Though many parts of the world haven’t started seeing IoT around them much, the technology seems to have started going mainstream albeit slowly. It has already made its presence known across a number of industries including healthcare, business, media/entertainment, retail etc.
Last year, McKinsey estimated that by 2020, there would be about 20-30 billion connected devices in the world, with a total worth of around $17 billion.
The statistics are a testament to the increasing adoption of IoT in various industries. In this blog, we will be taking a look at the growth of the Retail industry under the influence of IoT. Retail businesses have to constantly come up with some strategy not only to stay ahead of the competition but also to provide unique shopping experiences to customers.
Where exactly does IoT fit here?
IoT – A Brief Overview
The Internet of Things is basically Machine-to-Machine synchronized connectivity by using uniquely configured hardware devices and sensors. The technology is made available in various devices of different shapes and sizes serving different purposes. These IoT devices are integrated into home appliances like ovens, refrigerators, air conditioners etc.
When it comes to the retail industry, one of the greatest benefits of IoT is that they enable businesses to track customer behavior efficiently. The data collected by IoT devices of a retail business can be analyzed to uncover insights that’d subsequently improve decision-making.
More than 75% of retail early adopters of IoT see the technology as an effective way to change customer experience.
Here is how IoT influences retail.
Digital signs to reach consumers
Online shopping is the norm now. Many retail businesses have realized that people tend to look for information via their mobile devices. MCommerce is how a business can provide that info and subsequently boost sales. There is also a notion that goods are offered online at smaller price tags than in brick-and-mortar stores. This is true to an extent. A digital store makes it easier for a customer to compare products and make a purchase.
So essentially businesses have to provide consumers with the right kind of information at the right time to guide them through the sales funnel. In the real world, they can use signs and billboards for this. Now with IoT, they can do the same with digital signs.
These IoT-powered digital signs can connect with social networks and customer feedback to present customers in the physical store with attractive offers for goods they’ve previously shown interest in or goods that complement their most recent purchases. Essentially, the IoT devices in a store can display notifications on a consumer’s mobile device when they walk by the store enticing them to take a look at the offers. Opportunities are many.
Making it easier to locate goods
For modern day retailers, the best way to get a consumer to visit again is to give them attractive deals coupled with a comfortable and convenient shopping experience. In a physical store, retailers will have staff employed to assist customers in locating the goods they want to look at and guide them to make a purchase.
This would be a bit harder for a consumer if the store is a huge, multistoried supermarket that has a variety of goods on different floors. This would demand customers to spend more time looking for goods. IoT addresses this inconvenience by assisting sales person and customers to locate an item via sensors placed inside the store at various points. These sensors can also be used to show customers the product description, product benefits, product expiry date etc.
IoT combined with smart transportation apps
Figuring out an efficient approach to moving merchandise from one place to another has always been a challenge for retail organizations. Smart digital applications proved to be a great solution for this problem. When IoT came into the picture, there were even more positive changes. IoT now makes a difference in the maintenance of transport, item tracking, and transport route optimization.
Until now, GPS was the lifesaver for retail transporters. IoT devices combined with GPS and smart apps offer a greater degree of accuracy on the transit and arrival of the merchandise to its destination.
It’s not just the retail enterprise that’d be reaping the benefits. IoT also presents many opportunities for consumers as well. The support they will receive will make shopping easier and more convenient than ever, while the retailers build their brand’s reputation for quality service and grows revenue. The important thing is to leverage the technology the right way.
AoT can help with that. We have qualified experts who know their way around IoT and how it can be wielded via mobile apps. Let us know your queries.