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Media Post has a good story about a company called Powershelf that was exhibiting at the National Retail Federation (NRF) Big Show, offering "smart shelves" (in partnership with Hitachi).

These smart shelves, "essentially an entirely networked device, provide for electronic price tags placed in front of the items just behind it on the shelf, much like printed price tags typically found in most stores. The key is the connectivity.

"When an item is lifted off the shelf, it automatically triggers the inventory system to notify it that an item is at least being considered. When a shelf is empty, the system triggers a restocking alert to store personnel ... If inventory of a product is high, a specific inventory-based offer could occur in real time, such as when a shopper picks up an item, the pricing message could offer ‘two for the price of one.’

"Pricing is dynamic and can be based on inventory, essentially more effectively matching supply and demand."
KC's View:
The story also notes that these smart shelves can interact with customers' smart phones - not just telling stores when merchandise is moving or not moving, but create incentives and promotions that can generate movement.

One reads about these shelves, and one cannot help but think about Amazon Go, where some version of smart shelves and other technologies are being combined to create a shopping experience without a checkout line.

This all seems radical now, but it may well be that five years from now it'll seem as natural as shopping carts or scanners.