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Shelving Goes Smart: How IoT Is Transforming The Retail Industry

By Shekel

February 20, 2023

7 min read

In recent years, the retail industry has undergone a significant transformation, with technology playing a more prominent role in everything from inventory management to customer experience. It is even estimated that global retail spending on IoT solutions will reach $30 billion by 2024, up from $14 billion in 2019. Impressive, right?

One of the most exciting innovations to emerge in this space is industrial smart scales in the form of smart shelving, which uses IoT technology to optimize retail operations in new and innovative ways.

For the average person, this new advancement may not seem major; however, it’s a game-changer for retailers – B2B and B2C – when it comes to gaining valuable insights into consumer behavior and preferences.

But that’s not all! What are the other benefits of industrial smart scales? And how are retailers harnessing this technology to improve the shopping experience for customers and drive revenue growth?

Read on to find out.

How Do Industrial Smart Scales Work?

First, let’s take a closer look at the capability of industrial smart scales in the form of smart shelves in a retail setting. The technology supporting smart shelves has been around for more than two decades. It was initially envisioned for use in grocery stores and mega-stores where items are purchased quickly and products need to be re-stocked regularly. However, with artificial intelligence (AI) and IoT, the scope of smart shelves has grown to include a lot more uses beyond the traditional grocery and convenience store settings, including libraries, healthcare facilities, warehouses, and distribution centers.

Every smart shelf includes several highly-sensitive sensors that can detect changes in items placed on the shelf, identify items and quantity and deliver that information to a cloud-based system. In other words, changes as to what is on a particular shelf and how much of that item is on that shelf can be detected right away. Therefore, smart shelves can keep track of every single item that’s sitting on a shelf, no matter the item or the setting.

What Are the Uses and Benefits of Industrial Smart Scales?

Industrial smart scales solutions offer a range of uses and benefits across a variety of business settings. Let’s look at some of the main benefits of implementing industrial smart scales in the form of smart shelving.

Automated Inventory

Counting inventory is often a tedious, error-prone task for retail businesses. In fact, traditional methods of inventory management can be so time-consuming that they never provide a truly accurate count of a store’s entire inventory, leaving managers to make decisions based on incomplete data. This is especially true for large warehouses with dozens, if not hundreds, of products constantly coming and going.

Fortunately, industrial smart scales are here to revolutionize inventory management. By leveraging the power of sensors and IoT technology, smart shelves automate the entire inventory process, ensuring that businesses always have up-to-date information on their stock levels. No more relying on spreadsheets or employees to track inventory – smart shelves make the process seamless and error-free, freeing up employees to focus on more important tasks.

Real-Time Data Reports

With smart shelves, businesses get real-time data reports on their inventory levels, including which products are coming in and need to be stored, which products are being sold and freeing up space, and how quickly items are being placed or removed from shelves.

But that’s not all – the data collected by industrial smart scales can also reveal insights into a company’s day-to-day operations, helping leaders identify areas of inefficiency and optimize their processes. Smart shelves truly are a game-changer for businesses that want to collect as much information as possible about their inventory management and other aspects of their operations.

Low and Out of Stock Alerts

Running out of stock is a nightmare for any retailer – it means lost sales, unhappy customers, and missed opportunities. That’s why industrial smart scales are such a game-changer.

With their advanced inventory management capabilities, smart shelves can alert company leaders the moment a product is running low or out of stock. But this isn’t just any alert – it’s a proactive, customizable notification that lets businesses set specific stock levels for each product and receive an alert when those levels drop too low. This gives retailers the power to take immediate action before it’s too late, ensuring that they never miss a sale or disappoint a customer due to low stock levels.

Smart shelves truly are the first line of defense against running out of stock, and they’re an essential tool for any business that wants to stay ahead of the competition.

Product Positioning

One of the lesser-known benefits of smart shelves is their ability to streamline product positioning and prevent costly errors. With sensors that detect the precise location of each product, these industrial smart scales can quickly alert employees when a product is placed on the wrong shelf, preventing mishandling or loss. This is especially important in large warehouse settings where mistakes can be time-consuming and difficult to correct without the help of technology.

Thanks to smart shelves and IoT technology, company leaders can rest assured that their products are always in the right place at the right time. And let’s not forget the importance of an organized workspace – smart shelves are a key tool in keeping warehouses tidy, efficient, and free of errors.

Take Away Human Error

As we can see, there are many possible examples of human error when it comes to shelving and managing inventory. This is a complex process with a lot of moving parts and a lot of employees who need to do their job perfectly every time in order to make things run smoothly. Even minor errors can be magnified, and unfortunately, those minor errors are sometimes inevitable because people will always make mistakes.

However, human errors can be reduced dramatically with smart shelves and other technologies. We’ve already mentioned that much of the manual inventory work can be eliminated with smart shelves. Other types of mistakes will also be noticed thanks to shelf sensors. Even if they can’t be prevented, minor human errors can be detected quickly so that they can be corrected as soon as possible. If these little flaws can be corrected before they lead to a problem, it’s as if they didn’t happen at all. This is a great example of technology helping to overcome human errors.

Faster Fulfillment

In addition to avoiding errors that can slow down operations and limit productivity, smart shelves can create a path toward faster fulfillment and increased productivity for B2B companies managing large storage facilities. Large facilities with a big collection of products can be increasingly difficult to manage the more products are stored there.

However, smart shelves and IoT technology can collect the type of data that helps companies to streamline operations. For instance, items that are stocked more frequently or removed from shelves more frequently should be placed in more convenient locations that can make that process smoother. Likewise, multiple items that require regular fulfillment may need to be separated from one another so different sets of employees aren’t interfering with one another. This is the type of information that can be learned with the right technology in place, especially smart shelves that detect any and all changes with shelving and fulfillment.

Fewer Returns

In the fast-paced world of B2B retail, accuracy is just as important as speed. But mistakes can happen, such as shipping the wrong product or even taking the incorrect product off the shelf, and when they do, they can lead to customer dissatisfaction and financial losses. That’s why smart shelves and IoT technology have become so valuable.

By constantly monitoring every product, smart shelves can catch errors before they become bigger problems. With sensors double-checking against potential mistakes, B2B companies can reduce the risk of shipping the wrong product and save money and time in the process.

Cut Costs

In any business, cutting costs in any way is good for the bottom line. To be fair, investing in smart shelves and other technologies does require a sizable cost upfront. But with everything that smart shelves can do to help a company cut costs, it will be worth the investment in the end.

Preventing human error and streamlining the process of stocking and shipping products can help to cut costs significantly once a company grows accustomed to using this type of technology to the fullest extent. On top of that, smart shelves can help collect data that leads to increased efficiency and lower costs in a variety of areas. In the end, costs will be lower and efficiency will increase thanks to smart shelves, sensors, and the Internet of Things.


Ready to take the leap and dive into the world of smart shelving? We’ve got you covered! Check out our products today or reach out to us to discuss building a tailored solution together.


Determining precise weights has always been an essential part of commerce, from ancient marketplaces to the silk road – that’s why our company name is Shekel, from the ancient Hebrew word for “to weigh.” Shekel has been at the forefront of the digital weighing industry for the past five decades, and we continue to lead through innovation.

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