How Can The Internet Of Things Transform The Retail Industry?

Back to Blog  •  Posted on July 29, 2016 by Pacific 54

Graphic icons depicting the concept of the internet of things and connectivity.
By now, you’ve probably heard the term the Internet of Things (IoT) mentioned in regards to the advancement of technology. You may have heard that the IoT has the potential to streamline every aspect of daily life. Or, you may be familiar with the idea of smart cities. But, if you aren’t familiar with the subject, you may be asking yourself questions like what exactly is the IoT and will it really transform aspects of my daily life?

Simply put, the IoT is the concept that billions of everyday objects will be connected via a network and that these objects will be wirelessly accessible for communication. These devices already include cars, traffic signals, security systems, and much, much more – basically anything that can send and receive data. When these devices are all connected it creates an intelligent system that will revolutionize the way we live by sharing and analyzing relevant data. From transportation to healthcare and beyond, our entire world will be transformed by the Internet of Things. With this in mind, let’s take a closer look at how the IoT can specifically enhance our lives.

Enhancing Your Customer’s Experience.

The IoT can use data to create a personalized shopping experience, thus enhancing customer relationships. A combination of in-store IoT devices and previous shopping history can identify patterns to create a more relevant and rewarding shopping experience. For example, a retailer could use a shopper’s in-store location to deliver timely and relevant promotions and digital coupons. Overall, this could drive sales and could strengthen the relationship between a business and its customers.

Optimizing Your Store’s Operations.

Using data from IoT sensors, retailers can optimize and better manage in-store operations, such as energy usage and in-store marketing efforts. By using IoT connected thermostats, lighting, and refrigeration, stores can better manage their energy consumption. Furthermore, by using cameras, sensors, and smartphones, stores can identify customer patterns and behaviors, and administer effective and relevant in-store marketing efforts. In addition, IoT-generated data can identify issues such as long lines or stockouts, and allow management to respond quickly and efficiently.

A customer is shopping and using their smartphone.

Streamlining Inventory and Supply Chain Management.

Managing inventory and tracking products is always a challenging task. IoT can help organizations manage their inventory in a number of ways. By utilizing sensors, such as radio frequency (RFID) tags, companies can track packages and pallets of products in real time. The tracking can be done in the warehouse, on store shelves, or in a shipment truck. This will simplify the supply chain management process and will make it easier to keep tabs on inventory. Additionally, data generated by RFID tags, cameras, and other sensors can be used to monitor inventory levels and automatically place orders if a product is running low, which increases inventory accuracy and streamlines the reordering process.

In addition to being able to tell retailers which products are selling most, the Internet of Things is also able to indicate why these trends occur. For example, data can inform retailers who is buying which products, what store placement leads to the best performance, and any other pertinent information that can help predict future trends.

Optimizing Fleet Management.

Utilizing GPS to track fleets is not a new concept. However, the IoT elevates fleet tracking and management capabilities to a whole new level. This occurs by placing sensors in vehicles which generate data. When this data is analyzed, the reports can determine optimal delivery routes, delivery schedule, and recommended speed. Furthermore, the IoT can allow organizations to adjust the interior temperature of a truck when shipping perishable goods, and identify potential maintenance issues before they occur. Utilizing the IoT will streamline fleet management and will lead to more accurate lead time predictions and lower operating costs.

The Internet of Things is truly transforming the world and is definitely making retail smarter. Retailers must embrace the IoT if they wish to remain relevant in the rapidly evolving retail landscape. As the retail world transforms, the next generation of shoppers is going to come to expect certain conveniences and luxuries made possible by communicating with smart devices. Integrating these devices into retail operations will completely streamline the retail process, from inventory management to marketing, and ultimately cut costs in the long run.