It seems that everywhere we turn, the world is transforming digitally, and your local supermarket may be next. We are all used to “non-digital” supermarket shelves – but digital supermarket shelves are likely to be the way of the future. This is because they can benefit both consumers and supermarket retailers, so it is a win / win situation. Here it is: Smart supermarket shelves – a shopping change.
How Smart Supermarket Shelves Can Benefit Consumers
Major potential benefits for consumers over the ability of supermarket shelves operated to interact with smartphones. This can create a personalized shopping experience for consumers.
Consider these two possible applications of smart supermarket shelf technology:
1) A digital signal that can display relevant promotions for a shopkeeper as they used to walk in the past. This promotion can be triggered by groceries that the customer has purchased in the supermarket in the past and by supermarket shelf sensors interacting with the customer’s smartphone to find out when they were approaching the shelf.
Consumer demographic data (such as age, gender, and cultural background) can also be used to trigger individual supermarket shelf performance information.
2) A smartphone shopping list facility where customers can be provided to digitally and automatically operate, smart supermarket shelving, the grocery items on their list.
What about consumer privacy issues?
Of course, there are always concerns when commercial organizations collect consumer information. Those concerns usually center on how that information will be used by the organization that is collecting it. For example, according to recent research conducted by PwC, 43% of US consumers say they will not give their personal information (such as the history, location, and age of their purchase) to companies to allow for more personalized experiences.
However, 63% of American consumers in the same PwC study stated that they would be open to sharing their personal information in exchange for a product or service that they really value. These findings demonstrate the importance of retailers, such as supermarkets highlighting the consumer benefits of smart-shelf technology.
Benefits for supermarket retailers
Potential benefits of supermarket shelves operated for retailers include:
Data-driven inventory management that enables automatic tracking of in-store stock levels. For example, out-of-stock alerts may be sent to the respective supermarket staff to restore and reorder. Efficient restocking and reordering can help increase sales by ensuring appropriate inventory levels.
Being able to use and update electronic price tags easily and quickly, saving time compared to manually pricing stocks and eliminating the need for price checks.
Ability to use flexible digital signals in the market for grocery shoppers in real time. For example, in-store promotions that can be quickly and easily adjusted to changing circumstances, such as new product launches or seasonal marketing campaigns. Many supermarkets are impulse buying items, so the power of giving relevant, personal information to supermarket consumers should not be underestimated.
Ability to generate detailed analysis on consumer shopping behavior by managers and other supermarket employees to inform store sales. For example, customer foot traffic patterns to show where the stock should ideally be located to maximize sales.
Preventing or reducing theft.
Internet of Things (IoT) technology that enables smart supermarket shelf technology
Key IoT technology that enables supermarkets to distribute the benefits of shelf technology include:
Electronic Shelf Label (ESL)
Supermarket retailers that use ESL will no longer manually price the item. Instead, their prices will be displayed digitally, allowing items to be retrieved quickly and easily (for example, when they are ‘on sale’ at low prices for a limited period to stimulate consumer demand ‘Go’).
ESL may also allow retailers to reduce product wastage quickly and easily, with the price of items being reduced when they are approaching their expiration date. Again, this strategy can stimulate consumer demand.
Radio-frequency identification (RFID) tag
RFID tags transmit and receive data using radio waves. They can be used to help inventory management or alert employees if a shopkeeper or staff member puts an item on the wrong shelf.
Weight sensors also assist with inventory management to detect when a product is removed on a supermarket shelf or when consumers move to a certain area of the store.