Start-up ShelfX has launched a wireless checkout and inventory management system for retailers that it said enables customers to shop without cashiers.


ShelfX, wireless checkout and inventory management system, self-checkout system, Ran Margalit, radio frequency identification, RFID, near-field communication, NFC, ShelfX Smart Shelf, ShelfX Software and Server platform, ShelfX Kiosk, ShelfX Card, ShelfX App, RFID technology














































































































































































































































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ShelfX debuts in-aisle checkout, inventory management system

October 28th, 2011

BOULDER, Colo. – Start-up ShelfX has launched a wireless checkout and inventory management system for retailers that it said enables customers to shop without cashiers.

With highly sensitive scales and built-in RFID, the ShelfX Smart Shelf knows the quantity and type of item stocked on it and can detect a customer approaching with a ShelfX Card.

The Boulder, Colo.-based company, which announced its eponymous solution on Thursday, said the system uses radio frequency identification (RFID) and near-field communication (NFC) technology to eliminate the need for consumers to wait in line at checkout counters at drug stores, supermarkets and big-box stores, as well as other retail-oriented venues such as sports stadiums.

On its website, ShelfX also described its solution as a next-generation self-checkout system, since shoppers don't need to scan in products as they do in current self-service retail checkout stations. What's more, the company noted that the ShelfX system provides retailers with improved inventory management, real-time pricing updates chainwide, enhanced customer loyalty and higher shopper conversion rates.

The system consists of the ShelfX Smart Shelf, ShelfX Software and Server platform, ShelfX Kiosk and ShelfX Card. It works as follows:

Equipped with highly sensitive scales and built-in RFID technology, the ShelfX Smart Shelf knows the quantity and type of item stocked on it and can detect a customer approaching with an RFID-enabled ShelfX Card, which contains his or her customer profile and preferred payment method. As the customer walks up to the shelf for a product, the system offers a personalized welcome and, if an item is picked up, it's recorded (also, if customers change their mind and put an item back, the technology makes the adjustment).

The RFID-enabled ShelfX Card.

ShelfX automatically communicates the quantity of the item purchased and its total cost, updates inventory and records the purchase on the customer's ShelfX Card for payment processing at the ShelfX Kiosk. Customers also are offered recommendation and/or discounts on other nearby products that may interest them.

Once all shopping items have been collected, the customer simply has to approach the ShelfX Kiosk to be identified and their purchases will appear, since all the information is transferred from the ShelfX Card. Preferred payment information such as a credit card, PayPal account or Google Wallet can be stored on the ShelfX Card and is used to process payment. A receipt can be printed from the ShelfX Kiosk, which is also where customers obtain the ShelfX Card. Temporary and permanent cards can be issued to customers who input their information.

There's also the ShelfX App, a mobile self-checkout application for a smartphone or tablet. The tool allows shoppers to see a list of all their items, monitor a running total of their items, get nutritional information and coupons, and more. 

"ShelfX will revolutionize the way we shop, and it's about time," creator Ran Margalit, chief executive officer of ShelfX, said in a statement. "But in the same respect, we are taking the shopper back to a time when shopping was simple. The customer walked into a store, was greeted by name, told about the specials, paid without hassle and left. The 21st-century store clerk's name is ShelfX. It's making shopping simple but doing so much more."

A customer simply has to approach the ShelfX Kiosk to be identified and their purchases will appear. The ShelfX Card contains information on the preferred method of payment.

The company noted that ShelfX also offers significant benefits to retailers. Since pricing is updated by store managers in real time using the ShelfX Software, the process of labeling shelves manually during promotions or regular updates is no longer needed. And because checkout is done automatically, retailers can optimize staffing levels and avoid having to scan barcodes and manually input SKUs, according to ShelfX.

In addition, the system provides up-to-the-minute reports on inventory and can alert store managers when specific items are running low and require restocking, meaning that retailers no longer need to send store staff to traverse aisles to check stock levels, ShelfX pointed out.

Sporting an RFID and NFC reader and an LCD screen to display product, pricing and promotional information, each ShelfX Smart Shelf communicates with other shelves and the back-end server, which ShelfX said ensures that when a customer approaches the ShelfX Smart Shelf that the right shelf is activated, the correct information is shown and inventory is updated properly.

The ShelfX Smart Shelf comes in four types: a shelf for standard dry goods, a shelf for hanging goods, a shelf pallet for bulk items and a shelf for prepared food. The company said the shelves are water-resistant and are designed to handles a variety of conditions, such as below-freezing temperatures and hot or humid environments.

Store managers retain control over the SheflX Software via a basic user interface, ShelfX explained. The application also generates reports and keeps management apprised of the status on the floor, such as displaying the location of all customers with a ShelfX Card to indicating low inventory levels on ShelfX Smart Shelves. The company said the software in each store is controlled by a high-performance, high-availability server that houses the information database and is securely connected to the Internet for centralized management in a chain store environment.

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