Retailers are taking advantage of IoT more than ever. While the growth of eCommerce most certainly has affected the brick-and-mortar store, retailers have found new ways to use this technology to their advantage. It is apparent that the Internet of Things can have a great impact on the overall store management and customer experience, and business owners are more open than ever to discovering ways this availability of information can increase their in-store sales.
Below are four ways that retailers are making the most of IoT:
The Online World in the Traditional Store
There is no such thing as an online-free zone. Even when in a retail store, customers are still looking at their mobile devices. Mobile phones open many doors for creating positive experiences and gathering data. Mobile apps allow patrons to compare pricing, find deals in the store, provide helpful information, and offer additional incentives that are often more appealing than buying online. IoT makes in-store shopping more personal and as easy as online purchasing. Mobile point of sale, allowing shoppers to scan and buy items anywhere in the store, is projected to grow exponentially, with 87% of retailers deploying the technology by 2021.
Inventory Management Made Easier
Inventory management has always been a challenge for retailers, from merchandise not being replaced in time to in-store staff not knowing where to find an item, but IoT is making it easier for them to track, ship, and oversee these products. Technology, like inventory RFID tags and in-store floor sensors, allows for managers to follow products from the point of manufacturing to the store shelves to the customer’s hands. More and more retailers are implementing ways for consumers to purchase products online and pick them up in the store, enticing them with free shipping or other incentives.
The Supply Chain Will Be Reinvented
Through automation, sensors, and analytics, the supply chain will be significantly improved with real-time visibility. The future of the retail supply chain is based on demand through real-time tracking, instead of a warehouse full of pre-arranged inventory. Damaged or lost inventory can be reduced, as products are easily tracked through IoT and smart transportation applications. In addition, through route optimization and GPS data, business owners have access to information that optimizes time management on every level, which is particularly important for perishable or temperature specific items.
The Customer Experience Will Improve
Perhaps the most prominent benefit of IoT is the effect it has on the consumer experience. For retailers, the ability to gather data from shoppers provides them the unique opportunity to customize their in-store visit. Targeted loyal and repeat patrons can be invited to special deals that proactively drive them to the store. Customers appreciate the time-saving benefits of being able to check prices in-store, see if another location has their size, or what sales are running without having to track down a sales associate. Smart stores now have the technology to understand the complete shopper’s journey and enact staff training, highlight specific products, and change store layouts through IoT and traffic monitoring.
Retailers base their business on predictions and taking advantage of opportunities. IoT provides an abundant option to forecast the needs and wants of the customer, and once those products are available, create a successful shopping experience, both online and in line at the store. Using IoT also diminishes missed sales opportunities, ensuring items are delivered intact, available, and easy to find. By merging the advantages of online purchasing with brick-and-mortar shopping, retailers can offer their shoppers a connected and personal experience.
IoT provides an abundant option to forecast the needs and wants of the customer, and once those products are available, create a successful shopping experience, both online and in line at the store.