What is a Smart Store?
Smart stores are retail stores that adapt to modern technology. One way of creating a smart store is by integrating Newton ESL and AIMS.
Online shopping has created a huge impact on people’s modern lives. To put things into perspective, in the United States, the e-commerce market is expected to reach over $1.1 trillion in sales in 2023. That’s how big e-commerce and online shopping are getting. However, a silver lining here is that stores still contribute roughly 80% of total sales for retailers. To rise above the competition, stores need to step up and revolutionize commerce as we know it. Retailers need to innovate their businesses and create smart stores.
What is a smart store?
Simply put, smart stores are traditional brick-and-mortar retail stores that adopt various smart technologies. This is mainly to enhance store performance and improve customer experience. Some of the technologies smart stores use include smart lighting, smart carts, smart shelves, electronic shelf labels, mobile apps, augmented and virtual reality, robots, smart fitting rooms, and other digital elements.
A smart store also uses data and analytics to further improve the shopping experience for consumers. Using various technologies and software, these stores are able to know more about their customers, find out how they can simplify their operations, and track the performances of employees and the whole store.
How does a smart store work?
Smart stores will rely on smart technologies to work. These technologies will help in daily operations and overall performance. But most of all, these will help create an engaging and convenient in-store experience for shoppers. From inventory to a shopper’s in-store browsing, the consideration stage, and even the checkout process.
Here’s an example of how smart stores work:
- Smart lighting is installed for atmospheric lighting and energy-saving protocols.
- Electronic shelf labels (ESL) are implemented for accurate pricing, better inventory, and less maintenance.
- Mobile apps are used for personalized shopper ads and navigation systems in every branch.
- Digital signage or augmented reality are installed for marketing and information.
- Smart fitting rooms are installed for clothing retailers and shoppers.
- Self-checkout systems, smart carts, or NFC-tapping capabilities are implemented for smoother transactions and buying processes.
- IoT and other smart tracking devices are utilized for asset management or shipping management.
- Intuitive software is used for omnichannel retailing and analytics.
The way smart stores work simplifies and enhances a lot of processes that are usually time-consuming and demanding. Creating a smart store ensures that retailers are providing comfort and convenience not just to their customers, but also to their own staff.
What is needed to achieve smart store management?
Smart store management is a step towards a better retail experience. This can increase sales, improve customer satisfaction, increase brand loyalty, improve employee morale and productivity, and so much more. Turning brick-and-mortar stores into smart stores can help retailers advance in the industry.
Here are some of the basic elements of a smart store and what’s needed to achieve smart store management:
1. Electronic shelf labels like Newton ESL
Implementing electronic shelf labels in retail stores is the first step toward creating a smart store. Digital labels like SOLUM’s Newton ESL will help centralize retail workflows. Not only do they eliminate the need for paper labels, but they also eliminate the need for constant price changes and reduce manual labor.
Newton ESL, for example, allows you to update thousands of tags in a store within minutes. It can also contain 7 pages worth of product information for the benefit of the customer. LED indicators and multifunctional buttons also help enhance inventory, restocking, customer service, and more.
2. Smart lighting
Smart lighting technology can also transform a smart store. Smart lighting can create a welcoming atmosphere for shoppers, create a specific mood to highlight sections in a smart retail store, and provide ample lighting for those looking at certain items. Smart lighting also means less energy consumption, less heat, and less cost for the retail store.
3. NFC capability
Near-field communication is becoming a necessity among retail stores now as well, especially when creating a smart store. This is because NFC makes mobile payments and self-checkouts possible.
In a post-COVID-19 world where countries are slowly recovering and coping from the pandemic, limited interaction and skin contact will be preferred by shoppers. NFC capability will make sure retailers can give their shoppers the option to shop safely and independently.
4. Management systems or software like AIMS
Smart management systems or software are also needed to connect traditional brick-and-mortar stores to the online world. Take SOLUM’s ESL management system, AIMS, for example. AIMS SaaS lets retailers integrate their physical inventory with their e-commerce stores. This allows for a more accurate and streamlined inventory.
It also lets you manage ESLs—assign prices and product information, design digital labels, create system reports, and more. Best of all is that retailers don’t need external data centers or servers to help them manage their ESL, product information, and other data. It can be quickly implemented and used immediately for the convenience of the retail staff in the smart store.
5. Asset tracking
Smart stores can also take advantage of asset trackers for their asset management. Shopping carts, large appliances and equipment, electronic merchandise—all of these can be attached to smart trackers, which allow retail staff to track assets at any given moment. It also improves daily operations by reducing manual labor and strengthening security for the store.
What is a smart store if not an innovation that will improve the lives of both consumers and retail workers alike? A smart store can elevate retailer performance and ensure that brick-and-mortar stores are giving customers a memorable experience they can’t get from other modes of shopping.