How Internet of Things Is Redefining The Retail Experience
While most of us have remained busy discussing how quickly online shopping has gone mainstream, a quiet revolution is growing in the retail sector across the world. Internet of Things is breathing life into dying retail spaces while invigorating newer and more creative retail units. IoT-enabled shopping is taking online e-Commerce space by storm too, enhancing logistics, delivery, and even the shopping experience.
With more than 30 billion connected devices available by 2020, IoT is leading all technological innovation in the retail sector. From improving products to reducing energy consumption, and from enhancing marketing outcomes to improving customer experience, IoT is practically all over the place. Most importantly, all the accumulation of data is helping companies to gain new insights, and enhance products and customer experience, while witnessing double-digit growth rate. Amazon Go is a great example of this revolution.
In this article, let’s take a look at how IoT is helping both offline retailers. Let us also briefly look at some of the top trends in retail with IoT devices in mind.
How Internet of Things is helping brick and mortar stores as well
Thousands of stores are shutting down, malls are going out of business, and retail stores simply aren’t able to catch up with the speed of digital shopping. In addition, people themselves have begun to prefer ordering products online than making a trip to the nearest mall or supermarket. Retail sector all around the world has much to worry about and resent. Yet, there is a silver lining in every cloud. IoT is helping retailers across the world to not only thrive but also attract more customers than ever to their stores.
- Vending machines are being revolutionised across malls and public places as customised orders and products can now be placed.
- Interactive displays and digital signage are helping customers to shop better and reach out right counter or shelf, depending on the in-store choices they make.
- Few retailers may offer virtual and smart mirrors, which provide information about the clothes they are trying. If the particular shirt a man is trying is green when compared to the one he just tried earlier, why not urge him to buy that automatically?
- Beacons and RFID tags can be further enhanced with sensors. IoT-enabled beacons can be used to recognize facial expressions, customer behavior across shopping aisles, and other such information. This can be used to enhance customer experience.
- IoT most importantly hastens the checkout process. Both retailers and customers can bid goodbye to lengthy queues at the billing counter, thanks to self-checkouts.
Hottest trends in the retail sector depend on IoT
If there is one thing that is going to sustain retail, it is IoT. Let us take a look at few situations where IoT is helping retail to innovate, sustain, and thrive.
- Marketing is easier than ever
IoT is responsible for making marketing easier than ever. It provides the tools required for making both omnichannel and multichannel marketing successful. Sensors are increasingly being used by retailers to help customers. IoT sensors also help stores to engage in in-store marketing.
- Coordinate with customers quickly
One of the factors that set IoT apart is its ability to communicate not just between devices or sensors, but also enhance communication between the retailer/manufacturer and the user. This helps store owners to coordinate with customers quickly in case products need maintenance services, or if there is an update to be installed. Download our case study on Konvergence’s K-Wallet, which revolutionized retail shopping some time ago.
- Customising customer experience
There are sensors for tracking virtually every behaviour of a customer. When done ethically, sensors can provide valuable data that help manufacturers to enhance customer experience. Whether it is about enhancing certain product features or bringing better customer service, IoT can do it all with an ease and pomp.
- Create better product ecosystems
Manufacturers and retailers have begun to tie up to provide better customer experience, using sensors. This is helping create new opportunities for better product ecosystems. Customers have options for maintenance, servicing, updating, or choosing from related products post-sales as well. Automated orders of spare parts when they need to be replaced is just one example of this ecosystem.
- Optimise logistics and inventory handling
IoT’s is creating improved efficiency inventory handling and logistics management. Businesses are literally growing because they can deliver products quickly, and replenish stocks. IoT is helping businesses to ensure retail never faces a hitch due to product unavailability or delayed shipments.
- Data-derived insights
IoT, as we all know, gathers and processes enormous amounts of data. All this data is fodder for analytics and insight deriving, and that’s exactly how businesses are using IoT data. Insights derived from product usage, product malfunctioning, customer behaviour, and other such situations continually help retailers and manufacturers to enhance customer experience and product enhancement. We had written an article a little while ago, describing how data analytics and AI both are going to influence IoT in the coming months and years.
Read More about How to Manage Your Online Store in 2019?
IoT-enabled retail is here to stay
As you can see, IoT is quietly bringing formidable changes to both online and offline retail spaces. It is also changing the way retail manufacturers manage their business. Considering how quickly IoT is taking over retail, and how it is sustaining all the players in the space, it is worth observing the technology more keenly. In the near future, IoT enabled sensors will help retailers improve marketing, bring better customer experience, and enhance product support to users. Security may seem like an issue with all the IoT related data being generated, but we recently wrote about how to handle those issues. While we are at it, do take a look at some of the most valuable programming languages to learn, if you wish to develop for IoT yourself. Last but not the least, IoT will help businesses of all types to derive useful insights which will help improve products and customer experience at the same time.
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