Whether you’re on the retail or manufacturing side of the home furnishings industry, inventory matters. That’s why the store of the future will likely rely on smart shelves and weighing pads to stay ahead of the curve.
What Are Smart Shelves?
Using weight- or light-sensing technology, these shelving components work with your existing rack systems to monitor inventory levels in real-time. Because of their sensitive nature, they can be programmed to work with any application regardless of size or weight.
The shelf, or network of shelves, can then communicate product inventory data as it changes to store owners, managers, associates, buyers, warehouse workers or manufacturers.
Before you buy, however, ask whether the shelves you’re considering work offline. Many providers offer a mode for seamless reporting in case your location loses connectivity.
Smart Shelves Sound Cool, But How Do They ACTUALLY Help?
Smart Shelves allow you to make more informed decisions about stocking and inventory. For example, you’ll obviously buy more fast-moving and popular items and less low-performing items. Using the data received from your shelves, you’ll have the information you need immediately. There’s no need to press pause on the order and perform a physical count in your warehouse or storeroom.
Additionally, Smart Shelves offer more affordable inventory management than traditional methods. Rather than pay overtime to your employees or take associates away from the sales floor, your shelves do the work for you.
And, because you’ll always know the inventory levels of every item in your store, it’s easier to cross-sell and up-sell if a customer’s item-of-interest is running low or out-of-stock completely.
How Do Smart Shelves Work?
When product levels get low, Smart Shelves send a refill notification to employees on their connected mobile device. (Smart Shelves are also compatible with RF devices if that’s how you equip your team.) The employee sees the alert, goes to the stockroom or warehouse and replenishes the supply on the shelf.
At that point, the Smart Shelves in the stockroom or warehouse check their weight against your pre-programmed set points and send a notification to the buyers. The buyers may then review the sales data and decide on the amount to re-order. They may then contact the vendor or manufacturer to increase, decrease or cancel the product order.
Because product data is available in real-time, there’s no delay or lag time in making smart decisions about restocking.
So Far So Good . . . What Else?
Smart Shelves also help store owners maintain an orderly store. Shelves that use Smart Shelves in conjunction with RFID tags can send notifications about the misplaced product. This allows employees to retrieve the errant item and return it to its proper place.
Using the same type of system, Smart Shelves may also help track theft and help stores put more proactive measures in place to protect against and deter loss.
And, because all this product data may be monitored remotely, store owners and managers are able to access the information from anywhere. So, whether you’re on vacation or visiting another store location, it’s easy to look in on day-to-day operations and make sure everything moves along smoothly while you’re away.
Technology shifts the way people in the home furnishings industry do business in exciting and amazing ways. As a result, we’re moving the industry forward and creating better buying experiences for our customers while allowing employees to focus on what they’re good at – not counting décor in a warehouse!
To learn more about all the exciting ways technology serves to enhance the store of the future, check out SHIFT Tech Summit. At SHIFT, you’ll learn from industry leaders and even have hands-on access to amazing tech items to find out if they’re right for your business.