The Internet of Things, or IoT, continues to make strides into the everyday lives of consumers. As more and more sensors, devices and ordinary objects connect to the internet, these things create massive amounts of data for companies to analyze.
This technology creates a seismic shift for retailers for two reasons. First, IoT objects are becoming more and more affordable since they are becoming more and more mainstream. Large retailers invest in these internet-connected objects, and that, in turn, increases demand. Second, the reason large retailers want this technology is that it saves staff time and allows for better marketing techniques.
In short, IoT presents a golden opportunity for retailers to reduce costs while increasing profits. In the coming years, up to 70 percent of retailers plan to invest in IoT by 2021. Here’s why.
Customization and Self-Service
In the 2017 Retail Vision Study published by Zebra, retail industry experts note that shoppers love customization and self-service. IoT comes into play as soon as customers walk into a store. Wireless hubs within the store alert an app on a customer’s smartphone. The app explains there are special deals for this customer based on the person’s purchase history, product searches and interests. The app can then direct the customer to a particular area in the store to find certain products thanks to RFID tags.
Once the customer has the item in hand, a self-pay option already available in the app pays for the items. The security system deactivates the RFID tags on the purchased items and the customer walks out of the store. From start to finish, IoT enhances the customer experience by making everything easier to accomplish from a customer’s standpoint. The consumer spends less time in the store, makes a relevant purchase and goes home happy.
Even better, IoT automated several processes that clerks once used to perform. Instead of walking to a checkout counter, the smartphone app already had the customer’s payment information on hand. Also, a clerk didn’t have to direct the person to a certain area of the store. How much staff time does this high-tech model save a company over the long-term?
Focuses Staff Efforts
Self-service and customization focuses staff efforts on making recommendations to customers who have questions. However, IoT also helps in-store staffers track down items, perform real-time inventory and locate orders shipped to the store. In-store clerks can focus on making sure products are on the right shelves, RFID tags are working properly and inventory is in the right place in the back loading dock portion of the store.
Rather than spending staff time performing mundane, automated tasks, the 2017 Retail Vision Study suggests that IoT devices in stores allow clerks to take customer service and customer experience to new heights. As most retailers understand, fantastic service keeps customers coming back. Returning, loyal customers provide a base for revenue, while adding new customers who return to the store grows revenue over time in a steady pattern.
Preparation Begins Now
The study reveals that 70 percent of retailers plan to invest in IoT by 2021, but stores should start preparing now for the changes ahead. Customization and self-service in the store starts with a smartphone app. Get your app going now so customers get used to this smartphone technology in your store.
Connect your online presence to in-store shoppers. Again, this happens with a great app that connects your store’s website with a customer who is in the store. Simple GPS systems on smartphones can detect if a customer is near a retail location.
The app can send an alert to a customer’s phone by saying “Come into the store to check out great savings just for you!” It’s as if you have a suggestive seller riding in the car or walking along with someone near your location.
If you’re not ready to implement IoT devices in a store, then prepare your supply chain for this technology. RFID tags and locators in warehouses are crucial tools to tracking down items for shipments to stores. Once at your loading dock, RFID tags let your staff find items to stock more quickly. Your supply chain is more accurate, and you receive your items faster, when you implement IoT in your wholesale operation ahead of customer-facing products.
How We Help
Advanced Mobile Group assists your retail operation by creating real-time inventory checks, sales revenue calculations, labor optimization numbers and loss prevention modules. RFID technology helps you reduce costs while increasing sales. Because prices have dropped markedly since the first major retailers adopted RFID tags, just about any business has the opportunity to implement a portion of an IoT strategy now ahead of major pushes in the coming years.
What are you waiting for? Find one piece of the IoT puzzle now with Advanced Mobile Group’s solutions. Contact us today to see what we can do for you.