shelfie two

Source: Rav Garcha

The system alerts retailers when stock is running low

Nisa retailer Rav Garcha is bringing an AI software to UK convenience retailers that automatically senses gaps on shelves.

The tech, dubbed Shelfie, uses in-store cameras that take continuous snapshots of shelves to detect a growing lack of products.

It then alerts retailers when stock is running low, either via headsets or a notification on the Shelfie app, such as “Zinfandel Rosé is out of stock”, or “milk is 20% low”.

Retailers can choose how the software analyses the stock, either by shelf, product, bay, or category, as well as the level of availability it must reach to be notified of the shrinkage.

“It’s about making sure the stock is in the right place at the right time before the shopper turns up,” Garcha told The Grocer. “Today’s customer is far more mobile and fickle. If you haven’t got the product that customer needs at that time, you could lose that customer. It could be make or break. And the cost of acquiring a new customer is hard.”

Garcha explained the tech could also help stores work more efficiently ahead of peak trading times by not having to use staff members to physically review every shelf’s availability.

”The behaviour that we have created as retailers is that we need an extra staff member in to meet those peaks,” he continued. “Is the milk ready? Are sandwiches ready?

“But because of the amount of things that we need to do in a store, that stock is often still getting worked when that customer arrives. The idea of the software is preparing the store team with what needs to be done before it’s required with the staff they already have.

“Over a course of a year, that could be one member of staff not needed which could equate to £15,000 to £20,000 a year.”

The subscription-based service, which costs retailers approximately £5 a day to run, is installed remotely using the cameras’ IP address. Retailers can use their existing infrastructure, such as CCTV, to “avoid the most expensive piece of the equation”.

“The only thing you need to do is make sure the camera is pointing where you want it to analyse,” added Garcha. ”We can do this with minor tweaks to ensure retailers get the best shelf view, without impacting their security.”

Extensions of the tech also involve detecting spillages in aisles, as well as alerting retailers as soon as their delivery arrives. 

Shelfie was originally launched in 2019. Now under the new partnership with Garcha, Shelfie forms part of his wider technology business, Crucial Tech, in a bid to present the solution to the UK convenience market.

It has so far been launched in three Nisa stores since January.