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MiniSmart Ahonkylä Is 24/7 Unstaffed Store with RAIN RFID

Nordic ID’s Impinj-powered RAIN RFID solution makes it possible for residents of a remote town in Finland to access groceries at MiniSmart Ahonkylä, a fully automated store.

Creating retail opportunities with RAIN RFID 

Ahonkylä, a remote countryside town in Finland, has about 2,000 residents with a busy road passing through it. High labor costs and low sales volume have made running a traditional grocery store in this region difficult. Despite these limitations, the residents have always wanted to resolve their lack of access to essential services like grocery shopping.  

Since 2022, MiniSmart Ahonkylä, an unstaffed and automated 24/7 self-service grocery store, has filled this big gap in the area’s retail presence. The store uses RAIN RFID to enable customers to make fast, seamless purchases while allowing for quick and accurate inventory replenishment. 

The store features a solution built by Impinj partner Nordic ID, a Brady company, with RAIN RFID labels from Impinj partner Confidex, which ensures smooth and efficient operations. The solution enables MiniSmart Ahonkylä to grant customers access to the store with bank card scans, streamline grocery purchases before shoppers exit, and accurately replenish inventory and optimize processes 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. 

Using the solution from Nordic ID, Confidex, and Impinj helps MiniSmart Ahonkylä:

  • Reduce operational costs, especially on labor 
  • Increase ROI with around-the-clock operations 
  • Accurately track inventory volume and freshness 
  • Provide convenient and satisfactory customer experiences  

Grocery shopping with custom, fool-proof technology

Considering existing challenges like labor shortages, relatively lower sales volumes, and its remote location, MiniSmart Ahonkylä needed a solution that was more efficient than camera- and sensor-based systems while being a lot less expensive. The store decided to use a combination of RAIN RFID technologies from Nordic ID and Confidex to build a custom solution based on Impinj reader chips and tag chips.  

Here’s how the solution works:

  • When customers first arrive, the Nordic ID Sampo S2 NFC-capable RAIN RFID reader, powered by an Impinj reader chip, opens the store’s entry door based on a scan of their credit or debit cards. 
  • Shoppers then pick up their groceries and take them to a self-service point-of-sale station near the exit. Here, Nordic ID’s Sampo S2 reader identifies the items, which are all tagged with Confidex Ferrowave Flag flexible on-metal RAIN RFID labels using Impinj tag chips.  
  • Nordic ID’s real-time inventory management software, RADEA, manages the information specific to each tag — including product name, category, and expiration date — and automatically completes the transaction using the shopper’s payment information scanned upon entry. 
  • Unpurchased goods are not allowed to leave the store. If the customer is carrying an unpurchased item, it is identified by a Nordic ID AR85 RFID reader positioned at the exit, and an automatic alert bids them to return and pay for the item.  
  • Backroom processes are just as efficient as on the shop floor. Visiting staff equipped with handheld Nordic ID HH83 RFID readers quickly handle inventory tracking and replenishment. 

Significant savings with scalable solutions

Using this Nordic ID, Confidex, and Impinj RAIN RFID solution has also helped MiniSmart Ahonkylä create a unique and scalable retail opportunity to fulfill a growing demand. The solution enabled a setup that requires minimal labor and accurately manages inventory movement, all while increasing revenue by being open 24/7.

Reducing costs and optimizing resources 

The fully automated RAIN RFID system brings significant cost savings while solving issues like shortage of labor availability. The only store staff visit periodically to tag newly arrived items for restocking and tracking inventory using the Nordic ID HH83 handheld reader.  

Increasing ROI with uninterrupted business hours

Efficient and automated operations mean the store can stay open around the clock, leading to additional revenue and, eventually, a faster return on investment. It all adds up to an easily scalable solution, even for remote locations.  

Accurately tracking inventory cycles  

RAIN RFID data, supplied by Confidex tags, gives a detailed view of on-site inventory, including important information about the freshness of grocery items. For instance, Nordic ID’s software tracks the sell-by dates of goods, automatically discounting products as per their expirations. Accurate inventory management ensures minimal waste while boosting revenue. 

Creating convenient customer experiences 

The residents of Ahonkylä needed a solution like MiniSmart Ahonkylä so they don’t have to struggle to buy everyday groceries like milk, bread, coffee, soda, and more. Around-the-clock access also ensures maximum accessibility. RAIN RFID has created an opportunity in an otherwise difficult situation while also creating benefits for MiniSmart Ahonkylä. 

Nordic ID, Confidex, and the Impinj Partner Network

Since 1986, Nordic ID has provided customers with highly reliable and user-friendly RAIN RFID asset tracking solutions. Its cloud platform offers real-time insights on asset flow, even for the lifecycle of every single item. Nordic-inspired design and engineering ensure that Nordic ID’s easy-to-use solutions are based on the customers’ needs. You can check out Nordic ID on the Impinj Partner Directory and learn more about the Impinj Partner Network


Article tagged as:

Automated Checkout Customer Experience Customer Story Food & Beverage Inventory Management Inventory Replenishment Partner Tags & Inlays Impinj Reader Chips Retail Supply Chain & Logistics Impinj Tag Chips Loss Prevention Partner Fixed Readers



Tuesday, December 12, 2023

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