Belgian retailer Colruyt has announced it is testing a new technology to ensure that shelves remain optimally stocked, while also measuring how many customers enter the store and how busy its checkout areas are.
The technology, developed entirely by Colruyt Group’s Smart Technics innovation team, links sales figures to the store's stock levels, and the availability of products on the shelves.
This information is then displayed in the form of a floor plan on a screen in the store's stockroom area.
Employees can now see which shelves need to be replenished as a priority, to ensure that customers always find the right products at the right time, the retailer said.
The Belgian market leader said a test is also underway with a shelf scanner – a camera that scans the shelves – which maps the status of the shelves through an automated process.
In this way, store deliveries can be optimised and the appropriate place for a product on the shelf can be analysed. Both technologies work with artificial intelligence developed by Colruyt Group, and transmit data in real time.
Colruyt said it aims to offer a better service for customers and more efficient time management for employees through the use of these initiatives.
The retailer is currently testing various technologies at its Halle store. It added that initial results are promising, although a longer-term test is needed to really identify major gains.
The next step will be a roll-out of the test to several stores, it noted.
'Work More Efficiently'
"Because store employees can replenish the right products at the right time, be at the checkout at the right time and no longer required to do any cleaning, customers will always have the right product available at the right time and their waiting time at the checkout will decrease," said Virginie Vandenperre, head of sales services and promotion at Colruyt.
"Colruyt, in turn, saves time because store employees will be able to work more efficiently. They can spend time on other tasks in the store, which are fully dedicated to customer service."