Shelves have at least accompanied mankind for thousands of years. It's time for the shelf revolution. The time is right for the digitalization and intelligence of the shelves.
Redefine the role of the shelf
In the next ten years, everything will be interconnected, and everything will have intelligence, interconnection, and sensing functions; computing devices will become low-cost, consume fewer electrodes, and because of their small size, they can be used to help everything become intelligent, even shelves.
At present, shelves play a relatively passive role, and smart shelves have the opportunity to change this status quo, and proactive responses are effective. For example, smart shelves can understand customer needs and the products displayed, and use enhanced functions to more comprehensively intervene in the sales process. Moreover, it can perform these functions in a highly personalized manner, including displaying personalized prices and promotional information.
Fundamentally speaking, smart shelves can increase the shopping experience in two ways: convenience and fun. For manufacturers, smart shelves can bring data-led sales and marketing opportunities to help them better understand the customers who bought and did not buy their products. It can also dynamically optimize price information. Help retailers achieve maximum profits and help manufacturers and retailers reward loyal customers.
Diversification of smart shelves
Smart shelves will not have "one size fits all" solutions, and they will each have various shapes, sizes, and complexity.
The shelf functions will also be different and tailor-made. With the increase in the application functions of the touch all-in-one machine and the continuous improvement of the cost, a variety of smart shelves will be suitable for handling different tasks.
"Normal" shelves will have basic sensing functions and extremely limited display capabilities, but no communication functions.
"Advanced" shelves will have more complex sensors, higher levels of local intelligence, and better cloud connectivity and services.
Simple shelves may only have proximity sensors, while advanced smart shelves may be able to view, sniff, perceive and understand the surrounding environment.
These shelves will not only know what products are placed on them (with the help of cameras, radio frequency identification readers, weight sensors or other technologies), but also understand the customers standing in front of them and be able to interact with them naturally and comfortably (and at the same time) Respect customer privacy). Achieving this requires a combination of sensors (3D camera, microphone, close range, and touch) and computing functions. For example, the shelf should process all the customer's image data locally, instead of transmitting it to the cloud to avoid infringement of privacy.
"Top" shelves can use all these functions and can access cloud data sources to provide customers with a shopping guides and customized services. For example, the shelf may use smart touch display functions or even microphones to interact with customers. There is no doubt that smart shelves will provide a wider range of types and functions.
Smart shelves-for manufacturers and for customers
Regarding the deployment of smart shelves to provide manufacturer-oriented services, customer-oriented services, or two services, different retailers will make different business decisions.
Manufacturer-oriented functions are usually equivalent to customer-oriented one-way sensing functions. These functions can be used to collect information such as traffic, length of stay, customer demographics, and the success of offers and advertisements. A more complex manufacturer-oriented feature can provide dynamic or personalized price and promotional information, helping to establish a two-way relationship.
Customer-oriented functions can provide information such as product data, social media comments, discounts, and personalized shopping guides, and are more likely to help two-way interactions with customers. For example, the shelf can display "Alice, this product contains gluten"...
The shelves will be equipped with various displays
The shelves will have diversified display functions, equipped with brilliant and colorful high-end displays to display promotional products,
The mall of the future is not only a dazzling array of goods, but also a "heard and vision paradise", a shopping method that integrates online and offline.
Upgrade and redeploy
The initial implementation requires the use of existing shelves to achieve plug-and-play purposes, and the existing shelves will be replaced by more complex intelligent shelves. This is conducive to the long-term development of the retail industry, because the redeployment of smart shelves can create excellent value for manufacturers, retailers and customers.
There will be two kinds of shelves, physical and virtual shelves, the latter can help customers browse a wider range of products in an increasingly limited in-store environment. With the help of virtual space technology, Adidas has achieved some success in virtual shelf attempts. Using a large touch screen, they built a carousel for video display and a movable virtual shelf, which combined with the physical shoe rack to give people the illusion of a virtual space. This approach can help them display more products in flagship stores where space is scarce, and it also allows customers to interact with the shoes on the screen, learn more about the structure of the shoes, and view the materials used in making the shoes.
Deploy different shelves in different places
Shelves will also vary from location to location. For example, local small grocery stores, large electrical appliances stores, and someone’s pantry or cold storage room will each be equipped with different smart shelves. The shelves in the pantry or refrigerated room only need to sense the household food inventory level with the mobile phone. Shelves in local stores may need to have inventory awareness and some basic sales functions at the same time, while shelves in large experienced retail stores may need to use complex sales functions to help customers find the goods they need and prompt them to make purchasing decisions.
Ordinary, advanced, top, extraordinary
Therefore, the types of smart shelves will be extremely rich.
From plug-and-play suggested shelves to existing shelves (equipped with basic sensors, no display to estimate the flow of people in the store and customer stay time), to the stunning high-tech shelves, which can interact with each other through touch, gesture and voice Customers interact and can see and understand their surroundings. Specifically, these high-tech shelves may also interact with customers in natural language, provide personalized services, help intelligently display dynamic price information, help retailers increase revenue, and act as in-store billboards to help retailers sell to customers such as manufacturers. Advertising Services.
Retailers need to seize the opportunity to provide data-driven sales and marketing leads on the shelf to obtain higher returns from manufacturers.
They should talk about smart shelves as an ideal platform for manufacturers to design and provide new services, including shelf advertising, dynamic price information, virtual sales assistants, etc.
System architects need to make careful architectural design decisions and host the necessary intelligent features in the most appropriate location to provide an excellent shelf experience. In some cases, it is more feasible to build related functions on the shelf; in some cases, it may be more cost-effective and efficient to use the cloud method, and it is helpful to deploy new services and functions.
Strengthen communication between manufacturers and customers
A smart shelf full of sensors should be able to understand not only the products it displays but also the customers standing in front of it. The ideal smart shelf should be like an excellent salesperson with excellent sales skills, an in-depth understanding of customers, and able to provide personalized services, and at the same time, it should help customers make purchase choices easily.
Shelves need to help manufacturers/brands communicate effectively with consumers. Today, this communication is generally carried out through simple signs on the shelves, and product packaging or labels. Let's imagine, what if this kind of communication is tailored to a single customer and the shelf can provide an attractive customized experience for the customer on behalf of the manufacturer?
Below, we envision the types of communication that manufacturers and brand vendors need and want to communicate with potential customers:
Value and differentiation-explain why its products are valued for money, what are the differences, and how to provide higher value than similar products.
Positioning and helping to choose the quality of the product is average, better, or the best? How does it compare with similar products? Shelves should help customers make purchasing decisions easier.
Applicability-To what extent does the product meet the needs of specific customers?
Discounts and specials ---- inform customers of any discounts and promotions, including personalized discounts that manufacturers want to provide customers to attract them to purchase. They also want to dynamically set prices for individual customers to reward their loyalty or maximize revenue.
Consultation----Answer customers' questions about limited products and eliminate customers' doubts about purchasing.
Social content-share any online reviews that can help customers choose; including reviews on websites that specific customers respect and trust, and reviews made by friends. They may also want to emphasize that their friends have purchased similar products and the purchase information about such products posted on social media.
Inventory----Display the inventory in the store, local and online. If the product is out of stock, provide other ways for customers to buy the desired product or similar products.
The ideal shelf can help manufacturers and customers to fully communicate on all related issues so that customers can easily make purchases.