Why IoT is Wise Choice for Retailers
The Internet of Things (IoT) is quite a concept that gives an excellent chance to create the environment where the connection between digital and physical worlds is strong like never before. It has already brought about considerable changes to different industries, and retail is no exception.
Retailers benefit from the use of IoT solutions thanks to the multiple advantages they offer.
Everybody knows that personalized customer service is a powerful tool helping retailers to maintain financial success and retain customers. There are many strategies that businesses use to keep their customers loyal: free samples, rewards for feedback, loyalty programs, and more.
But what about a new approach? People use smart devices and wearables every day, and these tools become a fertile source of data about customers’ online shopping histories, interests, latest search requests, locations, etc.
Employ the information to deliver personalized content to each customer. For example, welcome shoppers by sending a simple text message or a personalized offer/digital coupon once they enter the store. In the physical world, the data can be used to make one-off offers (with the help of smart price tags) to those customers who have searched for the same product on the internet.
Connected cameras with facial recognition software can send a signal to the connected lighting system to illuminate products that customers may be interested in, the ones on promotion, or even products from the shopping list in a mobile app.
Store Optimization, Stock Control, and Inventory
RFID technologies, a substantial part of IoT, offer retailers a chance to track inventory through RFID tags, find misplaced items, optimize layouts, receive replenishment alerts, etc. Smart shelves are another option. They give retailers a chance to detect the level of inventory on the shelf and understand when it's low.
Smart devices can be used to keep an eye on foot traffic in-store (using body heat, video streams, Wi-Fi or Bluetooth), thus helping to find out how much time shoppers spend inside, which aisles they frequent, how often the same customer comes to the store, etc., in order to optimize layout and product placement.
IoT-connected devices (e.g., freezers, smart packaging, sensors) assist retailers in improving energy use by monitoring the state of perishable items (e.g., poultry), controlling temperature changes, and detecting and predicting maintenance issues.
Beyond that, IoT solutions can be used in custom e-commerce apps or CRM systems like Dynamics 365. For example, retailers can use information from smart devices to predict soon-to-be-purchased goods.
Smart Home and Retailers
The growing adoption of smart home technologies can serve interests of retailers that take advantage of IoT. The creation of a connection between smart homes and retail stores will be mutually beneficial. For example, smart devices (e.g. freezers, coffee machines, dishwashers) will be able to automatically order any item (e.g., apples, laundry detergents) when needed.
Retailers can use the information about purchases to improve inventory management, offer discounts on specific products, inform purchasers about upcoming special offers, and more.
The competition between retailers is super intense, and it's unlikely to become less fierce in the near term. The borderline between digital and physical shopping is fading, as they're now closely connected. Therefore, wise retailers opt for IT advances like IoT.
Tatsiana Levdikova is an IT/tech journalist at EffectiveSoft, a custom software company that unites 250+ experts.