European, Brazilian retailers to trial "Shelfie Index" tech -

European, Brazilian retailers to trial "Shelfie Index" tech

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European, Brazilian retailers to trial

With the help of drones and robots out of store hours and hidden cameras, an Australian-developed technology has the potential to improve supermarket shelf presentation and reduce waste in warehouses and cold storage facilities. 

It is understood British supermarket The Co-op has started a pilot program with the "Shelfie" technology this week, while Shelfie CEO Darren Younger says there are more trials in the pipeline.

"We've got a very big retailer in [continental] Europe and we've got a retail network in Brazil also going live in a couple of weeks’ time," Younger tells Fresh Fruit Portal.

Younger cannot reveal the names of the retailers involved, but says "there's one in Central Europe, one in Germany and one in France".

In contrast, supermarkets in Younger's native Australia have been slower on the uptake.

"They’re interested and they’re keen but in the retail industry around Europe and America there's a lot more excitement, a lot more appetite to move faster," he says.

So what does the Shelfie do?

"It's driven by what we call the Shelfie Index, which is a number from 0 to 100 which shows how well-presented the store right now, and what the shelf should look like," Younger replies.

The technology could be likened to a series of 'before and after' shots, or in Younger's words a "game of spot the difference".

"You know exactly what that shelf should look like and you know what it currently looks like, and you see there’s a gap in that product," he says.

"What it also does is it gives store staff a notification. They can see the alerts and can be motivated to fix the shelf to try to fix that number, and get the best result. So it’s about motivating the staff as well."

He clarifies the technology has not reached the stage where it can actually give advice about which products sell best in which place, but in any case it could bring about new possibilities for managing produce departments in particular.

"It’s not so much recommendations about where things can go. We don’t have the insights to know things like that would sell better if it were in that position," he says.

"What we would do is if someone takes out two clamshells of berries and decides they don’t want one and they put one down in front of the oranges, we can let them know there’s something wrong there."

In addition, trials are also taking place in cool rooms to understand stock levels and expiry of stock, which Younger believes could have implications for the level of food waste in retail operations.

With general concerns amongst the public worldwide over privacy issues and surveillance from government agencies and large corporations, Younger says there is no reason for shoppers to be worried about the Shelfie technology.

"The robots are more out of hours. You’ve got a series of cameras that you wouldn’t notice in the store – they’re not taking images of people, they’re only taking images of the shelf, so there are no privacy challenges there at all."

Younger says Shelfie, which is owned by international company Lakeba, is only six months old.

"However the concept had been worked on a lot longer before that before we could commercialize it," he says.

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