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The Shop of the Future
Pressure on water, housing and health are common talking points, but pressure on retail stores is often overlooked. Shops will see increasing pressure on their security, on how they manage supply and demand, and how they continue to care for customer and employee wellbeing in a much busier environment. To accommodate the surge in custom, retail stores of the future will need to adapt, incorporating the latest advancements in technology
We take a look at three of these technologies and how they will change the city dwellers’ shopping experience.
1. The stockroom robot
The stockroom: shop staff disappear into it and emerge holding the latest gadgets, favourite snacks or on-trend fashion accessories. It might store everyone’s favourite goodies but at busy times it can become a chaotic jumble, with items getting lost and customers being forced to wait. Stockroom accidents are surprisingly common. This negatively affects business and causes shop owner’s unnecessary expense. In busier cities and stores, these problems are exacerbated. In shops of the future, such injuries will be minimised by the introduction of stockroom robots. The robots will be able to efficiently process stock room orders, helping to avoid lost or damaged stock and employee injuries. Employees will also be able to focus on more customer facing tasks rather than handling monotonous work in the stock room. This technology is already appearing in shops around Europe. Solebox, a shoe retailer in Germany, has introduced a stockroom robot in their new Berlin store. The robot collects the shoes in the customer's preferred size and delivers them to the shop floor, all without an injury in sight.
2. Artificial intelligence inventory management
The increasing urban population will also put pressure on stock. Future retail stores will have to make sure they carefully balance supply and demand, a task not even Philippe Petit would envy. This is where artificial intelligence plays a part. AI technology will allow businesses to identify when certain stock is needed and stop retailers from over buying products no one wants. Nucleus Research stated inventory management vendors who use artificial intelligence can better spot patterns and more quickly address issues that arise in the supply chain. Thus, retailers are prepared for the varied demands of the metropolitan populations of the future.
3. Motion sensors
Security is a key issue for all retail stores today and will continue to be in the future. Having a robust security system doesn’t only keep the customer safe; it also obstructs fraud and prevents other unwanted losses. For example, in the UK the cost of retail crime is around £613m a year! This figure is only set to rise as city shops around Europe become busier. So, how can businesses keep shoppers safer in busier environments in a subtle and respectful manner? Well, by using a 3D Motion Sensor of course. These highly-accurate sensors detect the size and the shape of people and objects, and can enable businesses to detect when products are being shoplifted. And because the sensors use infrared light instead of cameras, they can even be used in sensitive environments such as toilets and changing rooms too. May this act as a warning to future criminals, they will have nowhere to hide!