The shopping experience worldwide is being transformed allowing to technological evolution. While shopping one now has to start paying more attention to the supermarket shelves because they are changing rapidly. Soon, when we are walking by a rack filled with produce, it is going to have electronic labels, RFID technology, personalized advertisements and internet of things (IoT) sensors. Smart shelves with digital displays are making their ways into the supermarkets at a fast pace as retailers replace paper labels with the advanced technology.
Whenever we walk into a supermarket, we see the shelves stocked with white paper labels that display the prices and discounts on the particular item one wants to purchase. Electronic tags are all set to eliminate all the paper and will make it easier to change the prices or discount rates. It can be noted that Kroger has already implemented the use of EDGE, which is a cloud-based display solution for shelves. Kroger EDGE demonstrates prices, nutritional data, advertisements, videos, and coupons. Imagine standing in front of a milk display and immediately comparing nutritional information among different brands while getting a flashing coupon that can be scanned with the phone.
Smart shelves can communicate with applications on a customer’s smartphone. For example, sensors installed in the racks can inform the customers on approaching them the deal on the same bread that might have been purchased last week. Additionally, if one is using a store’s app to create a shopping list, the smart shelves can communicate with the menu and show the consumer where to find the items they want. Though there are privacy and data collection concerns, some customers will share their personal information and purchase history to get a good deal.
A radio frequency identification reader (RFID) is armed with a tag that contains a reader, microchip and antenna to transmit and receive data. RFID uses radio waves to determine items and communicate information about them. In supermarkets, RFID technology can assist retailers to manage as well as track inventory. RFID tags can alert store associates when someone has put the wrong items on a shelf or when the shelves are empty and need restocking or. RFID tags on every item combined with robotic checkouts can automatically scan any purchases and make shopping faster.
Internet of things (IoT) sensors have enough potential uses in a supermarket, and one of the most basic is temperature control. IoT sensors can keep the temperatures in freezers and cases under check to make sure they are correct before a fluctuation ruins all the ice cream or makes the meat dangerous to sell. IoT can also collect data from smart shelves and transmit it to store associates for analysis. This technology can also assist supermarkets to understand which products appeal to consumers and can influence how stores arrange items on display.