It’s a challenging time for the Retail industry. It feels like the sector is under siege from all sides with inflation pushing up prices and disrupted supply chains making the predictability and availability of goods difficult. In this competitive environment, building customer loyalty whilst maintaining a healthy margin remains the goal and retailers are increasingly turning to technology to assist them.
So, what are tech solutions trending in Retail right now and how do they help?
1. Electronic Shelf Labels (ESL)
The flexibility to change pricing across multiple locations instantly is an important operational requirement in today’s fast moving market. ESL solutions remove the mundane daily task list of price changes, allowing frontline workers to focus on the customer and in-store experience, while retailers ensure price updates can be made at the touch of a button.
ESL 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, 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 electronic labels themselves can also be customised to display logos, flash special offers or provide more product information, such as ingredients or recipes via NFC or QR Codes.
2. Supply and Demand
Managing supply and demand effectively is a critical business in today’s world of unpredictable market changes. Faced with mounting data, retailers need automated insights to better understand the factors influencing customer demand, and how to determine their pricing strategies. Technologies such as Panasonic partner Blue Yonder’s Luminate Pricing Lifecycle is designed for this challenge. It is a powerful application driven by Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning that helps retailers to make optimal stock and pricing decisions across the product lifecycle.
3. Retail workforce productivity
Putting real-time information in the hands of the retail workforce helps to boost productivity and makes tasks easier. These rugged mobile computing solutions are transforming the way the workforce operates from the point of sale through to warehouse and logistics. It ranges from automated voice picking solutions that guide order fulfilment - speeding operations and reducing errors - through to forklift mounted rugged tablets connected to the warehouse system that provide real-time instructions for the movement of goods. Rugged notebooks, tablets and handhelds are at the heart of transforming the productivity of retail workforces.
4. New service opportunities
As the world of online and bricks and mortar retail collide, retailers are constantly looking for ways to generate new service and revenue opportunities. Here a new generation of Smartlocker is changing the world of last mile deliveries. These latest modular designed systems of 6, 8, 10 or 12 door units offers a range of four different temperature lockers. There is the regular ambient locker for everyday items such as parcels; chilled and freezer lockers for food and even medicinal items; and heated lockers to keep takeaway orders at the correct temperature. The Smartlockers are easy to manage and can be used standalone or connected to ecommerce and order management systems via the cloud.
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