Using gravity conveyors can help retail merchants improve efficiency and customer service, especially in department stores. For those with stockrooms full of merchandise, there are two popular ways to relay those items to the customer using gravity conveyor systems. Typically, it is either a self-service set-up or a merchandise pick-up system. The most reliable and efficient method depends on the store's layout, type of checkout system and typical size and weight of merchandise.
Some retailers prefer to put one sample of each available item on display for customers to see. When customers want to buy something, they fill out an order request and pick it up at a customer service counter. This method is especially efficient for large, heavy items. These products can be quickly moved from the stockroom to the customer service desk via gravity conveyors. Using a gravity conveyor to transport items reduces possible injury to customers and employees grappling with heavy objects on high shelves. Order pickers in the back room fill customer orders as they come in. Store personnel will help transport the item to the customer's vehicle if needed. The conveyor system is also convenient for employees who do not need to go to the stockroom and look for merchandise every time an order is placed. Instead, the correct item is chosen by order pickers according to sku number and description in a fast and efficient manner.
For self-service displays, the customer chooses items on the selling floor and carries them to the check-out counter. To make it easy for the customer, items may be placed on gravity conveyor shelving. A shelf is filled with items stacked one or two high and several deep. Roller racks can be placed at an angle toward the selling floor. As a customer chooses items from the shelf, the next one rolls forward, ready for the next customer. This way, the customer can always see the product and the front of the shelf facing is neat and orderly.
As the items sell out, the merchandise can be refurbished either from the back or the front, depending on the layout of the store. A rear reload is more convenient for a busy store, since customers will not have to step over stockers to reach what they want to buy. For retailers where shelf restocking is typically done after-hours, this is not as important an issue. In high volume stores, however, resting shelves from the rear prevents employees from blocking the aisle with wagons or pallets. While many stores have moved toward the efficiency of self-service conveyor shelving, some retail outlets still use less efficient traditional shelving, where items are stacked on top of each other on a flat shelf. In the older style, stock must be rotated regularly by store personnel, and customers must reach toward the back of shelves to find any available items when inventory runs low.
In conclusion, using updated technology in retail stores with gravity conveyor systems and shelving makes shopping and stocking easier and safer for customers and employees.