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Merchandising method and apparatus

Image Number 6 for United States Patent #6539280.

An improved merchandising method, system and apparatus are provided through the use of product displays having a track for aligning product packages in a linear fashion, and an electronic monitoring and transmitting device in the product displays that detects a linear position of one or more product packages with respect to the tracks and generates a signal representing the number of product packages still remaining on the shelf. The signal also preferably includes an identifier code, which may include a universal product identifier code (UPC) or a serial number of the track, that can be utilized to pinpoint the location of that particular track within the store. The signal may be transmitted wirelessly as a radio frequency signal that can be received by antennas permanently installed within the store and connected to an in-store inventory control system and database. Alternatively, the signal may be transmitted by radio frequency to short-range hand-held scanners used by employees as they travel through aisles in the store to inventory the quantity and locations of products on display.

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