Weight-Sensitive Foam to Monitor Product Availability on Retail Shelves

  • Christian Metzger
  • Jan Meyer
  • Elgar Fleisch
  • Gerhard Tröster
Part of the Lecture Notes in Computer Science book series (LNCS, volume 4480)


The retail industry, which is characterized by highly complex supply chain processes, still faces stockout rates of 5-10%. This results in sales losses of up to 4% which corresponds to hundreds of millions of dollars for large retailers. The most significant cause for stockout situations is inefficiencies in in-store logistics due to the lack of inventory visibility. In this paper, we present a product availability monitoring system, which anticipates stockouts before they occur and triggers the personnel to replenish the shelf. Our monitoring system is based on inexpensive polyolefin foam, which serves as mount for capacitive sensing elements. Our sensor system is designed for roll-to-roll based manufacturing, which suggests low production costs. Preliminary tests suggest that the system offers sufficient sensitivity to accurately and reliably detect low quantities of stocks. This will not only reduce losses of sales but also increase customer satisfaction.


Retail logistics shelf replenishment product availability monitoring capacitive sensors pervasive computing 


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Copyright information

© Springer Berlin Heidelberg 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  • Christian Metzger
    • 1
  • Jan Meyer
    • 2
  • Elgar Fleisch
    • 1
  • Gerhard Tröster
    • 2
  1. 1.Information Management, ETH Zurich, ZurichSwitzerland
  2. 2.Wearable Computing Lab, ETH Zurich, ZurichSwitzerland

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