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The Future of IoT in Retail

May 16, 2016

While you might not have thought it, considering the rise of e-commerce, the future for in store retail is looking brighter than ever. Retailers who manage to harness the power of big data are now able to create custom, curated journeys for their customers – maximising personalisation and flow through the store to the individual, easily track stock, trends, queues, and sales, and inform decisions on merchandising, advertising, pricing, and more.

Jump on board with the internet of things (IoT) and big data and you’re sure to go far. The internet of things just means any devices capable of communicating over wireless networks. Want to know just how all of this is possible? Here’s how.

Kelly’s journey – an IoT retail experience
Let’s say Kelly has your app installed on her phone. She’s walking down the street past your shop, engrossed in a WhatsApp conversation with her friend overseas, and wasn’t planning to go into your store, when your beacon* at the front of the store sees she is within range and pushes a message about a sale that’s on to her phone. She gets the message and decides to have a quick browse.

* Beacons are a clever precise-location dependent technology, that when combined with a mobile phone and a beacon-assisted app, can actually push your data to the consumer’s mobile phone.

Tracking customers in store
Once Kelly’s set foot inside, you can now track her journey through the store via her app. Combining this journey data with the data of many other customers you will start to see patterns emerge, and so you can start re-planning your shop layouts to optimise sales and flow.

Handy tech for the time-poor (or lazy!)

Kelly’s found a dress she likes but can’t be bothered trying it on, so she walks up to the nearest smart mirror – where she can virtually try on any of the items available in store. It looks pretty good, so she’s going to buy it.

Pull-up product info and reviews
She walks past the cosmetics aisle and a new eye cream catches her eye. She pulls out her phone and store app, aims it at the cream and up comes a write up about the product and other customers’ reviews. A customer review recommends a cheaper competitor, so she picks up that instead.

Instant check out
Kelly’s done now, so she scans the two items with her phone, which already has her credit card and PayPal details. She chooses credit and the purchase goes through. She picks up a shopping bag on exit to carry through, and because the items have been put through and purchased, the security alarms at the front of the store stay silent.

Kelly’s journey isn’t just some far-off future idea. All this technology exists now – and stores are taking steps to start implementing some of the features to make consumer shopping a breeze. If you haven’t started thinking about your technology strategy for smarter shopping, then it’s time to jump on board. With so many different ways in which to optimise in-store retail through the internet of things, the time is now to start building your systems.

Written by Hello Social


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