IoT Applications in retail industry

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The retail sector has undergone constant changes in recent years, such as the expansion of electronic commerce, the high connectivity of consumers and the inclusion of new technologies in the work environment. This has required physical stores to adapt and transform their strategies and structures. However, for companies to keep up with this evolution, it has become crucial to continuously invest in innovation. They need to look for new ways to capture and relate to consumers, who are increasingly demanding.

 In order to remain in the current competitive market and be able to win and retain customers, it is essential to rely on technology. Companies need to modernize their service and management environments to be able to meet the demands of the new Digital Age. In this scenario, investing in trends such as the Internet of Things (IoT) can bring great results for the business. You can optimize the consumer experience, reduce costs and avoid failures and losses, boosting companies’ business and revenue generation. 

Thanks to its functionalities, this technology is considered as one of the main pillars of retail transformation. The IoT allows the integration and automation of the entire chain of commerce, enabling better planning and optimization of customer service. Due to its importance and benefits, IoT will be increasingly present in this sector. For this reason, it is essential that companies should have a thorough knowledge of IoT applications in the retail industry. 

In this post, we’ll show you the top 6 areas where IoT applications exist in retail. Continue reading and stay on top of the news!

  • Predictive equipment maintenance

This technique is utilized to manage energy, predict equipment failure or detect other problems. To better illustrate, we can think of the example of supermarkets, which have much complex types of equipment that most people know as refrigeration units.

When these units are instrumented with sensors, it is possible to anticipate the resolution of maintenance problems that would likely affect energy consumption, either to save money or to monitor temperature variations. In this way, the establishment guarantees the safety of food and other perishables.

  • Connected consumers

The consumer is increasingly connected, and this change in habit has had a direct impact on retail. Retailers as of now comprehend that clients would now be able to check in-store costs and inventory levels on their cell phones.  Have you ever wondered if we could make a personalized offer at a better price, or even provide location-based services in the store? More than that: what if we could reach our high-value customers with concierge services? Well, know that all this is already possible with the applications of IoT in retail.

Previously, it was very common to send mass promotions to customers with the expectation that some adequate percentage might show interest in that promotion. However, today it is very easy to understand the client’s requirements and sent promotions accordingly. And, the customer responds to this demand in a proactive way.

  • Intelligent transportation

Moving goods more efficiently is one of the objectives of smart transportation applications in retail. In this sense, IoT can come into play with maintaining transport, tracking and route optimization.

We know that many retailers in recent years have used GPS to track trucks and route them. With retail IoT applications, however, retailers will be able to perceive a much greater degree of accuracy than how close a pallet of goods is to a particular store, for example.

  • Warehouse automation

When it comes to optimizing warehouse space for demand, it’s virtually impossible not to talk about warehouse automation and robotics, driven by the demand for online and in-store purchases. The novelty is that the IoT allows monitoring sales opportunities in real-time and track lost deals in the store.  

It is essential to remember that RFID is a well-tested part of the IoT that can be utilized to manage and upgrade inventory more proficiently. Currently, a warehouse can be organized by aisles and shelves based on a fixed layout, allowing automatic pallets to self-organize based on real-time demand.

  • Smart stores

In a smart store, your traffic can be analyzed by retailers so that we understand the entire shopping flow. Previously, we had to run costly research projects to comprehend whether store partners were responding to client care needs and afterward enact elaborate staff training programs. 

Today, with smart stores, we will be able to utilize video or Wi-Fi traffic monitoring to check if customers span a product area. Then, in real-time, direct an associate to help that customer or analyze that information later to adjust store layouts for more efficient customer visits.

In addition, by monitoring store traffic and customer demand in real-time, we can personalize the current shopping experience in the store, which guarantees the opportunity to implement rich digital marketing within the store or announce events to customers through their mobile devices.

  • Beacons to make local content accessible

Customers who download the app from the store and activate Bluetooth on their device will receive product recommendations related to the department in which they are currently located, such as a push notification or an in-app update on their phone.

Let’s take an example! An outfit in the store can receive notifications about facts that are currently trending on Pinterest. And as the buyer makes his way to the food section of the store, a list of available shopping promotions will move to the top of his news feed.

 With the great advance of internet shopping, retailers are very interested in eliminating the bottlenecks that exist between the process in the online store and the physical store, optimizing the consumer experience.

They also want access to the same kind of rich data and high-performance analytics that retailers use to drive websites and mobile shopping trips: the goal is to have that same unlimited control to create a customer experience and collect detailed data to help them predict how customers will buy.

The differentiation of IoT applications in retail comes from a retailer’s ability to detect, understand and act on IoT data with analysis. It will not be on IoT technology, devices or plumbing: to take advantage of this promising new area, retailers must focus on the IoT applications that best serve customers and create value.

In addition, it is important to remember that while IoT is revolutionary, simply implementing this technology will not be enough. Retailers and solution providers need to work together to ensure that this data is deconstructed, analyzed and implemented in order to allow greater customer satisfaction and meet business objectives.

Conclusion

The retail sector is constantly changing and, for the coming years, the trend is that the Internet of Things is increasingly integrated into the organization’s internal processes and its business strategies. Therefore, it is important to invest in this technology to expand its presence in the market and achieve greater results.

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