Internet of Things (IoT) in Retail

Internet Of Things – Revolutionizing Retail

This new wave of connectivity is going beyond laptops and smartphones, it’s going towards connected cars, smart homes, connected wearables, smart cities and connected healthcare. Basically, a connected life. According to Gartner report, by 2020 connected devices across all technologies will reach 20.6 billion. That’s an enormous number! These devices will bridge the gap between the physical and digital world to improve the quality and productivity of life, society, and industries. If you’re wondering what impact IoT has on the economy, it will generate $14.4 trillion in value across all industries in the next decade (per Cisco report). Yes, you are thinking correctly IoT will bring a wave, nobody can foresee.

The Potential for retail

The potential of IoT in the retail sector is enormous. IoT provides an opportunity to retailers to connect with the customers to enhance the in-store experience. Smartphones will be the way for retailers to remain connected with their consumers even out of store. This technology is proving to be useful, 70% of retail decision makers globally are ready to adopt the Internet of Things to improve customer experiences. (zebra 2017 retail vision study)

Taking the tech right to the trenches

Increasingly, the connected consumer is having an impact on brick-and-mortar locations. Retailers understand that customers can check in-store pricing and local inventory levels from their mobile devices. Imagine if we could make a customized best-price offer or provide location-based services right in the store. What if we could target our high-value, loyal customers with concierge services? In the past, it was accepted as the norm that we would send mass promotions to customers with the expectation that some acceptable percentage might be interested in that promotion. With IoT, we can now understand the context (the time and the place of the customer) to identify when we are certain the customer needs help or an incentive to purchase, and we can respond proactively.

With the rapid growth of online shopping, retailers are very keen to bring the frictionless customer experience of online shopping into the store wherever they can. They want access to the same type of rich data and high-performance analytics that retailers use to drive websites and mobile shopping trips. Their goal is to have that same limitless control to craft a customer experience and collect detailed data to help them predict how customers will shop.

One of the best and mostly accepted concepts among retailers is displaying their products in storefront windows. It does not just attract customers to purchase but also helps in familiarizing the brands for many window shoppers. Making them interactive and digital gives more in-depth experience to the shoppers. It mainly helps shoppers to scan and helps decide whether they want to purchase products or not, even without entering the store. Retailers must ensure the best and attractive products are displayed in the storefront windows and to keep changing them physically. Now, all of this happens in just a few clicks. Apart from the product itself, these windows will create brand awareness with aesthetically pleasing, entertaining and interactive features like videos.

Final Verdict

The differentiation with IoT will come from a retailer’s ability to sense, understand and act on IoT data with analytics. It won’t be in the technology, the devices or the IoT plumbing. To take advantage of this new promising area, retailers should focus on IoT applications that better serve customers and create value.