IoT is without a doubt transforming the way we live, whether we are at work or play. It also changes how we do business, from both sides of the desk—or cash register. This is the case in a long list of industries, and retail is high on that list. IoT is changing the face of retail for consumers and businesses and will likely change the trajectory of the industry as well.
The Internet of Things is altering the way consumers shop. Consumers are offered a more connected experience that fosters greater personalization and ease of transactions. As a customer enters a store, for example, he can easily locate the item he or she first found online via a quick notification on his or her mobile device.
That same app can search for coupons for any other products a consumer peruses while on-site. As for the future, some innovative technology will likely make it possible to access in-store advertising that operates with facial recognition to further personalize the consumer’s experience.
Retailers are also reaping the huge rewards of IoT in business. Connected sensors can manage shelf inventory and increase product availability to shoppers, so fewer consumers will walk away empty-handed.
In addition to smart shelves, smart cameras and app data can track store traffic and give retailers a more accurate picture of the numbers of visitors in each location. IoT-connected robots can shorten the distance between warehouses and store shelves, saving retailers time and money. Robots can also stake some of the brunt of unsafe conditions for warehouse workers, and they theoretically reduce injury and illness on the job. In the near future, there will likely be a shift away from humans handling repetitive and hazardous tasks.
There seems to always be that one store in our community that feels disorganized and thus inconvenient, even though the products and prices might be a great fit. IoT is addressing that issue as well. Groundbreaking aisle-analytics software with infrared sensors employ IoT technology to improve the layout of your favorite stores. This new use of connectivity also helps retail professionals work smarter, not harder, and of course they reap the benefits of higher sales.
IoT is clearly making shopping more fun and convenient while improving store logistics and inventory procedures as well. It seems the future is wide open for the innovations in retail, and consumers and businesses alike are seeing the upside of this evolution as a result.