We go to the supermarket and at the entrance we are welcomed by the hologram of a woman, who calls us by our name and mentions this week’s offers, specially selected for us. The ambient music is sounds of nature, the countryside, the beach, birds chirping, relaxing.
We get to the beverages section. The wine is displayed in cabinets, and when we take out the bottles, the information about origin, price and pairing appears on a virtual screen. There is no other sign or poster in the store, everything is virtual.
We move on to the produce section, where vegetables are packed in personalized sizes. Fruits are located in islands in which we see hydraulic arms that, according to what we order, will give us the fruits we choose in paper bags.
There is something interesting in the labels that indicate the expiration date. When products are within their shelf-life, the label is green. If products have 1/3 of their shelf-life remaining, the label will automatically turn yellow. And when one month is missing for their expiration date, the label will turn red. This detail will help shelf stockers place products on the shelves depending on their expiration dates, recommend price reductions and withdraw products from the shelfs accordingly.
In the perfumery and personal care section, the cameras that have been installed recognize us. An interactive screen reminds us that it is time to replace our toothbrush, since almost three months have gone by after our last purchase. When we take the product, digital displays tell us that we get a discount on toothpaste.
We move on to the checkout area and the registers are all self-checkout. There is a support person in case we need help, but everything is self-service. To pay, customers may use cash, credit cards, the palm of their right hand or the iris of their eyes.
When we exit the store, we may request and pay for a delivery service to receive our purchases at home, that may even be delivered using a drone.
Science fiction? Nothing is further from reality; everything is at our service and at the service of retailers.
On the other side of the counter, the store manager is also living an almost surreal experience. From his office, he is seeing the number of customers in the store in real time, the cumulative count of customers in the store at that moment, in the last month and in the year so far. He also gets information about the sales for that day, that month and that year so far.
On his notebook he can see a dashboard with the current stock on each shelf. The sensors installed on each shelf automatically notify shelf stockers when it is necessary to restock products.
The Internet of Things (IoT) has allowed the store manager to optimize resources, like maintaining the cold chain of refrigerated products. This is monitored in real time, and if there is a problem, the manager receives an alert.
The installation of pushers in the shelves has reduced the time employees devote to restocking and organizing products. They no longer need to do a tedious and repetitive job; they may now focus on improving the customer’s shopping experience.
The retail experience is changing, not only for customers but also for companies. Sixty one percent of companies around the world are already taking the right path to become “smarter” by using and implementing the internet of things, managing and analyzing data. Retail chains are the ones who have experienced the greatest growth in the last twelve months, reaching the top in 2019, only behind companies in the health sector.
Innovation in retail is definitely the driving force of development. In Latin America, there is still a long way to go in modernization, and one of the companies that is well aware of this is Pusher-POP Smart. Pusher-POP’s technology vertical is a model for the region in technology applied to the point of sale. The company has recently incorporated new IoT sensors known as Stock Beacons that allow users to measure stock in real time, send restocking alerts, automate orders to suppliers, avoid stock shortage and predict customer behavior to provide personalized offers and discounts based on customers’ past behavior.
What was once fiction has become reality. What was once the future can now be experienced. The present is increasingly dynamic, interesting and surprising.
Source consulted: www.peru-retail.com