The IoT revolution offers the retail industry the option to drive innovation and new opportunities in the areas of customer experience, supply chain, and new revenue streams. New age retailers are experimenting with ways to use connected devices to offer new services, redefine customer experiences and explore new markets by creating smart and connected ecosystems.

Retailers that take a leap in this direction are strategically well positioned to gain an important advantage in an already competitive environment. Early adopters of IoT-enabled technologies can drive a differentiated brand experience, leading to a competitive edge and customer satisfaction.

 

 Courtesy: Zebra.com

Quick Statistics about IoT

  • 70% of retail decision makers globally are ready to adopt the Internet of Things to improve customer experiences
  • By 2021, nearly 79% of retailers will be able to customize the store visit for customers as a majority of them will know when a specific customer is in the store
  • 79% of retailers in North America plan to invest in automated inventory verification such as automated inventory verification and sensors on shelves.

IoT Solutions in Retail

  • In-store technologies
  • Technologies for business agility
  • Consumer and market data analysis
  • Online and social technologies
  • Vending machines and intelligent kiosks

Here is how IoT will redefine the Retail Industry

Personalization & Localization

IoT is an important platform when it comes to personalization. Beacon is one of the most sophisticated technologies when it comes to personalization. It helps in channelizing highly contextual information to the shopper at the right time. With increasing adoption rates, retailers are taking beacon technology very seriously.

Beacons are very small devices in stores to communicate with smartphones and other devices in the vicinity via Bluetooth and other wireless tech. Beacon-based marketing solely focuses on meaningful interactions with shoppers and mostly interfaces with store visitors.

There are various use cases, like sending push notifications to people that approach the store and offering promotions based on previous visits and / or purchase patterns.

Supply Chain Management

Retailer supply chains are complex and require greater monitoring and control than ever. It is not about having visibility into inventory while receiving the stock at the store. Instead it is more profound, providing the ability to track and monitor the product movement’s right from the point of manufacturing. It is simply not about tracking where the inventory is, rather trace the inventory throughout the supply chain.

Retailers need to explore IoT technologies such as RFID to track products across the supply chain. This level of IoT investment focuses on transportation and warehousing assets for a holistic picture of the retail supply chain.

Streamline Store Operations

IoT-enabled sensors and devices can play an instrumental role in helping retailers to not only automate operations within the stores, but also enhance the efficiency of store employees by providing critical information to serve valuable customers.

IoT-enabled cameras, RFID, sensors, and beacons can deliver real-time store data such as customer buying behavior, check-in and check-out on smartphones and tablets. With specific knowledge of customer behavior patterns, store representatives can provide improved shopping experience to customers.

Connecting Consumers’ Devices

Whether it is NFC, beacons, QR codes or AR, IoT helps connect users, store and smart devices for a consistent user experience. These connected devices can create an engaging in-store experience. The need to reach out to consumers using the easiest channel to use while shopping in stores – their phones – has not lessened yet.

In fact, it’s probably become even more important to reach consumers in stores, and to figure out how to extend that reach onto consumers’ phones. Customers extensively use their smartphones while shopping as in-store shopping assistants, creating omnichannel experience which is essential for success of retailer.

Effective Promotional Placements

Using in-store sensors and video feeds, retailers can analyze and understand customer hot spots, and patterns. This will help systematically improve store layouts and promotional placements, ultimately resulting in an intuitive shopping experience and higher revenues.

Enhancing Retail Ecosystem

Several home improvement, general merchandise, and retailers dealing in electronics are narrowing done on home automation or smart home sections in their store. IoT is equally in demand for both enterprises and general consumer as well.

Retailers are embracing this technology to be a part of this ecosystem and offer enhanced aftersales service support and sales support created by IoT sensors in consumers’ homes. For instance, Amazon is currently working on the order method of choice with Alexa.

Conclusion

Complex real estate ecosystem, increasing competitiveness, rapidly changing user needs is driving the increase of IoT in the retail space. Retailers need to be overcome IT challenges and keep privacy of consumers to capitalize on opportunities. In such cases, it is important to partner with a leading IoT solutions provider company.

IoT can offer retailers to improve store experience, minimize operating costs, automate manual processes and build new revenue streams. IoT sensors can help identify out-of-stock inventory on shelves, a major cause of frustration for user. IoT technologies in retail can help provide personalized attention to shoppers which is the need of the hour.


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