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What retailers want in a smart inventory management solution

What retailers want in a smart inventory management solution
Retailers are looking for smart inventory management solutions to help reduce shrink, improve the customer experience and boost overall operational efficiency.
Today more than ever brick-and-mortar retailers need smarter, more efficient inventory management solutions. The most common methods of retail inventory management currently used are technologies and processes that have been around for several years.

“Unfortunately retailers continuing to use these methods will still see out-of-stocks at a minimum of 4 to 8 percent of sales, and scanning bar codes for shelf management has proven to be very labor intensive. In many cases, retailers do not have the personnel to monitor and manage their inventories and shelf availabilities. This drives the consumer to other stores or online shopping,” explained Don Taylor, VP of Business Development at Newave Sensor Solutions.

To combat these issues and to keep customers coming into physical stores, retailers want to improve the in-store experience by reducing out-of-stocks, personalizing in-store ads and having store personnel focus on customer needs. Retailers are also looking for solutions capable of automated tracking of shelf inventories, faster scanning of products, ease of installation for new systems, reduction of labor costs and real-time visibility to a problem at the shelf.
Harley Feldman, Co-Founder
and CMO, Seeonic

According to Harley Feldman, Co-Founder and CMO of Seeonic, the top issue requested by retailers is inventory accuracy by SKU currently on shelves in retail stores. “Retailers are satisfying more and more customer demand, especially ‘Buy Online and Pick Up in Store (BOPIS)’ orders, from store inventory. Therefore, the inventory accuracy is critical to satisfying customer demand accurately and quickly,” he said.

Other requests such as data for time items spend on shelf and times items are removed and returned to shelf can be performed more accurately with the serialized data available from the RFID tags, Feldman added.

Easy-to-deploy solutions and positive ROI

Deploying a smart inventory management solution requires time and money — two things retailers want to spend less of. To overcome those obstacles companies like Pal Robotics and Newave Sensor Solutions have developed solutions that are easy to deploy and guarantee good ROI.

“We have created a ready to deploy solution that doesn’t need any layout modifications or additional store installations,” said Sergio Ramos Jubierre, Stockbot Product Manager and Head of Retail at Pal Robotics, of its autonomous inventory-taking robot Stockbot.

Pal Robotics provides clients with leasing options that could allow retailers to deploy Stockbot with no upfront cost and positively impact operational optimization and return on investment (ROI). “Stockbot generates data that can be integrated and manipulated for numerous application, such as store floor management, supply chain visibility, process automation and accuracy, omnichannel retailing, promotional activities, returns, locating items, loss prevention and cross selling. Those have a direct impact on store/brand reputation, customer satisfaction and thus on sales,” Jubierre explained.

Taylor explained how the soft goods retailers that first adopted RFID into their store operations have seen a good ROI and are continuing to expand RFID use. Retailers are also beginning to move away from handheld RFID scanning and toward fixed portal readers, which allows them to better utilize store resources and improve productivity.

Major mass merchandise retailers are also beginning to use RFID portals in their distribution centers to track cartons and pallets going in and out. Newave believes this will evolve into more store-level use of RFID technology. For instance, the company, along with its partner, recently completed installation of over 1,500 dock door portals for a leading international retailer. Within days the RFID solution paid back with a 25-percent improvement in productivity by day two after installation.

Product Adopted:
Retail, Retail
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