Traditional retail’s evolution over the past decade has been driven by digital technology, such as Artificial Intelligence, Machine learning, Big data and the Internet of Things. The latter is forecasted to be deployed by 80% of the global retailers by 2021, as IoT continues to penetrate the retail market.
IoT In retail has been considered as the major game-changer for the way business is done today. The way in which things are connected is only expected to continue to be a major factor in the future of business.
IoT applications allow retailers to raise productivity, improve customer experience, reduce costs, and increase sales. Frontier Economics estimated that the increasing M2M connections by 10% would generate a $2.26 trillion increase in the US GDP alone.
There are many e-commerce software development companies that can help retailers, improve their ROI and hence create a solid groundwork on which they will later be able to develop even better and more complex IoT applications.
One of the major concerns of retail companies is how they can become more profitable and efficient within their stores. Handling internal processes efficiently and more quickly means a lot in Retail and here is how IoT will help in achieving this.
IoT Applications In Retail
There are numerous IoT-related benefits to the retail industry, but here, I’ll hone in on the seven most important ways I think IoT will change retail in 2020.
1. Automated Checkout
Imagine a scenario, where you would be waiting in the long queues to purchase your favorite product, as a retail owner or entrepreneur these long queues will deter your customers to make a purchase.
In this scenario, it is not profitable to make to hire more employees to efficiently manage the busier work hours. Through IoT’s integration, you can set up a system to read tags on each item when a customer leaves the store. A checkout system would then tally the items up and automatically deduce the cost from the customer’s mobile payment app.
IoT in retail has opened doors for e-commerce software development companies to enable IoT based applications for the retail industry.
Creating an automated checkout system using IoT devices would make your customers happier and willing to enter your retail store, especially on the days when they are having a time crunch. As a retail entrepreneur, it can save you tons of money as estimated by Mckinsey that the automated checkouts can reduce cashier staff requirements by up to 75%, resulting in savings of $150 billion to $380 billion a year in 2025.
2. Personalized Discounts
Delighting customers in a way that they can come back to your retail store is something that businesses look forward to while they retarget customers from the same product niche. One of the great ways to retarget customers is through Discounts and Loyalty Programs.
Do you want to entice your customers right? If yes, then you can look at IoT to set up sensors around the store and send loyalty discounts to certain customers when they stand near products with their smartphones, if those customers have already signed up for a loyalty program in advance.
Additionally, you can use IoT to track items that a customer has been looking online and send that customer a personalized discount when he/she visits your in-house store. Rather than offering general discounts on a wide variety of products, you can tailor each discount using IoT to maximize the conversion rates.
Consult e-commerce software development companies to cater to the user’s experience for profitable revenue generation.
You can ultimately find ways to incorporate IoT in your day to day business through creativity and foresightedness. It can help your business discover innovative solutions to attract more valuable and loyal long-term customers.
3. In-Store Layout Optimization
Aren’t you surprised that your retail space is not optimized for your customer’s behavior? If yes, then by using the employing aisle-analytics software with infrared sensors, you can use IoT technology to improve your retail layout.
Perhaps you find most of your customers spending their majority of the time in checking out your TV but those TV’s are placed at the back of the store without the integration of rarely touched DVD players.
This information are you with important customer behavior knowledge, so you can place the items that they most care about like TV in front of the store.
4. Robot Employees
Robot employees are the new age innovation to cut down on the menial tasks that have been burdening the workforce. OSHbot, Lowe’s new robot employee, helps customers find specific products and provides information on promotions and inventory. Plus, the robot is bilingual i.e he/she can answer in both English and Spanish.
Other Retail Stores, such as Target, use robots to roam around the store and take note of misplaced items, or products running out of stock. By taking over simple inventory management tasks, Target’s robot frees up Target’s human employees so that they can focus on providing top-notch customer assistance and experience.
5. Optimizing Supply Chain Management
While retail stores can already track products without the help of IoT, that tracking information is not that precise. With RFID and GPS sensors, you can use IoT to obtain a more precise and accurate data, like the temperature at which an item is being stored or how long does it spend in the transit. You can use that data to improve the quality of transportation.
Moving forward with this in the real-life scenario, you can act in real-time if a product is being kept at temperatures too low or too high, avoiding a substantial loss.
According to a survey conducted by Tata Consultancy Services and Business Insider, manufacturers utilizing IoT solutions in 2014 saw an average increase of 28.5% increase in revenues between 2013 and 2014.
If you’ve got a long line of suppliers, truck drivers, and vendors handling your products, it’s imperative for you to accurately keep track of how your product is handled and where it’s located in the supply chain. This information helps you ensure your process is running as efficiently as possible and can help you get your product into your customers’ hands faster
6. Improving the customer’s experience
A mobile user might have a lot of expectations when he/she visits a retail store. All they want is good service, accurate information, quicker delivery and so on. There are many logistics that play an important role when it comes to companies being able to provide all of these things to the customers.
Not only this, but retail companies also rely on IoT developers and IoT development companies to improve self-checkout, digital signage, and other valuable technologies that help provide users with a better experience.
The IoT creates an infrastructure and provides devices that allow data circulation throughout the buyer’s cycle more efficiently.
By implementing IoT’s solution, retail organizations are able to solve a lot of problems around the customer’s experience. Such problems arise due to inefficient data analysis or collection.
7. Improving Flow Management In-Store
Retail companies have always been trying to improve the way people navigate through their in-line stores. IoT allows adding advanced digital tools to the process, thus improving it drastically.
Instead of a manual person to monitor traffic, utilizing microphones, beacons, and smart cameras, IoT as technology can simply give more accurate and precise data to retail companies about how their consumers behave.
There are many companies that have been exploring various IoT technologies to monitor their consumers and see how their traffic behaves. These firms are joining hands with IoT and E-commerce software development companies to know the behavior of their clients.
At the End
More and more retailers and retail-based businesses are looking to implement the Internet of Things to improve their results. There are already a lot of companies that adopted assistance from IoT service providers and it has been expected that such companies will increase in the future, especially when you consider the fact that these solutions are only going to become better and better.