IoT in Retail, How does the internet of things (IoT) turn out to be a game changer in the retail industry? As we explore IoT’s future in the retail sector and predict retailers increasingly using this technology in the upcoming year ahead.
We’ve sorted out 10 ingenious ways to use IoT in retail industry in 2022.
In the IoT age, we’re all more connected to each other than ever before. This saying doesn’t just apply to people, but also to the devices that we use too.
IoT makes big data and information more readily available, allowing us to make better instinctive decisions.
For example, a fitness tracker can tell us how many steps we need to beat our daily average. Also, it can track how many glasses of water we need to stay hydrated. And, also what’s our BPM and blood oxygen level?
IIoT allows industries to make better business decisions as well. For example, let’s consider the world of retail. IoT in retail industry helps businesses understand customers better and improve the overall user experience.
IoT may sometimes sound new and exciting, but the real truth is, we’ve all been familiarly using IoT devices for a very long time. The fitness tracker on your wrist, the smart bulb you can control with your phone, and the Wi-Fi-powered doorbell on the front of your house… it’s all been IoT technology all the way long.
So, IoT is powered by something called the edge cloud – or a subset of cloud technology.
This edge cloud processes data as close to your device as possible, ensuring a quick response/reaction and a fast decisive call to action.
The reality of IoT in the retail industry: and how it can be used.
We’ve taken a look out at what IoT is all about – but we need to further explore the possibilities of IoT in retail.
Retailers surely need to handle substantial amounts of data daily – everything from registering stock inventory to customer payment details. IoT deployment lets stores manage and share this information between devices as fast and securely as possible.
IoT goes hand in hand with AI helping retailers automate tasks and actions. This ensures customers can get all their questions answered as quickly as possible, while retailers can be more cost-efficient.
IoT can bridge the gap between eCommerce stores and their respective brick-and-mortar counterparts. By making the omnichannel experience seamless for customers, stores can provide a consistent level of interaction that almost 99% of shoppers expect.
Now let’s look at ten different ways IoT can be used in the retail sector in the upcoming year ahead.
10 ingenious ways to use IoT in the retail industry in 2022
First and foremost, comes managing the stock levels.
A store has hundreds, perhaps thousands of items that are available for purchase and it’s essential to ensure that stock levels remain consistent.
Inventory management in the past meant spreadsheets and manual checks of stock levels. This took a long time and wasn’t accurate. With IoT in retail in place, sensors can be used to identify if the stock reaches a certain level. Staff can be alerted to stock up on more products or alternatively, an IoT device can order the deficit stocks automatically.
Decades ago, changing product prices was considered a frustrating task. Retail assistants would verify that the price of a product had changed, revise labels on the shelves, and update it at the checkout too.
Utilizing IoT made the process much easier. Smart shelf labels can automatically self-update if the price of a product is amended on a central management platform, saving staff time and ensuring accuracy across all store chains and product lines.
These smart labels have a QR code or NFC that shoppers can scan to find additional information such as ingredient lists, allergens information, discount codes, or even an instructional video.
Offering customer support
Sometimes unavailability of knowledgeable staff can cause delays in providing valuable customer service. So, this is where the IoT in reatil can take over and be of great benefit.
For example, in the virtual fitting room. A virtual trial room has grown in popularity over the past few years, with the market now worth nearly $3 billion a year. Top retailers are using this IoT and AI-assisted technology in-store and helping customers try clothes and makeup on without having to go into a traditional changing room
This helps customers discover new products, and can also reduce return rates by over a third.
The equipment in a retail environment needs some extra care. From air conditioners to refrigeration all are vitally important for business. It’s imperative to ensure all equipment is well-maintained. In cases of damage or breaks down, it could potentially mean a loss of stock. What’s even worse, it can degenerate products resulting in unhappy customers.
IoT can be deployed to automate these units. Sensors can be applied to each piece of equipment, constantly checking parameters like temperature, humidity, and power consumption. If any issues are found, maintenance staff can check the equipment and repair it before any major damage is incurred.
Analyzing customer interaction
Erstwhile only market surveys and questionnaires were the ways of knowing customer preferences. Now, with IoT onboard in retail businesses can find out more about the people coming into their stores.
IoT can track customers’ shopping behaviors and list the products they buy. This collected information is fed into a central system, helping retailers enhance the customer experience and pitch their marketing efforts.
One of the most recent ways that the IoT is being used in retail is through robot technology. For example, some supermarket chains deployed robot employees to identify low levels of stock, identify spills, and locate misplaced items.
By using technology to automate jobs, it can free up staff to focus on other tasks like, answering customer queries and thinking of business expansion and growth ventures.
Implementing health and safety
The pandemic of 2020 and 2021 meant that stores had to provide health and safety measures so that both staff and customers remained protected.
For example, store employees can wear Bluetooth social distancing tracking devices on their work clothing. If an employee is ill, the management can quickly identify contacts asking them to self-isolate as a precaution.
Similar technology can monitor how many people are shopping in-store. If the floor traffic increases unmanageably security staff will receive a notification, asking shoppers to wait outside until the shop floor becomes less busy.
Tracking staff location
In the case of a large store or warehouse, it can be hard to locate sales staff. IoT can help here.
By pinning in sensors (similar to the ones described above), managers can locate team members movements and improve efficiency.
For example, in case of a bottleneck in a warehouse space, management can implement a one-way system or look at area or shop floor expansion so more people can pass through at any given time.
IoT can be used to market updated sales messages to prospective customers, improving their overall experience and increasing the chances of a sale.
A coffee chain giant has famously used this technology to outreach customers. For instance, when walking past a store, a transmitter sends a notification to their phone, updating them with the latest offers and encouraging them to come inside to try some fresh coffee.
Cash is growing obsolete with every four out of five shoppers now selecting to pay for their products using cards or other contactless payment options.
With IoT, customers can purchase using smart assistants like Alexa on their fitness trackers and smartwatches. They can even pay for their purchases by waving against a contactless payment machine.
That’s not all. There are retail stores where customers can shop without using a checkout.
Using a combination of cameras, IoT sensors, and AI lets shoppers leave the store with their shopping and have their accounts automatically charged.
Conclusion: Smart retail and IoT are here to grow
With more insight, it is known that the retail industry is all about the efficient use of big data. Especially now that businesses are becoming more digitized. IoT means that retail can acquire, manage and share big data more effectively with the relevant markets, industries, and people.
While IoT is a great industry to get into, the competitiveness of this domain means it is not without its challenges. The truth is only one out of every four IoT-related startups is successful.
Meaning that if you are looking to move into the world of smart retail and IoT, it’s essential to have market research on Finding a USP over other sellers prevalent in your specific niche to build a solid product or service. Making most of the highly competitive dynamic pricing models.
With the above-said use cases of IoT applications in retail. The integration of the concomitant system is strengthening the future application of IoT in all domains of retail and the e-selling space.
Technosphere designs smart IoT products and industry-specific IoT solutions including IoT connectivity solutions. powered by deploying enhanced IT. Offering seamless system integration, machine learning, sensors, and embedded technologies to help improve any businesses across multiple verticals. to generate growth, and retain stability and competition. Its reliable and secure data aggregation and seamless cloud connectivity help support IoT data analysis and utilization ready for any successful product implementations and IoT retail applications.
Incorporated in 2013, Technosphere has offices based in Bangalore, India, and Dallas, USA. It is promoted by industry leaders in electronics and product development engineering and has a successful industry record of developing IoT products and solutions.