In our last article, we discussed Omni-Channel Retailing and how connecting all of the channels can benefit retailers. Because 93% of all purchases in the US are still made in brick and mortar stores, this channel is where the greatest digital transformation opportunities exist.
Imagine the ideal physical shopping experience: The consumer enters a store and finds it perfectly lit, temperature controlled, and welcoming. The floor plan is laid out in an intuitive and easy to navigate manner. Every item is appropriately stocked on the shelves and racks, in every size and every color the retailer carries. The staff is available and competent. The checkout process is fast and painless.
Now imagine that the technology exists for you to deliver this shopping experience to your customers today. Further imagine that the technology also exists to continually adjust this experience based on evolving customer needs and trends. It does exist; and customers are expecting you to do exactly that.relayr believes that the first step toward a fully optimized retail environment is digitally transforming standard shelves into smart shelves.
Digitally Enabled Smart Shelves.
With smart shelf technology, the time it takes to get Shelf Data into your company’s Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) system would be reduced from 30 days or longer to mere seconds. For the first time, the technology exists for businesses to easily and inexpensively capture and analyze, in real time, any combination and correlation of an environment’s temperature, noise, humidity, movement, color, geography, size, weight, and utilization. This is especially exciting for retail environments, which are constantly changing.
Optimize Merchandise Stock Levels
One of the biggest challenges retailers face is customer dissatisfaction due to out of stock items. Consumer surveys have found that 50% of customers will simply go to another store if their preferred items are out of stock at their current retailer. This results in lost sales and lost customer loyalty.
Smart shelves are the solution to this challenge. From the shoe shelf to the walk in cooler, and every area in between, smart shelves can report real time data to the ERP. This means you can see exactly how much product is in stock at any given moment, automate alerts or reordering when levels reach a certain threshold, and prevent restocking items that are underperforming.
Because product placement is such a critical and time consuming part of retail planning, this is another area that smart shelves can dramatically benefit retailers. With real time data being reported from smart shelves, product placement teams can drastically reduce the time it takes to analyze merchandise layouts, track the results of changes, make minor modifications, or plan for major reorganizations. This data can also be used to fully optimize each individual location for its customer base.
For retailers that are ready to start digitally optimizing their locations, the idea of development costs and time can be daunting. The good news is that with sensor kits like Wunderbar, and relayr’s innovation acceleration, you can have a cost effective, customized prototype retro-fit kit developed in weeks, and a solution fully rolled out in less than three months.
In the remaining article of this series, we’ll look at some of the hurdles major retailers are facing that Smart Shelf technology can alleviate.