Smart shelves are revolutionary next-generation retail technology which is being adopted by retailers and consumers. Smart shelves combine technologies from electronics, artificial intelligence and communication.
The major advantage of smart shelves is that it allows retailers to make informed decisions about inventory management. Retailers can track customer behavior in the store with the help of location beacons or in-store Wi-Fi. For consumers; this retail technology will enhance overall in-store experience by identifying nearby store locations, providing detailed product information such as product origin, reviews and promotional offers from time to time.
The store shelves are equipped with weight sensors, proximity sensors, 3D cameras, microphones, RFID tags, NFC, electronic printed tags, LED sensors, optical sensors, IoT sensors and other electronic devices. Of late, smart shelves have been using Electronic Shelf Labels (ESL), which display information about the products and product offers in real-time using electronic/digital paper. Smart shelves also use low-energy proximity-based Bluetooth communication devices to send personalized messages and promotions to consumers’ smartphones. 5G also has the potential to create entirely new type of shopping experiences such as an augmented reality application which guide the shoppers directly to the shelves of their interests.
Large and innovative retail marketing companies such as Amazon Technologies, Walmart and Kroger have filed a few patents on smart shelf technologies. IBM has also filed a patent on smart shelves having a mesh arrangement of sensors that automatically indicate the number of products present on the shelves allowing for digitization of the number of physical units.
AWM Smart Shelf has integrated frictionless shopping application with its shelf edge display technology to bring online shopping experience to physical retail. Intel with the collaboration of AVA Retail uses a powerful end-to-end Intel architecture for transforming stores from static merchandise showrooms into a responsive and highly engaging arena. Similarly, with the help of Microsoft’s Azure, Kroger plans to commercialize its futuristic shopping experience through “digital shelves”. PureLiFi, FireFly LiFi (LightPointe Communications), Oledcomm, Luciom, Velmenni, LVX System, and other startups are working on latest technologies such as Visible Light Communication (VLC) and Li-Fi wireless communication, which are extensively used for smart shelves.
SciTech Patent Art arrived at a conclusion that IoT software solutions, virtual & augmented reality, Artificial intelligence and hyper-personalization will reshape the retail industry and accelerate the adoption of Smart Shelves technology to make retail shopping attractive and convenient to customers.
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