Like many industries, retail is embracing Internet of Things (IoT) transformation. According to Total Retail, expansion of IoT technology in retail is expected to reach more than $35 billion by 2020. Retailers are using IoT technology to enhance customer experience, reduce costs, drive growth and improve overall performance.
There are many ways in which the retail industry can use IoT technology, some of them being:
Customer Satisfaction Monitoring
Retailers are using IoT technology to enhance customer satisfaction. IoT sensors connected to a dashboard or set of color-coded buttons allow stores to collect customer feedback immediately after the shopping experience. This data provides real-time shopper satisfaction insights that can improve in-store customer experience.
Supply Chain and Logistics
IoT sensors are also being used by retailers to monitor goods throughout the entire supply chain. Tracking systems report valuable data such as location, temperature, humidity, shock and tilt, providing insights into quality control and traceability. Tracking solutions help determine if materials are safe, delivered on time, and transported in ideal conditions — all data that can help retailers make their transport logistics more efficient, reduce product damage and avoid loss.
Food Safety Monitoring
Food and beverage industry retailers are using IoT technology to monitor temperature of storage spaces, helping them to ensure food doesn’t spoil. Perishable food spoilage and deterioration in the retail grocery industry results in a significant loss of profitability, with grocers on average losing $70 million annually to spoilage alone.
Retailers are using IoT technology to track lost shopping carts and baskets. Tracking these assets can help stores reduce the cost of having to replace them. By placing sensors on assets like shopping carts, retailers can track them to their exact location and receive status updates and alerts if they’re damaged. Tracking devices, installed on carts and baskets, function indoors and outdoors and can run for months or even years without having to replace the batteries.
There are approximately 7 billion IoT-connected devices today according to data from IoT Analytics. This total is projected to reach 25 billion by 2021, with a large chunk of those devices used by retailers. As IoT networks become more ubiquitous, retailers will embrace the technology, using it across their operations to enhance customer experience and improve business efficiencies.