Digital Transformation is next on the retail industry innovation list. Online retailers are enticing shoppers with “anywhere any time” shopping, faster delivery, personalized products and simple returns. Customers are not satisfied with items that are “out-of-stock” in physical stores and it has currently become a big challenge in the retail industry. Internal process failures, resource constraints, and data disconnects contribute to some of the reasons behind in store experience problems. Since ecommerce cannot deliver the visual and sensory experience that shopping in physical stores provides, retailers are looking for ways to optimize the in-store experience by implementing innovative technologies like Smart Shelves. Refill inventory from stock rooms as it gets depleted from the store shelf, Inform the buying group of the demand and out-of-stock situation,  Inform warehouse / direct shipment vendor for immediate replenishment. Smart shelves are electronically connected shelves that automatically keep track of inventory in a retail store. The Smart shelves technology benefits both the customers’ shopping experience and the retailers’ selling experience. The smart shelf will enable the inventory and store to: Enables the business owners to make more informed decisions, Real-time tracking of inventory stock situation, Provides real time analysis of data, Enables retailers to stock larger quantities of fast moving products, Reduces the number of slow moving items, Enables manufacturers and retailers to reward shopper loyalty.

How Smart Shelves Work in Physical Stores. Smart shelves are wireless inventory control systems that are fitted with weight sensors. The weight sensors are built-in the shelf itself or installed under normal shelves. These weight sensors consistently notify the back-end system about the existing quantity of items on the shelves. These wireless devices use RFID tags and readers to scan the products in the display and stock shelves. Store associates are alerted when product levels are running low or when a theft is detected. They also trigger the back-end system about items that do not belong to certain shelves “misplaced items”.  The smart shelves provide retailers with various ways of improving their customer service, increasing sales and reducing cart abandonment. Features of Smart Shelves: Inventory Automation, Inventory management is essential to manage costs, measure shrink and improve the customer shopping experience in retail. With smart shelves technology, retailers can automatically track the stocked goods and make sure there is enough inventory to avoid being “out-of-stock”.  Real-Time Inventory Management, Real time inventory management allows retailers to make better decisions, save time and increase in-store sales. Smart shelves allow real-time, accurate management of inventory data to help retailers optimize in-store sales with the timely refilling of stock.  Remote Monitoring Provision, The remote monitoring provision allows retailers to keep track of the inside of the store from a remote location. The remote monitoring capabilities of Smart Shelves helps to quickly identify and fix problems inside the store before impacting the customers. All hardware runs with automatic remote alerting and dispatching capability to insure non-stop operation.

Features of Smart Shelves: Stock Availability Assessment – Having stock available when customers ask for it is critical for any retail stores. Smart shelves technology enables automated tracking of stock availability and informs retail stores if the items are running low or if they have been misplaced.  Cross and Up-Selling for Out-of -Stock Items – Cross and upselling happens when there is a shortage of products for which customers are looking. With smart shelves technology, retailers can offer customers better or complementary products instead of what they are currently interested in if that item is out-of-stock.  Offline Model Working – Stores need to be able to function in offline mode sometimes. Smart shelves will also work in offline scenarios.  Hardware Compatibility – The hardware associated with smart shelves is compatible with any mobile network provider, any radio frequency (RF) devices, and any language.

Smart Shelf Technology Infographic

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