Technology in the retail space is consistently evolving. From hand-held scanning devices to self-checkout lanes, technology has always moved the industry forward. Now, the Internet of Things (IoT) is compelling the future of retail to be even more exciting with offerings that will make the practice of purchasing faster and easier for the consumer, while providing retailers more opportunities to streamline processes and significantly reduce loss.
Loss prevention is one of the most difficult tasks to manage for retailers. From shoplifting to spoiled food, and even simple missed chances to complete a transaction, sellers worldwide lose billions of dollars each year. Reducing theft and food waste while capitalizing on opportunities that would otherwise go unnoticed will not only bring those billions of dollars back to retailers, but will greatly impact employee time-management and future purchasing decisions.
IoT allows retailers to use several connected devices to customize the customer experience while reducing waste and loss. By using real-time data from smartphones, sensors, and cameras, managers are able to utilize a better understanding of the minute-to-minute needs of their location. Not only will retailers be able to connect with the consumer in-store, but in the home as well as apps give shoppers the power to compare prices, alert them when they are running low on a product, and automate purchases.
Sensors are one of the most efficient ways IoT is being utilized for these immediate loss prevention objectives. They can be added to a freezer to alert someone if the temperature is too high or too low, reducing spoilage. Jewelry cases can be equipped with sensors to alert store employees if a case has been left open unattended. Motion activated sensors are designed to let associates know when a customer has entered the establishment or is in a particular area of the store. In-store stock levels can be measured with a combination of video and pressure sensor mats, giving retailers the capability to ward off would-be outside shoplifters and even internal employee theft. These sensors can also simply let management know when an item is out, therefore allowing ample time to restock, decrease the loss of sales, and increase customer loyalty.
Long-term loss prevention is also applicable from sensor data and other IoT records. Information, such as shopper traffic and inventory, can be composed and analyzed for future cost-savings. From these predictions, retailers have the ability to predict customer behavior, make informed purchasing and restocking decisions, and forecast seasonal patterns.
Technology for retail will only continue to grow, and IoT will offer many opportunities and advantages for years to come. From reducing loss and increasing productivity, to improving the customer experience and gaining crucial data, IoT will persist in maximizing the retailer’s investment.
The Internet of Things (IoT) is compelling the future of retail to be even more exciting with offerings that will make the practice of purchasing faster and easier for the consumer, while providing retailers more opportunities to streamline processes and significantly reduce loss.