The Internet of Things Is Drastically Changing Retail

The Internet of Things is beginning to make its mark on various industries. Most large companies are using IoT (Internet of Things) technologies or are planning to use them. IoT technologies can be used to gather data in order to help companies better serve customers and to be more efficient. But there is an industry that has already incorporated IoT technology to a large degree. That industry is retail.

Venkat-Janapareddy-bag-839602_960_720The landscape of the retail industry is rapidly transforming due to IoT technology. This revolutionary data-sharing technology has created a number of new opportunities in customer service, in brick-and-mortar stores, in the supply chain and more. IoT technology has also made its way into a number of home-based connected platforms. IoT technology has also been used to track inventory through the installation of smart shelves that can detect when inventory is low. Goods can be tracked throughout the supply chain using RFID sensors.

IoT technology has played a large role in shifting the consumer experience. In today’s world, consumers expect to have a seamless shopping experience, whether they are on an e-commerce site or if they’re shopping at a brick-and-mortar store. Many steps are being taken to shape what a connected store would look like and to make that dream a reality. Some stores have systems that send shoppers personalized digital coupons when they come into the store. Electronic shelf labels with dynamic pricing are also a key part of IoT technology’s role in the consumer’s experience. Other examples include self-checkout using smartphones and interactive digital signs that sense who is in front of them in order to tailor promotions to that individual.

This potential for growth utilizing IoT technology is largely thanks to long-range, low-power Wi-Fi. Wi-Fi and other indoor location-based technologies let retailers bring IoT technology into the store and experiment with the ways that it can improve the customer experience while still maintaining the customers’ privacy.

IoT technology is also altering retail supply chain and delivery operations. In the world of retail, there is a need to understand where the goods are and how up-to-date they are. IoT technology can provide a lot of this information. It allows for better visibility and can also help to prevent the loss of goods. IoT technology can also be utilized to measure how environmental factors like heat are affecting goods. When goods are damaged, IoT technology can help people figure out the exact location and time of the damage, therefore making it possible to identify what party is responsible.

IoT technology is also able to help automate and optimize the supply chain. Shelf sensors can be installed in stores and warehouse systems so that they can re-order products when inventories reach low levels. This can lead to increased accuracy of inventory accounting as well as a reduction in out-of-stocks and a decrease in product loss.

Like all new advances in technology, the Internet of Things does come with its challenges. The biggest challenge is simply how quickly it is evolving and the wide variety of technologies that can be connected. The largest issue regarding IoT technology in retail is figuring out how to analyze, manage, and act on the large amounts of data that are coming in from all of the connected devices.

IoT technology will truly become a key part of the retail industry when merchants realize that the goal of IoT technology is to change business outcomes. IoT technology has the power to create a new revenue stream, new customer experiences, and new business models. It’s only a matter of time before IoT technology transforms the way we think about retail.