IoT in Retail: Where Can You Start?


The internet of things (IoT) is rapidly gaining momentum across many industries — retail is no exception. As the industry becomes increasingly customer-centric, retailers are turning to IoT solutions to help transform operations, making end-to-end processes more connected and insightful. At the cornerstone of this IoT movement is Radio-Frequency Identification (RFID) technology, which has emerged as the critical power technology for retailers in order to meet growing shopper expectations around unified commerce.

The following highlights provide a snapshot of how retailers can use IoT to increase shopper satisfactory and enhance unified commerce:  

360 Degrees of Operational Insight: RFID is an ideal technology to integrate with existing retail operational solutions, such as Electronic Article Surveillance (EAS), traffic sensors, or video surveillance. While each solution is individually valuable, multiple solutions can deliver new levels of actionable intelligence and a more connected, comprehensive store performance program. This is especially relevant for stronger storefront shrink visibility and enhanced item-level visibility by store in near real time.

Meeting Customers’ Demands: The amount that consumers purchase can be related to the quality of their shopping experiences. Better inventory management leads to better inventory accuracy and ability to locate items as they move throughout the store. Inventory visibility is especially useful for sales associates in areas like the fitting room, which is the most important conversion area in the store. RFID allows retailers to gain actionable insights into which items were tried on and purchased, helping transform the space into a smarter, more profitable area of the store.

Better Inventory Insight and Transaction Efficiency: Retailers can rectify their cycle count compliance accurately with connected technology, rather than make assumptions on out-of-stock or stolen items. Item-level RFID can speed up the receiving process and increase accuracy by reducing administrative error or losses due to shipping discrepancies, so merchandise can reach the store floor faster, freeing staff to spend more time on customer service rather than on back-room operations. This expedites counts and can be up to 50 times faster than manual counts.

Providing the Unified Commerce Experience: With a myriad of devices providing information to consumers, the shopping journey typically starts with a combination of mobile and online browsing. Reliable and precise item-level visibility is necessary for retailers to provide the complex fulfillment options shoppers seek, like buy online pickup in store (BOPIS). To do this successfully, retailers should first make sure that staffing, procedures and technology solutions are in place to support programs such as this.

From distribution centers and backrooms to on-the-shelf, fitting rooms or checkout lines, IoT-enabled technologies empower retailers to leverage inventory accuracy for complete insight into their complex business operations. These IoT-enabling solutions help create a strong network of empowered sales associates and in turn, happy customers.

Posted on October 25th, 2017

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