief of staff Marc Short tests positive for coronavirus — COVID-19 looms over White House Halloween celebrations.
  2. Health: Fauci says maybe we should mandate masks if people don't wear them — America was sick well before it ever got COVID-19.
  3. World: Polish President Andrzej Duda tests positive for COVID-19.
What Matters 2020

The missed opportunities for 2020 and beyond

Photo illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios. Photos: Jason Armond (Los Angeles Times), Noam Galai, Jabin Botsford (The Washington Post), Alex Wong/Getty Images

As the 2020 presidential campaign draws to a close, President Trump and Joe Biden have focused little on some of the most sweeping trends that will outlive the fights of the moment.

Why it matters: Both have engaged on some issues, like climate change and China, on their own terms, and Biden has addressed themes like economic inequality that work to his advantage. But others have gone largely unmentioned — a missed opportunity to address big shifts that are changing the country.

Pence chief of staff Marc Short tests positive for coronavirus

Marc Short with Katie Miller, Vice President Pence's communications director, in March. Photo: Doug Mills/The New York Times via Reuters

Marc Short, Vice President Mike Pence’s chief of staff, tested positive for the coronavirus Saturday and is quarantining, according to a White House statement.

Why it matters: Short is Pence's closest aide, and was one of the most powerful forces on the White House coronavirus task force.

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