Will Smart Shelves Revolutionize Compliance?

KROGER is expanding a test of a “home-grown” digital shelf tag system in a store near its headquarters, according to the Cincinnati Enquirer.

In total it is installing 2,200 of the devices in a store in Cold Spring, OH. The devices mount to shelf edges in place of conventional tags printed on paper or on plastic shelf strips.

They are expected to save many labor hours typically spent on re-tagging shelves, and they may support planogram compliance similarly to shelf strips. The tiny, touch-sensitive screens will allow shoppers to check product information. They are also expected to deliver video and still-image promotions – a potential source of revenue to Kroger.

This is classic In-Store Implementation innovation crossed with the Internet of Things – combining labor savings, planogram compliance, and in-store digital media in a single technological mashup. The only thing missing is a shelf sensor that would tell the replenishment system when it’s time to re-order.

Is this the future for supermarket merchandising systems? The devices can’t be cheap, and they will require skilled installers and access to a power supply. To work effectively, Kroger will need to compile and maintain precise data about each store’s layout and shelving.

But they have potential to help illuminate the retail environment. This is an experiment on which iSTOREi members will want to keep tabs.

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