IoT in retail is having a powerful impact. Connected smart devices aren’t just helping people to shop, play, live, and work. They are gradually changing entire industries by helping enhance the customer experience.
From smart home devices to real-time tracking systems in logistics and production, retail stores have been innovating with new use cases for smart technology based on the Internet of Things. IoT sensors and IoT data are being used for supply chain management, inventory management, predictive equipment maintenance, and even to monitor customer satisfaction, among many other things.
Store managers in particular are understanding how IoT smart devices can help disrupt the retail market. This post discusses some of the most exciting opportunities to use IoT solutions inside retail stores. Although there are many more, these will surely help you gain important business efficiencies and improve your customer experience.
Source: Think With Google
oT in Retail Stores
Although customer preferences have been moving towards online and digital experiences, brick-and-mortar retail stores continue to play a major role. Buying in a physical location is still preferred by many. In fact, many customers actually use their smartphones while in a retail store to make the most of both alternatives. This opens up many opportunities to implement IoT sensors.
This can be particularly helpful to improve and monitor customer satisfaction, both in small and large retail chain stores. For users, this can be done easily through Bluetooth smart technology and IoT apps.
A custom business app can easily be installed on a mobile device and used to send and receive valuable data on the shopping experience. In other words, an app makes tracking customers and their shopping behavior easier. By obtaining valuable data, you can then improve the experience of shopping.
That’s where IoT comes into play. Smart stores have a lot to gain from implementing IoT solutions for both customers and store management purposes. Here are some of the benefits of implementing IoT to in-store physical assets.
IoT in Retail: Benefits for Customers
IoT smart devices have the potential to enhance customer experience aspects in many ways. For a start, they can disrupt the entire supply chain. Most importantly, they can help increase customer satisfaction. In this section, I will be focusing on this last.
Here are some of the most important ways this smart technology can be implemented in your retail store:
- Interactive displays
- Smart mirrors
- Cashless checkout
- Personalized coupons
With so many people using smartphones in stores while browsing, it makes perfect sense for retailers to bring digital touches into this experience. This can help you obtain valuable data which can be used to uplevel customer engagement and can also increase sales, awareness of new products, and special offers.
IoT retail displays can help achieve these. These are interactive screens that allow visitors to engage with brands by providing information about products, pricing, promotional offers, as well as the store’s plan for navigation. Thanks to a Wi-Fi connection, the displays get all the data that is shown to customers in real-time.
Here are some of the most important ways in which interactive displays improve the customer experience:
- Increase customer engagement by introducing the element of interactivity
- Provide customers with detailed product information
- Sharing immersive brand experiences to build trust and loyalty
The experience of trying clothing will get even better with “smart mirrors.” The main purpose of this incredible device is to allow a customer to try on clothing virtually to excite and delight them in the process.
Augmented reality-powered technology is fun to use, but it also eliminates a couple of big drawbacks of in-store experiences – standing in long lines and discovering that there’s a limited product selection.
These are some of their benefits:
- Display information about items customers take to the fitting room
- Setting the light of the fitting room
- Digital signage on site
- Choose a language to use
- Messaging an employee to request attendance
- Recommend products to “complete the look”
- Send a text message with information about a product
It’s safe to assume that we’re going to see more retailers, especially clothing brands, installing these devices soon.
Automated, Cashless Checkout
Wouldn’t it be great if you could just walk out of retail stores without having to go through the process of paying? This is exactly what IoT-enabled technology delivers when using alternatives like mesh networking technology.
Your store can set up a system of IoT devices using ‘smart shopping carts’, just like Amazon Go. These digital shopping carts keep track of the items carried by a customer when he or she leaves the store, so there’s no need to wait in long lines that deter many from purchasing products. Another less sophisticated alternative is to use sensor-enabled shopping carts.
The beacon system transmits the information about the items and the cost to a special system that automatically deduces that cost from a customer’s mobile payment application.
Personalized Coupons with Discounts
Personalized discounts are a good way to reward returning customers. There are two ways you can do this. Both involve installing IoT devices in your retail store together with IoT sensors and beacons connected to the Internet:
- Track products that a customer viewed online and send them a discount on that product when he or she is in the store.
- Send a personalized digital coupon to a returning customer based on their previous purchases when they enter the store.
In addition to discounts, retailers can also share promotional messages, announcements, location-based messages, and reminders.
Benefits for Retailers
Thanks to IoT devices, store managers can create an ecosystem of connected devices to establish real-time interaction with their customers as well as improve the readiness to meet their needs.
Within store layouts, a smart shelf looks almost exactly like an ordinary shelf, but it does so much more thanks to RFID tags. RFID (Radio-Frequency Identification) tags real-time data transmission devices that read product availability and send that data to an IoT system.
RFID tags have IoT sensors connected to readers that transmit the information to the store’s management in real-time. As a result, you are able to see if there is a lack of inventory and replenish it, reducing the need to hire security personnel for detecting in-store theft.
RFID tags enable businesses to decrease their labor costs and improve their data management inside retail warehouses in a simple way. This allows them to manage inventories and guarantee food safety. Staff can easily monitor food safety and address wasted or spoiled food without customers noticing it first.
Additionally, these IoT solutions can also be used in supply chain management, as they allow companies to improve inventory management and provide supply chain insights that might otherwise be impossible to obtain.
Smart Price Tags
The main purpose of smart price tags, also referred to as “smart labels”, is to change the prices of products in real-time based on demand and other trends. As a result, a manager can adjust prices when needed without the need to print new prices for each product sold in their store.
Smart price tags are helpful in the following scenarios:
- Reducing price during a sale
- Lowering prices on low-turnover items
- Increasing prices on high-demand products
This fully integrated, real-time pricing system can be used to synchronize prices between the registers and the shelves, as well as verifying prices for monitoring and control.
IoT for the Retail Sector: Final Thoughts
There’s a whole other bunch of impressive use cases of IoT in retail that can help improve store operations. This technology can also be used with smart energy management devices and a global positioning system (GPS) to mention a few. It can even help in the process of managing company-owned resources.
It is reasonable to claim that more store owners will experiment and adopt the IoT solutions described above. To get the most of IoT in Retail, make sure to contact a qualified app development partner who can help you implement IoT solutions tailored to your business needs.
About the author:
Bridgette Hernandez is a content creator and editor at TrustMyPaper. She is known for writing informative texts based on thorough research that are engaging and pleasant to read. Bridgette obtained a Master’s degree in Anthropology.