Leaving aside the question of how many people actually shop in brick-and-mortar stores for a minute, it's never been a better time for retail inventory management. As laid out in this clear and comprehensive overview in Fortune, computer vision, machine learning, and robotics are making empty shelves and missing products a thing of the past, resulting in restocked products in as little as 30 minutes (down from 45 hours) and sales rises of 3 to 5 percent at Israeli supermarket chain Shufersal. Meanwhile, retailers and supermarkets such as Walmart, Target, Kroger, and Tesco are already testing and implementing in-shelf and checkout sensors and cameras, as well as aisle-roaming robots, to keep store shelves stocked. As the thinking goes, this kind of optimized restocking will free up human store employees to provide better and more personalized customer service, which is the whole point of going to a brick-and-mortar store anyway.
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