Bringing the Internet of Things to the omnichannel retail environment
The Internet of Things brought radical new changes to businesses across a variety of industries, and the retail sector is one of them. While there was a bit of hesitation when it came to integrating this technology, with some businesses not sure about how these tools would function or whether they would generate a meaningful return on investment, according to Business Insider, the past year of deploying new solutions and technology has opened the eyes of many merchants to the value of IoT.
Simply put, IoT makes tools and technology “smarter,” adding the ability to transfer data to objects that could not previously receive such information. Some popular IoT products include applications that help people remember to take their medication or remotely turn lights off and on, even when they are not at home or in the office. Now, technology providers are bringing IoT to the retail space, helping merchants capitalize on the technology as well. IoT can be used to supplement numerous processes, ranging from inventory management and order fulfillment to customer experience enhancement.
Improving the supply chain and inventory management
Tracking a product as it moves from one location to the next, even within the store, is no easy task. In fact, unaccounted-for inventory can be a significant source of loss, both because paid-for goods go unsold and customer service agents may tell shoppers they have an item in stock, but are unable to procure it because it is either lost in the back or misplaced on store shelves.
With retail supply chains growing ever more complex and many merchants tapping numerous distribution partners and operating across a variety of channels, keeping track of inventory has never been more important. IoT solutions can help merchants improve inventory management with sensor technologies that make monitoring products much more straightforward and improve the transparency of product location data.
IoT solutions can be used for effective warehouse and inventory management.IoT solutions can be used for effective warehouse and inventory management.
“Managers can also use the IoT to adjust pricing in real time, using smart tags to cut prices on promotional items and increase pricing on higher-demand items,” added RIS News contributor Jonathan Gregory. “A fully integrated pricing system would also help retailers synchronize their prices across shelves, registers and digital channels, verifying prices are consistent between online and brick-and-mortar outlets.”
Enhance in-store operations
There are several opportunities for the use of IoT technology within the store. Many retailers are currently using beacon technology as a means of bolstering the interactivity of the shopping experience, but that is only the tip of the iceberg. There are some IoT solutions that can aid with the measurement of foot traffic in certain areas, allowing merchants to position products more effectively. Other retailers are using IoT solutions for store management, allowing them to turn lights on and off, adjust temperatures up and down, open and close windows and take other actions remotely.
IoT solutions are just another new retail technology that many merchants are finding extensive use for.