Smart sensor technology use is increasing, creating new opportunities for managing retail costs and sustainability. Disruptive Technologies is analysing the impact of smart sensors and how they can assist businesses, optimising their practices through occupancy monitoring and sensor placement in physical retail spaces.
What is occupancy monitoring?
Occupancy monitoring is important in retail businesses for a variety of reasons. It involves tracking the presence and movement of people for monitoring capacity, use of physical space, and working conditions. Awareness of these can assist businesses in maintaining customer and worker safety, optimising available space, and increasing employee satisfaction.
How can smart sensor technology be used to retain profit?
Customer experience is key to retaining profit – without loyal, satisfied customers, businesses risk the loss of revenue. Customers hold less favourable views of businesses or even abandon shopping baskets when affected by queues or excessive wait times in store. Through tracking customer footfall, businesses can identify when stores are at their busiest. Staff presence can be increased at these times to ensure enough employees are available to attend to customer needs and man checkouts. The information generated can even provide customers with information concerning when the shop is busy, allowing them to better plan their trip to retail stores.
Businesses can also use occupancy monitoring to track over and underused spaces, providing the opportunity to repurpose or expand these areas. If there is a section of a store that is rarely visited, this area can be reduced. The newly available space can be reassigned for more frequently viewed products.
What are the cost benefits of using smart sensors in physical retail spaces?
Smart sensor technology for occupancy monitoring or other purposes is incredibly valuable in physical retail spaces. Optimising retail space can be informed by smart data, monitoring customer footfall and feedback. Touch sensors can be used to provide fast customer feedback stations, allowing them to easily inform businesses of their strengths and weaknesses. These issues can be quickly resolved to improve customer experiences and brand image. Where customers spend the most time can be staffed accordingly or expanded as necessary.
Even monitoring physical conditions can be used to increase energy sustainability. Tracking the conditions for temperature-sensitive products can ensure that unnecessary waste is avoided, as faults can be identified and rectified rapidly and efficiently. Even the temperature monitoring on the shop floor can ensure no unnecessary energy is expended for heating or air conditioning when it is not necessary.
How can smart technology help with staff shortages?
Smart sensor technology is all about efficiency and optimisation. The more efficient and optimised your business is, the better you can handle issues such as staff shortages. Post-Covid 19, the issue of staff shortages has become more prevalent – especially where the need for self-isolation remains for employees. Outdated cold storage management systems require a more constant employee presence to manually check storage conditions. Smart sensors allow the monitoring of cold storage from afar, with any issues being identified immediately and alerts being sent to the appropriate employees or managers.
Occupancy monitoring can also optimise the deployment of staff on the shop floor – when footfall is low, lower staff presence is required. At these times, fewer employees can be designated for those shifts, increasing staff availability for busier times.
How does this contribute to retail sustainability targets?
Sustainability has increased in priority for businesses due to factors such as Covid 19 and increased environmental pressures. Smart sensors can increase the overall efficiency of stores in terms of energy use and staff presence. The unnecessary waste of products can be reduced, and businesses can create a more secure future through better customer relations.
Bengt Johannes Lundberg is the CEO of Disruptive Technologies – a Norwegian company that has been revolutionising the use of sensor technology since its founding in 2013. The integration of these innovative technologies is paving the way towards a more sustainable, safer, and efficient world.