11 jan 2017 – In these days Carrefour is preparing to close three stores with 500 redundancies and also COOP announced over 600 redundancies and the closure of 20 supermarkets. This restructuring would be made necessary by a fall in consumption and a decrease in profit margins. In recent years the GOD (Great Organized Distribution) has left home thousands of employees, but no one is yet able to understand what impact on employment of retail will have the RFID technologies and new organizational models offered by Amazon.
RFID (Radio-Frequency IDentification) allows you to store information on special electronic tags. These information can be read or modified by a reader with radio frequency pulses. The labels can assume the characteristic of passive tags, which don’t need any internal power source, but get the energy from the radio-wave sent from the reader, who asks them to take action and re-transmit the data. RFID tags placed on clothing or on supermarket products can be read from the current reader in 1/10 second and up to a distance of 10 meters.
Already from 2015 Decathlon has begun to experiment with RFID devices in 415 owned stores located in 14 of the 19 countries where the brand is present. This technology allows the customer to pick up the items and pay directly with your smartphone in enabled checkout counter and allows management of up to date stock, even when the products pass for the old manned checkout counter. Over time, the cost of RFID tags has been reduced, up to a current cost between 10 and 30 cents per label.
Many stores make available to customers self-checkout counter and barcode readers to reduce staff, but many are still customers refusing to do themselves the work of the cashier. The situation could change if all the goods on the shopping cart were counted in seconds from a reader, who would update in real time even inventory management.
These days, at some Amazon Go stores in Seattle, it’s experimenting another technology, which is based on APP on the phone and computer vision. The customer is identified at the entrance photographing with a mobile phone a QR-Code and after proceeds shopping by withdrawing the products from the shelves. A camera and sensor system recognizes the picked products, adding them to or subtracting them into account if the customer rests them on the shelf. At the end of the shopping, the phone shows the bill and allows to pay with a card or approaching the smartphone at the pay station. This technology, called “Just Walk Out”, is also applicable to small stores and uses artificial intelligence mechanisms with sensors and computer vision.
But the goal of Amazon remains not to even enter a store their customers, because they can go shopping directly from their PC or phone. Recently, Amazon Prime customers (subscribers who do not pay any shipping charges) may use DASH, an App that lets you order a product by selecting it on your smartphone or photographing the barcode of a pack or saying the name. The expense will come home within a day at most, using the fastest couriers. This transport remains one of the greater costs of Amazon, which is investing in the trial without truck driver and is asking various countries permissions for the use of drones in the delivery of goods.