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How IoT Will Change The World: Retail

How IoT will change the world: Retail

As society continues its evolutionary journey towards a digital future, the consumer experience is ever-more reliant on data: the unique choices we make when we shop, the reasons we prefer certain brands and the time of day, week, month or year that we make a purchase. Equipped with this information, retailers can create hyper-personalised experiences that increase sales and enhance customer loyalty.

Enter IoT – set to reach $35 billion this year, the expansion of Internet of Things technology into the retail market has already proven transformational. Through IoT solutions, retail businesses are able to obtain data about customers’ needs, habits and preferences in real-time, not to mention improve inventory management and boost productivity. In 2020, smart stores that once seemed futuristic will increasingly become commonplace, changing the retail landscape in more ways than one:

A more personalised shopping experience

Digital on-demand services such as Amazon and Netflix have raised the bar for personalisation – today, consumers expect companies to recognise and remember their preferences for ease and efficiency. In turn, that granular data that pinpoints a customer’s preferences is gold dust for any competitive retailer.

Fortunately, IoT is paving the way for the personalised in-store experience. Through the use of sensors fixed into product areas, retailers can collect valuable data on unique buying habits and unify it with the information they have acquired digitally to build 360-degree customer profiles. The result? Increased loyalty through relevant promotions and timely engagement.

An automated checkout

Digitalisation may have revolutionised the way we shop, yet for most retailers, a labour-intensive checkout remains a burden that can often cause shoppers to walk away from a purchase. If this process could be automated and personalised at the same time, it’s likely it would have the opposite effect.

Eager to reap the benefits of an efficient checkout, retail businesses will adopt IoT solutions as a means of speeding the process up. Through this new system, an automated checkout will scan tags on each item as customers leave and automatically charge their mobile payment app. With less queues and overcrowding, shoppers are much more likely to complete their purchases.

Smart shelves

Accurate inventory management is the backbone to any successful retail business. Historically, it’s also proven to be one of the most time-consuming and tedious tasks for retailers. Now, the introduction of IoT-lead smart shelves are paving the way for increased visibility, improved accuracy and reduced costs.

By placing an RFID tag onto a product, data can be transmitted from the product to the reader before being sent to the IoT platform. Stock is automatically monitored, sending alerts to personnel to warn of low supply or upcoming expiry. Through the use of digital price tags, beacons and sensors coupled with video monitoring, an efficient system is created that leaves little room for error.

Efficient supply chain management

As well as on the shop floor, RFID tags and GPS sensors are proving revolutionary to retailers in monitoring goods throughout every touchpoint in the supply chain. Beyond just their precise location, managers can acquire real-time information relating to the quality of products through intuitive, IoT-lead tracking solutions.

In the food and beverage sector, data detailing the storage temperature and humidity, for example, can be crucial. If an item is damaged in transit or delayed in deliver, retailers will know in advance and can act fast to rectify the issue.

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