The pandemic and the effects of COVID-19 have accelerated the implementation of new technologies that solve predictable and repetitive tasks, giving store staff time to sell more products and better serve customers.
The Industry 4.0 revolution is also knocking at the door of supermarkets and small stores. One of the areas which will experience more progress in this regard is the automation of stock control.
Walmart, for example, is incorporating shelf scanning robots to 650 stores. The robots were designed by Bossa Nova Robotics Inc., based in San Francisco, and they scan the items on the shelves to help with price accuracy and replenishment.
American supermarket chains are estimated to lose over 1 billion euros each year due to different factors, such as mispricing, inadequate product placement on the shelves and even lack of units during peak sales seasons. With this type of new technologies, companies might increase their annual income by 25%.
But the incorporation of a robot is not the only solution available to deal with stock control. Even solutions that require less investment are already solving this issue very effectively.
The German company POS-Tuning, which specializes in retail solutions, has incorporated technology into their pushers for gondolas. Now, pushers not only keep shelves tidy and products within reach of the consumer, but they also track stock in real time.
Neoalto, the company’s startup based in Bad Salzuflen, has developed the Stock Beacons technology. It consists of Bluetooth sensors that are installed behind the pushers which measure the distance between the last product and the back of the shelf. By means of calculations and configurations in its system, Neoalto allows stores to visualize the stock of each product in real time, and if there are any stock-outs or shortages, the system notifies restockers.
All the movements that take place in the gondola are registered and can be viewed by the retailer on a private access control panel. All the activity on the shelves can be analyzed in the same dashboard, which allows users to detect the times of the day with the most interaction, know replenishment times, know which products have the highest turnover and even automate warehouse orders.
In Latin America, Pusher-POP / POS-Tuning has already installed the first pusher systems with Stock Beacons sensors for cigarettes in convenience stores, and results have been incredibly positive. Brands were able to reduce the time of stock shortage and stores have avoided losing hundreds of sales.