Why digital shelves are the future of shopping

As shopping continues to evolve, can digital technologies transform the offline shopping experience?

Shopping has changed a lot since the rise of the web. Ecommerce is booming around the world, providing both customers and retailers with many benefits – convenience, speed and a better understanding of spending and consumption habits that can help both retailers and consumers respond to their spending patterns.

Yet the vast majority of purchases remain offline and in store – and will continue to do so for years.

In this age of the internet of things, how can digital improve the in-store shopping experience? One answer is digital shelving, as analyzed in a recent EY report. The latest generation of digital shelving technology offers the ability to connect better electronic labeling with the functionality of the shopper’s own smartphone, and then to integrate both with the retailer’s computer systems.

This, when combined with advanced analytics, gives retailers the ability to change prices dynamically and to monitor consumer response in real time, enabling much more sophisticated approaches to price testing and promotions. There’s also scope to monitor stock accurately at the shelf, make more appropriate orders to reduce wastage, ensure prices comply with local regulations and show the omnichannel consumers that the product they want is in stock before they go to the store.

In short, digital shelving could improve the real-world shopping experience for consumers, retailers and producers alike – saving time, money and inconvenience for all.