8 décembre 2023

In the ever-evolving universe of retail, the aspirations to enhance customer experience and optimize operational efficiency remain at the core of concerns. According to a 2020 study by Grand View Research, the global self-service retail market is projected to reach $156.7 billion by 2027, with the rise of autonomous points of sale, such as connected fridges and modules being a perfect example.

To support these aspirations, technology is at the forefront of considerations. In the context of the growth of this new market, three technologies stand out: Radio-Frequency Identification (RFID), computer vision, and connected scales.Among these innovations, connected scales distinguish themselves, particularly due to their proven cost-effectiveness and reliability.

RFID: Proven but Costly Technology

RFID technology, used for many years in industries like energy and aerospace, has significantly improved product identification. By using electromagnetic fields to recognize labels attached to products, it facilitates intelligent management of sales and inventory.

Major retail brands such as Zara, Decathlon, Uniqlo, and Walmart have adopted this approach, enhancing the visibility of their supply chain and the smoothness of the customer journey. However, implementing RFID poses both human and financial challenges. Manual labeling of each product, especially fast-moving ones, complicates logistics. The organizational effort and time required add a layer of complexity to operations at a time when efficiency goals are crucial. Additionally, the encoding stations and chips needed for this technology represent a significant financial overhead, ranging from 2,000 to 10,000 euros for encoding stations and between 10 and 20 cents per chip.

In the realm of self-service retail, especially with connected fridges, choosing RFID raises additional constraints: increased shrinkage and incompatibility with products in metallic containers like cans. Furthermore, this technology poses environmental challenges due to the waste it generates.

Vision: Reliable but Complex Technology

The innovative approach of product flow management through computer vision relies on the use of cameras and highly sophisticated algorithms. This technology enables automated identification and tracking of products, eliminating the need for laborious manual labeling.Connected fridges powered by computer vision automatically detect items, providing an automated solution, especially for fresh products requiring precise monitoring.However, challenges remain, particularly the installation of multiple cameras and handling variations in light. It is crucial to note that, compared to other technologies, this solution can incur higher costs. The necessary technical equipment, coupled with the installation of numerous cameras, makes the process longer and more expensive. The price of a computer vision fridge varies depending on its size, the number of cameras, and the computer vision technology used, averaging between 10,000 and 20,000 euros.Despite these challenges, computer vision remains an attractive solution for businesses seeking to optimize inventory management, especially in sectors where precise monitoring is crucial.

Connected Scales: Cost-Effective... and Precise to the Gram!

According to a market study published by Frost & Sullivan in April 2022, connected scales are expected to represent 40% of the global self-service retail market by 2027.Autonomous stores like BOXY, and now BOXY fridges and modules, use connected scale technology that precisely detects weight variations.

BOXY has already recorded over 700,000 transactions with an accuracy exceeding 99%.This technology stands out for its cost-effectiveness and reliability, offering a quick setup and adaptability to every situation, whether dealing with perishable or non-perishable products. The scales ensure precision to the gram, while avoiding the costly challenges associated with other technologies.

This economical approach ensures effective management of product flows, providing an optimal balance between precision and reduced operational costs.The installation cost of connected scales is lower than that of the other two technologies, with the average installation cost ranging between 9,000 and 16,000 euros for a connected scales fridge.Thanks to this flexibility, BOXY fridges and modules with connected scale technology emerge as an ideal solution for 24/7 self-service retail, regardless of the product type.

Towards a Technology that Tends to Outperform Older Technologies like RFID

Currently, in the realm of inventory management and to enhance customer experience, connected scales stand out for their increased flexibility and proven cost-effectiveness. The ability to include both perishable and non-perishable products reinforces their adaptability, making this technology a more accessible option than computer vision while maintaining reliability comparable to RFID.

In this ever-changing landscape, although RFID and computer vision continue to exert their influence, connected scales are emerging as the preferred solution for self-service retail. This transformation, driven by innovation, redefines the standards of the retail industry.