3 minute read 8 Dec 2017
Woman shopping in grocery

How IoT technologies can accelerate retail

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US Americas

Multidisciplinary professional services organization

3 minute read 8 Dec 2017

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The Internet of Things (IoT) will dramatically impact the world of retail, to the degree that it may never be the same again.

For the past few years, the Internet of Things (IoT) has gradually been moving from a futuristic concept into becoming a reality, with the potential to impact how we live, how we work and how we buy things.

The IoT represents the bridge between the physical and the digital world and has become a huge opportunity as smart-connected devices give us access to better information and, as a result, allow us to make better decisions. A good way to look at its main benefit is: it takes guessing out of the equation. The combination of advanced computer power, sensors and data analytics has given us an incredible tool.

Some key IoT benefits

On the one hand, IoT allows the synchronization of information. Different parties at different locations can have access to the same information at the same time.

In addition, thanks to advancements in data processing and predictive analytics technology, we are not only able to know what is happening now but also to predict what could happen in the future. This means that retailers, distributors and manufacturers can have access to real-time information and can better control the supply chain process.

Organizations are also better able to plan ahead because of the data they receive. For example, they can automatically monitor inventory in stores and send notifications when an item is running low. This results in significant savings in both time and money.

Organizations can automatically monitor inventory in stores and send notifications when an item is running low. This results in significant savings in both time and money.

Generating business results, enhancing customer experience

IoT is not just about sensors, connectivity and data — it’s about business results, such as generating growth through new revenue streams or new business models. And all this is possible by enhancing the customer experience, for which IoT technologies offer a multitude of opportunities within the retail sector.

For example, IoT can provide valuable insights to improve the in-store customer experience. In-store sensors, which collect data on location and shopper-journey tracking, allow retailers to have real-time consumer behavior analysis. Apart from demographics, this analysis can provide data on frequency and duration of store visits, shoppers’ paths through the store, time spent in particular zones, and analysis of queue lengths and waiting times. As a result, the combination of various data sources enables generation of actionable insights, valid answers, and required and measurable KPIs.

IoT can also add value through the use of smart devices that enhance the actual shopping experience. The key to this is figuring out how to use this technology to add value. Organizations need to ask themselves, “How can we help the consumer save time, stress or money?”

Apart from demographics, analysis can provide data on frequency and duration of store visits, shoppers’ paths through the store, time spent in particular zones, and analysis of queue lengths and waiting times.

Online retailers are leading the field when it comes to developing innovative solutions to make the customer experience quicker and simpler. For example, ideas such as Wi-Fi-connected devices that enable the reordering of a customer’s favorite products simply by pushing a button.

In conclusion, IoT will continue to disrupt the traditional retail process over the coming years. Organizations that wish to remain competitive must develop a sense of urgency and proactively begin their journey by focusing on developing their customer experience capabilities and by testing and experimenting with IoT technologies.

Summary

Retailers that wish to remain competitive must take the initiative to experiment with the Internet of Things so that they can develop their customer-experience capabilities.

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By

US Americas

Multidisciplinary professional services organization