A Dynamic Pricing Future for Retail
When we pop to the shops to quickly pick up some extra milk or the weekend groceries, we rarley think about the way that technology is helping to change the way that we shop. But as technologies like Artificial Intelligence combine with cameras and the Internet of Things at the edge of the network, the way retailers are able to supply, price and staff their stores is changing for the better – both improving customer satisfaction and efficiencies for the store owners.
Across Europe, Panasonic and its partner companies are helping to put in place the building blocks for this future, from the smart factories producing goods, through the supply chain to the point of sale in the store.
Electronic Shelf Labelling
In retail stores, the move to electronic shelf labelling (ESL) is one of the first steps in this transformation. The Panasonic ESL solution links pricing with other core management system such as category management, inventory and forecasting and is centrally controlled. By changing the price or product information on the master list based on business drivers, electronic shelf labels throughout the stores are automatically updated for pricing efficiency. Users report a 100% reduction of price errors and an 80% time saving on price updates, enabling staff to be deployed in more effective customer-facing activities.
The ESL solution can then be combined with AI-driven cameras that integrate with warehouse and supply chain systems to ensure stocks on shelf are always at optimum levels. Ultimately, retailers are looking to create a customer-driven, circular supply chain centred around customer demand. This autonomous supply chain, which connects from the production line to the retail shelf can be delivered in partnership with recent Panasonic acquisition Blue Yonder and its Luminate platform.
The use of AI-driven cameras can also be deployed across other areas of retail to streamline operations. For example, to track the footfall and movement of customers through a store to optimise sales promotions. Alternatively, to automatically send alerts to staff via applications on rugged Panasonic tablets or handheld devices when checkout tills or key departments become overcrowded. Even to maintain health and safety in pandemic times with alerts on social distancing.
Many retailers are also taking advantage of increased online demand to deploy collection lockers at their stores to pick up ordered goods. This type of system provides convenience to customers, cuts costs and delivery vehicle emissions and encourages collectors to pop into the store for additional purchases when picking up goods.
Last year, Panasonic introduced its own Smartlocker solution to meet rising European demand for a contactless delivery solution for the drop-off, collection and return of goods from ecommerce purchases, to fast food and groceries.
Panasonic Smartlocker is a modular designed system, offering a range of four different temperature lockers – ambient, chilled, freezer and heated. The indoor and outdoor versions are available in 6, 8, 10 or 12 door units managed by an inbuilt system using a central control screen. The system can be used standalone or fully integrated with the retailer’s ecommerce, order management and other systems via the cloud. For example, analytics data about collections could be used in conjunction with Blue Yonder’s workforce management software to ensure the right level of support staff are always available.
For operators, Smartlocker saves time, resources and operational expense. It automates time-consuming tasks such as manually logging signatures, organising deliveries and reporting. In addition, operators can verify access to lockers, including pick-up and drop-off times and other trend analyses. Panasonic is also working on validating the additional store footfall that can be driven by the smart locker.
Gemba Process Innovation
As retailers address the challenge of integrating new solutions into their operations, the need for supply chain and technology expertise has never been greater. As a result, Panasonic Gemba Process Innovation is designed to address issues on the retail frontline. The team looks at each frontline area of a customer’s business to gain a deep understanding and then works with them – using the latest technologies, software and integration skills – to optimise processes and boost productivity.
The retail environment has never been more complicated to navigate with offline, online and omnichannel opportunities but the solutions Panasonic offers are designed to simplify the path to a future of dynamic retailing. As well as support for the initial deployment of new technology solutions, this also includes elements such as innovative OPEX financing opportunities when funding new deployments – keeping CAPEX investment off the balance sheet. In addition, Panasonic offers ongoing support with local servicing and maintenance support, backed by a multi-lingual, European-based support centre. These are benefits afforded by Panasonic’s reach and breadth.
The future of a prosperous retail sector relies on the cumulative benefits that the latest technology and software can deliver. Speaking to Panasonic about your retail needs could be the smartest purchase of all.
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