Retail Internet of Things

    The advent of the Internet has pushed many areas of business to apply innovation and modern technology. Retail is no exception and in recent years has been actively using the capabilities of the Internet of Things (IoT). At the same time, IoT has become for retail more than just an abstract system of interconnected sensors, smartphones, computers and stores. This is a tool that makes it possible to increase business efficiency, study customer behavior and create new business models.

    Retail is not the same, IoT rules there ...

    A few years ago, the retail was surprised by the presence of heat attendance cards, the control of the length of the queues to the cash desks, or the counting of visitors. Today, stores massively use mPOS systems, tablet computers and various mobile applications in trading floors, which allow optimizing and controlling trading processes. But for further development and retention of the client, who wants to go into online trading, traditional retail chains are forced to constantly improve and use qualitatively new IoT solutions. They differ from existing ones in their ability to collect and analyze much more information about buyers, the work of sellers and managers, the movement of goods, etc.

    Today, collecting, analyzing and making the right decisions to streamline the buying process and establish interaction with the buyer are becoming the main drivers of the development of the retail industry. Therefore, most large retailers have embarked on the use of IoT technologies in order to increase the efficiency of their activities and retain their customers. In addition, with their help they are trying to optimize the functionality of auxiliary services and logistics.

    It is safe to say that today retail trade is undergoing a phase of the IT revolution, where the Internet of Things is the main tool. She promises to bring not only new opportunities for working with clients, but also to modernize the entire chain of the trading process, starting with the purchase of goods and ending with their payment upon purchase.

    "Digitize" the buyer

    Today's buyer is quite spoiled and technically advanced. He has the opportunity to monitor the market, and purchase products of interest to him in a traditional or online store, using a mobile application or making a call from a customer service. And he is not averse to trying out new shopping technologies. Therefore, retailers through IoT are trying to analyze customer behavior and rethink their capabilities to please him. To do this, they use various "tricks", for example, personalizing offers, and apply various innovations.

    It can be electronic labels on shelves with dynamic pricing, self-checking via a smartphone, interactive digital signs recognizing the identity of the customer standing in front of them and adjusting product offers for him, and much more.

    One of the largest international retail chains Walmart, with more than 10 thousand stores in almost 30 countries, owes much of its success to the IoT technologies used. Thanks to them, Walmart provides customers with the goods in which they feel the need, which minimizes their damage and write-offs.

    The introduction of special sensors and the creation of a "smart" floor allows you to track the "consumer path" throughout the market and analyze which products are of most interest to buyers.

    Based on these data, the client’s specificity, his needs and preferences are established. In turn, on the basis of this, inventories will be formed, to which the particular buyer gives priority.

    According to forecasts, by 2021, over 75% of all stores in the global distribution network will not only be able to recognize which customers come when they are shopping, but also adapt to their visits based on an analysis of the history of previous purchases.

    It is also expected that in the near future, a new generation of 5G wireless and smart devices with low energy consumption will allow the corresponding IoT technologies for retail to radically change the customer’s behavioral model, completely redesigning approaches to trading marketing.

    IoT Product Management

    Along with new products in working with customers, the Internet of Things offers retail and many innovative solutions for managing the movement of goods throughout the supply chain. The specifics of the retail trade is such that even insignificant, at first glance, details and nuances sometimes matter here. Today, retailers are actively implementing IoT technologies in areas such as supply control, inventory management and other assets, as well as payment processing.

    Here, relevant and timely information plays a paramount role, and “smart” devices help to ensure its timely receipt. Thanks to them, it is possible to control the delivery time of goods with an accuracy of several minutes, to fix the time and place of its damage or deterioration, to take into account temperature factors when building logistics, etc.

    In order for the goods to appear on the store shelf in a timely manner, using the Internet of Things, a supply management system is created, which can itself form an order when a certain quantity of goods is reduced. Smart shelves with built-in sensors that determine the reduction in assortment, sensors for monitoring the condition of perishable products, applications that send personalized, taking into account consumer preferences, offers to customers - all this is only a small part of solutions to increase the efficiency of retail.

    RFID (Radio Frequency IDentification) technology, using special RFID tags, makes it possible to quickly track the entire supply chain of goods in real-time mode. It also allows retailers to increase accounting accuracy (up to 95%), reduce the risk of a sudden deficit, and thus reduce potential losses. Together, all of these factors lead to increased profitability of trade.

    As you can see, supply optimization, and automation of the entire process of moving goods from producer to consumer is a key area of ​​application of the IoT concept in retail. To achieve this, retailers invest and will invest significant resources. Ultimately, they will pay off by satisfying consumer demand at a higher level that meets today's customer needs.

    Hear Sensor ...

    The rapid development of technology and the abundance of innovation, along with an unconditional profit, introduces certain difficulties, both in general for business and retail in particular. The thing is that constant changes require frequent revision of already established business processes, as well as the overall strategy, as well as additional investments, the return on which can be extended over time.

    In addition, if we talk about retail, then the use of “smart” devices will bring real benefits only if the information received from them is properly processed and analyzed. This is crucial for personalized customer service and inventory management.

    Therefore, retailers are forced to constantly analyze the information flows coming from “smart” devices, and on their basis to adjust their strategy for working with customers. Data collection is not an easy task, despite the fact that they need to be “cleaned up” and transformed into the necessary information.

    In order to quickly and correctly evaluate consumer behavior, you will need an appropriate analytical system that can separate useful information from non-essential. In addition, it must integrate with the decision-making system. Together, this is able to satisfy customer demand, increase revenue, and, of course, allow the retailer to be one step ahead of less “advanced" competitors.

    Today IoT is most applicable in large retail chains that can afford to modernize business processes and experiment with technological innovations. With the improvement of wireless networks and the solution of some problems of energy consumption, “smart” devices will become in demand in “small” retail.

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