What Are ‘Smart Shelves’ and How Are They Changing the Way We Shop?

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The in-store retail experience has had a long time to reach perfection. The industry has spent decades coming to understand the logistics of filling and arranging shelves and the psychology of how shoppers interact with them. The next step is to add technology to the equation with smart shelves.

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What Are Smart Shelves?

Smart shelves are primarily a way of tracking inventory levels in stores. They use weight sensors in or underneath the shelves to detect the number of products still in stock. Then they can send alerts to the stockroom whenever stock levels get low, making sure the shelves never end up empty.

Through the use of RFID technology, smart shelves can also interact with apps on customers’ smartphones.

What Are the Benefits?

Tracking what’s on shelves has numerous benefits to stores. Because information passes from shelf to store in real time, it eliminates the need for staff to monitor shelves and order backroom or warehouse staff to replenish them. A more efficient, frictionless restocking process frees up staff for other duties, where they can focus on providing exceptional customer service.

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Low stock alerts mean products are replenished before they ever run out. Empty shelves leads to missed opportunities for sales, so keeping stock levels high increases income. Smart shelves’ weight sensors could even potentially be used to alert staff to shoplifting.

There are benefits to the customer too. If they’ve made a shopping list, the smart shelves can direct them to the right areas of the store in the most beneficial order for traffic flow or to take shoppers past other things they might need. The app can communicate with the shelves to target offers based on the shopper’s purchase history: as they walk down an aisle, the smart shelves call attention to previously purchased products currently on offer.

These benefits translate into higher sales and customer loyalty for stores that adopt smart shelves early. When it comes to shelving Ireland is well served by companies like https://www.rackzone.ie/, and as smart shelf technology proves itself standard suppliers will begin to pick it up for distribution.

Smart shelves are just one of the new retail technologies flagged by consultancy firm Gartner as “on the rise”. Companies that adopt the trend early will benefit from them in practical terms and perceptions of their brand.

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