In the age of online retail giants, you may be wondering if there is still a place for brick-and-mortar stores. It may seem as though traditional retailers can never compete with the streamlined process and convenience of online shopping. However, new developments in Internet of Things (IoT) technology have provided traditional retailers with an opportunity to even the playing field.
IoT is the missing link between the physical and digital retail worlds. It allows you to reduce your overhead expenses through smart technology, automatic restocking and online ordering. However, it also gives you the ability to communicate and interact with shoppers both in and out of the store and provide them with personalized offers, simultaneously driving up sales and impressing customers. A study conducted by Grand View Research predicts that the incorporation of IoT technology will raise the global connected retail market size to $53.75 billion by 2022.
With IoT technology, you can understand, meet, and then exceed your customers’ expectations. IoT can provide you with:
- An early warning system that predicts or detects system and equipment issues before they become a serious problem.
- Insight into which products are more likely to sell and when.
- Unlimited control of the shopping experience.
- Personalized in-store coupons, offers, and notifications based on each customer’s shopping history.
- Mobile apps that help customers navigate the store and easily locate products.
- The ability to monitor sales in real time, allowing you to track and prevent missed sales opportunities.
Creating a Seamless Shopping Experience
Phones have become more and more intuitive, and many shoppers, especially millennials, expect their phones to recognize exactly where they are and why. Using sensors and smart beacons, you can ensure that the shopping experience is tailored to meet every customer’s individual needs.
These devices use low-energy Bluetooth connections to send push notifications directly to shoppers’ phones. Personalized push notifications can provide customers with special offers for products that they normally purchase, keep them up-to-date on sales, and let them know about new items in stock that they are likely to be interested in.
Introducing New Revenue Streams
IoT technology is not just for in-store shoppers. It can help you create location-based marketing to entice passers-by and drive up store traffic. You can combine GPS and beacon technology to send push notifications to nearby shoppers, providing them with store information and personalized offers.
Customization and Self-Service
With IoT, you can ensure that every customer has a customized, convenient experience. Wireless hubs begin to communicate with the customer’s mobile app the moment they walk in the door, notifying them of special offers and sales on products they have previously purchased or shown interest in. If items are marked with RFID tags, the app can even show the shopper exactly where to find the products they are looking for. RFID tags also allow for complete self-service. The customer can use the app to keep track of all the items in their shopping cart, and when they are finished shopping, they can simply pay through the mobile app. The in-store security system will deactivate the RFID tags on all of the purchased items, and the customer is free to leave the store, having just experienced the convenience of online purchasing combined with the benefits of in-store shopping.
Digital order screens are another IoT self-service convenience. These allow customers to browse a more extensive online inventory while in-store. Shoppers looking for alternate color choices or out-of-stock products can use the kiosks to easily find and buy the items they need and have them shipped directly to their homes.
With IoT technology, customers can have complete control over their fully personalized shopping experience.
IoT provides you with both real-time and historical shopping pattern information that you can use to better connect with and satisfy your customers. Video and sensors provide detailed data on customer trends and habits, allowing you to determine the optimal inventory and layout.
Analytical IoT technology can help you:
- Identify your store’s hot spots.
- Gauge the effectiveness of different product displays.
- Determine the most profitable store layout.
- Customize inventory to meet shoppers’ needs.
- Provide unparalleled customer service through real-time monitoring.
Improved Inventory Management
With IoT inventory management, you can be confident that your stock precisely meets your customers’ needs. By utilizing IoT technology, such as RFID tags, you can keep track of your current inventory and ensure that you never disappoint your customers by running out of high-demand items. IoT can also help you determine precisely what those high-selling products are and how to market them better.
IoT data can tell you which items shoppers are more likely to buy in-store, rather than online, allowing you to improve your purchasing and inventory planning. Not only will you save money by avoiding items that are unlikely to sell, but you will also be able to fulfill your customers’ needs consistently.
Improved Operational Efficiencies
If you need more logistical and technical information on your products, IoT product tracking can put detailed data on each individual item right at your fingertips. You can precisely track items during shipment, continuously monitor the temperature of an item, and even determine precisely how long a product has been sitting on the shelf or in storage.
IoT will allow you to create the most efficient shipping and transport routes, and ensure that your inventory always stays fresh.
Improved Cooperation with Partners
By working with suppliers who are also utilizing IoT technology, you can create an effective partnership that benefits both companies. Your supplier will have a better understanding of your ordering habits and current needs, and your streamlined inventory management system can reach its maximum potential.
IoT can help you link your physical retail business to the digital world. You can use this technology to decrease overhead, efficiently manage logistics, and give each customer a convenient, personalized shopping experience. A Verizon State of the Market study found that early adopters of IoT technology will soon be able to use predictive analytics to determine the best possible way to achieve the desired outcome. Those who haven’t taken advantage of IoT technology and incorporated it into their retail business will soon be left behind.
Do you have any questions about how IoT can help you improve your business? Contact one of our IoT experts to find out more.