Last week, RILA's Asset Protection Leaders Council, made up of senior asset protection executives at RILA member companies, met in Nashville for their annual meeting of benchmarking, best practices discussions, and peer-to-peer networking. New to this year's meeting, the agenda included an Innovation Showcase featuring startups developing gamechanging technology for the field of retail asset protection. The startups each pitched their technologies and recieved feedback from the executives in a "Shark Tank" style panel.
We sat down with each of the participating startups prior to the event to get learn more about their approach to asset protection. Our Q&A with T+ink is below.
Q. Tell us a little about your technology.
A. T+ink is the global leader in the application of conductive ink for stocking of shelves. the retail industry, creating deep links between the physical and the digital world. Our Internet of Things (IoT) sensors provide real-time actionable data on inventory and product movement in the store.
T+ink offers two specific product solutions for retailers:
- Smart Shelf is a versatile and highly capable shelf sensor that can detect product count, movement and unique SKUs in real time. The advanced printed sensor mat, pattern recognition algorithms and mobile software create an industry leading platform for actionable in-store product data that can be used for theft alerts, inventory management and planogram compliance.
- Smart Peg is a patented technology driving one of the most advanced smart pegs in the world that can identify potential theft events and track inventory and product movement in real time.
T+ink has additional products such as Touchcode that uses an innovative approach to smart packaging, leveraging the power of conductive ink to create packaging that serves as physical launch pads to digital experiences.
Q. What makes your technology game changing?
A. Retailers traditionally have inventory data from point of sale (POS) and ERP systems, but T+ink provides inventory visibility and product movement on the shelf – the critical point where customers interact with the product. We are one of the only solutions that accomplish this level of visibility without modification or tagging of the products, thereby radically simplifying the operational complexity and cost.
Theft, noncompliant activity and out-of-stock translate to lost revenue. The data from T+ink's smart retail technologies can be integrated into surveillance systems to provide theft alerts. It can also be used for replenishment notifications, customer interaction information, planogram compliance, and can even identify product velocity by location (especially helpful for a product being sold in multiple locations).
Q. What sets your technology apart from other technology designed to tackle the same problem?
A. A retail experience using T+ink's technology gives consumers a clean shopping experience – there are no cameras, plastic barriers or alarms, nothing to distract or impede a customer from seeing, touching and buying a product. Our shelves and pegs are sensing product movement from within, and retail staff are able to access that information or be notified automatically and remotely via tablet or computer.
Our solutions are cost effective and scalable - retailers can unlock the full potential of the Internet of Things at a fraction of the cost of other solutions in the market… and do so in a way that is unobtrusive.
Q. How do you expect your technology to influence retailers' approach to asset protection?
A.T+ink expects that this level of real-time insight into inventory movement will be a game changer for most retailers. Our automated, customizable system looks for unusual movements on high-risk items. It allows retailers to tie together a full inventory story of how much product has left the shelf and whether that aligns with the recorded sales and expected inventory. Our system will alert the retailer when a potential shrink event is happening, allowing them to deploy appropriate counter measures.
As retailers adopt this system, we believe asset protection and inventory visibility will be more efficient, cost effective and transparent to the customers. By letting the cloud manage the inventory, restocking can begin from an informed vantage point, using real time actionable data. Shelves can be restocked with more or less frequency throughout the day and ultimately suppliers can be provided enough visibility to enable "just in time" stocking of shelves.
Q. What do you see as the next big challenge or opportunity coming in the AP field?
A. The availability of data will be the next big opportunity in the AP field. The capability of analytics platforms has improved significantly, but there is still a gap in the availability of actionable data to drive intelligent analytics. The answer lies in the creation of new cost-effective sensors that can feed this data revolution.
The challenge is to deploy sensors that can capture actionable data without interfering with the customer experience (locked cabinets or boxes) or creating a feeling that customer privacy is being intruded upon (camera technologies).
Q. What excites you about showcasing your technology in Nashville?
A. T+ink is thrilled to be part of the RILA's-APLC Innovation Showcase in Nashville. We are passionate about helping retailers and brands protect their investments and optimize their stores, and we believe our patented conductive ink solutions are the answer.
It is a challenging and exciting time to be in the retail industry, and technology will continue to affect many facets of our lives including the total customer experience and the relationship customers have with a brand.
For more information on RILA's asset protection community, please reach out to Lisa LaBruno at firstname.lastname@example.org.