Retail executives should prioritize technology investments to support unified retail commerce in today’s unpredictable business environment. Now more than ever, I’ve found that retailers want to systematically analyze store conditions and improve the execution of activities like inventory management and out-of-stock replenishment, price changes and picking of online orders.
As managing director of the Americas at a company that offers automated shelf-monitoring solutions, I expect the adoption of real-time store Internet of Things (IoT) systems that “digitize the shelf” by employing autonomous robots and shelf cameras to detect products to peak. But to build a business case with attractive ROI, retail decision-makers will need to understand the impact of these in-store automation solutions on operational practices; measure the potential gains on store sales, staff productivity and customer experience; and ensure they choose the right solution for their store’s needs.
The W.A.T.C.H. approach
Covid-19 has exacerbated the inventory distortion in stores worldwide, and IHL Group (via Retail Dive) estimates that retailers are missing out on $1 trillion in sales due to out-of-stocks. With store conditions changing dramatically, the task of scanning inventory gaps and checking price mismatches for every product can simply be arduous. Modern store monitoring systems running on computer vision can detect all such shelf gaps and empower associates and managers to take immediate corrective actions.