The retail industry is experiencing a dramatic transformation with innovative IoT applications. Retailers and marketers have endless opportunities with IoT applications to gather and bring more profound insights into customer behavior and shopping patterns.
IoT applications help retailers to increase productivity, sales and improve overall customer experience. By providing such benefits, IoT has become the center of attraction among retailers worldwide. Markets and Markets expect revenue of IoT in retail to reach around 35.5 billion USD by 2025.
Retailers can utilize IoT technology for their benefit in various ways. The most significant applications of IoT in retail are discussed ahead.
Applications of IoT in Retail
A significant amount of time and energy is invested in keeping track of items to ensure the products’ availability and proper condition. With Smart Shelves, IoT technology automates the task of monitoring products and at the same time eliminates the possibility of any potential thefts.
Sensors and RFID tags are fitted on the shelves that monitor the products and collect the data. The readers are used to scan products on both display shelves and stock shelves.
Smart shelves inform when items are incorrectly placed on the shelf or when they are running low. It helps to manage the inventory precisely and cost-effectively. The RFID tags are connected to a reader that provides the Smart shelves the ability to detect in-store thefts. Thus, it helps to save money on expensive security personnel.
The store’s checkout counters remain usually crowded with long lines of customers waiting for their turn to pay the bills. IoT technology resolves this issue efficiently by setting up a system to read tags on each item when customers leave the store. The checkout system would tally the items with RFID tags and automatically deduct the cost from the customer’s mobile payment application.
Such automated checkout systems can dramatically enhance the customer experience and increase their willingness to revisit the store for the next round of shopping.
The frequent returning customers generally expect some privilege, which may be personal discounts or rewards to address their loyalty.
One way to please such loyal customers could be to set up sensors that send loyalty discounts to customers when they approach the specific products with their smartphones. Another way is to use IoT to track those items that the customer has been looking at online and send a personalized discount when they are in-store. Such attractive offers implemented through IoT can amaze the customers and strengthen their loyalty.
Ultimately, incorporating IoT into a daily business requires creativity and foresightedness. The innovative approach will attract more valuable and long-term customers.
In-Store Layout Optimization
By implementing analytics on the data collected via infrared sensors, the store’s layout is optimized, placing the products at their relevant place. Putting the most popular products at the front and the least liked at the back can provide customers a comfortable reach to the desired item. For example, a customer is looking for the popular Smart TV in-store, but it is placed behind the DVD player’s stock, which is not approachable. This inconvenience might end up in losing a potential customer. Therefore, the optimized in-store layout governs significant importance.
Moreover, with IoT applications’ help, customers can easily find and locate their products in-store, find the route to reach their desired items, and check the products’ details as informed by the Smart shelves.
Optimized Supply Chain Management
The RFID tags and GPS sensors associated with each product provides precise data about the products’ condition like temperature, humidity, time spent in transit, and other relevant factors. When processed and analyzed to gain insights, the collected data can improve the quality of transportation and the overall supply chain. Moreover, IoT sensors alert the person in charge in case of any emergency and allow them to take preventive actions immediately, thereby avoiding a substantial loss.
IoT is dramatically transforming the retail industry by implementing innovative applications. The integration of IoT solutions in retail businesses leads to improved customer experience, high-quality services, reduced operational costs, and improved inventory management.
By gaining valuable insights through IoT and Data analytics, retailers can streamline their operations, including inventory management, supply chain, increase marketing conversions and boost their ROIs. More and more retailers will adopt IoT into their businesses in the upcoming years to maximize their profits.