Expanded Retail IoT Solutions: A Revolution in Technology7 min read
While the epidemic took a toll on transportation and logistics, the retail sector held up as an evergreen sector. Customers are always purchasing, whether online or off. This is a significant factor.
However, people’s propensity for internet shopping has seen massive growth in recent years. Retailers are rushing to use technology like AR and VR in the retail industry. Now that demand isn’t declining, and you have enough products to meet customer demand, how can you satisfy your current clientele and win over new ones?
It would be best to give your customers compelling reasons to choose your brand because many shops are vying for the top spot in the market, and more are constantly entering the race.
IoT technologies are currently used in retail to ease corporate processes and improve the consumer experience. As a result, you may fight and win wars on two fronts—your internal operations and customer-side—if you have the correct set of IoT solutions for the retail business.
The interconnection of gadgets with the internet and one another is called the Internet of Things (IoT). The Internet of Things (IoT) is a network of connected sensors, devices, and systems that can identify things, devices, and even people or animals using unique identifiers (UIDs) and send data across a network without the need for human intervention.
MuleSoft claims that the Internet of Things (IoT) is changing how people have used computers for the past 30 or 40 years by introducing a third layer of connectivity on top of the traditional client and server model. To aggregate the data gathered and deliver it to the server for processing, this “edge layer” role must be as close as possible to the physical location of the devices and sensors involved.
Any firm, regardless of industry, can profit from IoT in the following ways:
- Reduction and filtering of overall data transmission, improving the significance of the data delivered to the server.
- Due to local data storage on-premises, data gathering is possible even during a network interruption.
- Information synchronization between devices, irrespective of vendor or protocol, enables agnostic data abstraction.
How Can IoT Be Used in Retail?
Why do retail enterprises require an IoT strategy focused on modern technology? IoT techniques provide a shop with more precise data about its inventories and product offerings. Real-time data provided by these insights to merchants aids decision-making, enhances profit and loss statements, and strengthens the bottom line.
So, even though it is known that IoT makes use of UID devices to collect data locally and store it for later use and manipulation, how can retail businesses use this tactic? Here are some fundamental, valuable ways companies may use IoT in retail.
Product Tracking and Inventory
UID devices can be added to products at retail establishments that choose an IoT solution. End-to-end product tracking is a method that can begin as soon as the producer packages the goods in their logistics facility.
The merchant can enter this product into their system immediately after receiving it at their location because the UID sensor is vendor-and device-independent. Retailers now have options for using and keeping track of the information this device has collected.
Retailers can use IoT to:
- Verify Quality Assurance: The store will now have access to the product’s lifespan even before it is placed on the floor. Local stores can view the history of this product, albeit, in an ideal scenario, quality assurance staff at the manufacturing facility would verify compliance with safety and quality objectives. This information can be sent from the retailer back to the manufacturer as the product is returned if the worst-case scenario occurs and the product is sold and returned as hazardous or defective. Providing the information needed to protect customers and the bottom line improves the entire supply chain. IoT quality assurance can also alert stock managers automatically of expiration dates for perishable items without them having to look at the goods directly. It is predicted that using IoT solutions in the food retail industry will save food waste by 40% and energy use by 30%. For instance, the world’s largest retailer, Walmart, uses big data and the internet of things to keep track of refrigeration sensors and alert store managers when one is malfunctioning and threatening to spoil the goods within.
- Track Products: Retailers may identify a product’s precise position as it is moved from the storeroom to the sales floor using UID devices. While doing so can help keep the item safe from theft, it can also let store managers or stockers know precisely where a product is so that mistakes in handling or stocking are avoided. Product tracking with IoT also decreases human error in manual inventory checks.
- Track Non-Product Store Assets: IoT devices help safeguard the store’s non-retail commodities like forklifts or shopping carts by sending their locations via GPS, contrary to what many people may believe.
- Track Sales and Deliver Pricing Updates: Real-time sales tracking and improved data aggregation are made possible by IoT connectivity for all point-of-sale devices. IoT enables the connection of traditional cash registers, consumer self-serve PoS, mobile checkout stations, and even vending machines to gather sales and inventory reports for distribution to decision-makers. Electronic shelf labels (ESLs) are another tool retailers can use to reduce pricing maintenance and human stickering. These ESLs have fast access to price updates, making it possible to give specialized pricing updates. After the price changes, store management can quickly see how these price reductions affect the bottom line.
- Improve Trade Promotion Management: Intelligent technologies like IoT sensors can also help manage trade promotion. Vendors can receive information on their product’s sales based on its location in the shop, enabling end-caps and other location-based marketing strategies effectively.
Improving the Customer Experience
Beyond merely the store’s advantages, IoT can significantly impact the consumer experience, boosting client retention and satisfaction. Here is how IoT may be used to integrate with products and consumer-grade mobile devices to create a seamless customer service experience.
- Offering Digitally Improved Checkout and Shopping Experiences: Retail 4.0 is more than just multichannel shopping experiences, as was previously discussed. IoT may improve these initiatives in response to customer demand. Retailers can use IoT-based digital signage. Similar to digital billboards, small digital displays can receive data via Bluetooth from a user’s smart device that will specify which advertisement to show and when. As previously mentioned, people can also get customized savings right on their mobile devices. This is elevated to a new level by using cutting-edge, entirely hands-free checkout stations. Through IoT, people can take the item, pass through a terminal, automatically have their chosen discount applied, and then use their mobile device to pay for it.
- Resolutions for Customer Support that are Strong: For the past 20 years, consumer returns and unhappiness have been a significant bone of contention for brick-and-mortar retailers. Long lineups and understaffed counters cause inefficient use of retail workers. This directly impacts customers’ perceptions and levels of satisfaction when dealing with and making purchases from a retail establishment. However, as previously mentioned, IoT can streamline this procedure by reversing the automated checkout process. Customers can pass through the checkout terminal holding their merchandise on an RFID scanner to verify that it was returned while simultaneously getting on their device, signaling they wish to make a return. The money would be immediately credited to the individual’s account, enabling them to meet their needs without enduring uncomfortable lines quickly. When the National Highway Safety Administration issued a safety recall for one of their vehicles, Tesla updated the affected vehicles using 3G cellular towers as a larger-scale illustration of improved customer resolution through IoT. The problem was proactively fixed without the customer having to bring their car into a Tesla repair facility. This was done before many people knew their vehicle had a safety recall.
- Instantaneous Stocking Updates: Smart shelves can provide information about current product supply levels before customers visit a brick-and-mortar store utilizing the IoT’s RFID tags. Although some online retailers already offer a less effective version, an IoT-enabled understanding of this notion would also alert customers if the item was in stock but wrongly shelved. Additionally, they could see when their preferred item would be restocked on the sales floor.
Digital evolution has numerous advantages, but unexpected problems can crop up along the route. Request a free consultation to discover how Groove Technology supports top retailers in overcoming significant issues.
We’re always available to help if you need assistance enhancing your retail firm’s digital evolution.