Internet of Things (IoT) has been creating a lot of hype among retail shoppers, and business houses are making concerted efforts to use this technology to boost their business prospects.
IoT can revolutionize the way we shop and automate several services which in today’s life need human intervention. For example, in future IoT can make our fridges order food, our electrical and electronic appliances schedule servicing and our cars can go to the filling station for refuelling themselves.
Apart from making our life simple and easy by doing a lot of mundane works, IoT technology will be a game changer for the future retail business environment.
The Retail sector has the potential to gain maximum benefits from transformations caused by IoT as the technology can help merchants improve their marketing and operational efficiencies, trade more high-margin goods and ensure custom-made targeted engagements with shoppers. Technologically agile businessmen may use IoT technology to increase profits and improve shopping experiences.
IoT opens multiple windows for retailers to intelligently communicate with customers directly and automatically. Whether enabling business through voice interfaces in-vehicle or in-home, marketing to in-store customers in real time or offering reliable omni-channel buying experiences through face-to-face or digital channels, IoT presents retail businesses with an opportunity to communicate with more potential customers effectively to drive up growth.
IoT can also be used to perform several other mundane business enhancement exercises both in-store and outside the business areas. For example, store owners can measure footfalls, optimising in-store space utilization and monitoring critical store equipment such as air-conditioners, freezers and ovens. In-store smart sensors can be used to detect inventory levels automatically and place an order directly from the procurement sources such as warehouses, factory or distributors, with automated settlement of payments, which normally pass through administrative channels.
Similarly, when in-store sensor data is combined with external data, the demand can be predicted accurately at any point of time, and store owners can make right products available for customers at the right time. All these things, which are programmed to happen in the background without human involvement, can provide competitive edge to retailers who take advantage on the technology.
IoT can help retailers move towards checkout-less shops and increase sales volume by making customers shop without wasting time in the queue. Shopping without checkout is going to be a reality soon across the globe, though Amazon Go has started this concept for trial run. Similarly, RFID tags connected shopping baskets and trolleys and mobile phone apps can further increase shopping experience and reduce the effort and time of shopping.
Another technology revolutions which are worth to mention and also part of IoT are Bluetooth and beacons that can help businesses recognise customers instantly when they come near their shop, telling them how important they are to them by sending personalize messages, greetings and entice them with timely and relevant offers.
IoT can make shopping simple and effective while for retailers, they can harness the potential it offers. Retail businesses should take a serious look at how you can test some IoT use cases and begin to understand where it can add value. Hurry and adopt IoT before your competitors take advantage of it!