Riverside Greetings has developed RFID (Radio Frequency Identification) and AI (Artificial Intelligence) technology that is expected to accelerate the growth of greeting cards in the convenience and forecourt sector.
The company has created an automated inventory and category management system that marries AI with RFID technology to analyse and increase the greeting card category performance, whilst significantly improving the productivity and effectiveness of its merchandising service.
Riverside’s new, patent-pending technologyå is being piloted in several test stores in England.
Through the use of the technology, merchandisers will be able to complete a full stock count of hundreds of cards by design in less than two minutes, with 100% accuracy versus the current manual counting system which can take 30 to 45 minutes.
This improved granularity of data will enable each store’s range to be automatically analysed and improved by the merchandiser. Aggregated sales data by design will show trends and patterns and create ‘best practice’ ranges automatically.
Additionally, the Riverside design team will have performance data by design which will enable them to better understand the characteristics of the best-selling designs and use these insights to inform the creative process.
The application of this new technology has been developed with the support of academic experts at Leeds Beckett University as part of a two-year Knowledge Transfer Partnership, part-funded by the Government through Innovate UK.
Riverside Greetings managing director Andrew Glen estimates that this new approach will boost sales with existing customers by more than 20% whilst freeing up merchandisers’ time to spend on more business development initiatives.
He says: “Many card suppliers have chosen not to invest in the independent convenience sector whilst favouring multiple grocers and online sales. We are proven specialists in the convenience and forecourt market and believe that there is a significant sales and profit opportunity when a shopper-centric approach is taken to the greeting cards category.
“That’s why we have invested in developing this revolutionary new technology which is going to provide us with real-time information and transform the overall category performance.
“We are very excited about this new approach. Our conservative estimate for the scale of the opportunity for the sector measures it at £25 million, a sales figure which will generate approximately £12.5 million of incremental profit for retailers.”
The £25 million opportunity figure is based on the average of £500 per store across 50,000 stores.
Glen adds: “There is a massive opportunity for cash & carries and wholesale businesses to stock a range of quality greeting cards which meet shoppers’ needs for innovation and value. We supply direct or via any of the national symbol or buying groups through a drop shipment arrangement, but we welcome speaking to any business looking to innovate their greetings category.”Published Date: November 6, 2023