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 IoT in Retail

Retail Is Embracing The Internet of Things (IoT) Transformation


Like many industries, retail is embracing the Internet of Things (IoT) transformation. Retailers are using IoT technology to enhance customer experience, reduce costs, drive growth and improve overall performance.

Below we will discuss how RFID plays an important part in the relationship between IoT and Retail.

We will also explore the ways in which the retail industry can use IoT technology including how sensors are being used to monitor customer satisfaction, provide supply chain insights, monitor food safety, and track assets.

From RFID To IoT

A large part of IoT in retail is to do with how RFID has a part in this relationship. Radio-frequency identification refers to a technology whereby digital data encoded in RFID tags or smart labels are captured by a reader via radio waves.

Retailers have worked with RFID for quite some time. There has been a rise in additional technologies and improvements in sensors, including better connectivity and communication solutions and new devices. RFID used in retail consists of the following elements:

• An RFID tag to attach to the item or product.

• An RFID reader.

• An antenna.

The RFID reader uses radio waves to read the data the RFID tags transmit. The IoT platform then receives this data for storage and analysis.

This has led to the Internet of Things as we define it today, to have opportunities to improve operations and offer personalized and immersive experiences to retail customers. This also includes benefits in e-commerce operations.

Benefits of IoT in Retail

All retailers can benefit from the Internet of Things. These include individuals, small enterprises, and large enterprises. The following benefits will show how a retail store uses IoT in its operations.

Monitor & Increase Customer Satisfaction

Retailers hold a unique position in that they are the ones who are directly in touch with the end customer or consumer. Within retail, there are high expectations with regards to customer experience, service, speed and efficiency. Therefore monitoring customer satisfaction and preferences is key to increase satisfaction. 

An example of how IoT monitors this is when IoT sensors connected to a dashboard or set of colour-coded buttons allow stores to collect customer feedback immediately after the shopping experience. This data provides real-time shopper satisfaction insights that can improve the in-store customer experience.

Other examples include dimming the lights when retail outlets have a small number of customers, or adjusting the air conditioning system as more people enter. These are straightforward possibilities for IoT in retail. The best part of IoT is its ability to do a task without the involvement of any person.

COVID 19 Compliance

Having relatively simple IoT solutions in place, helps retailers ensure safety and compliance in terms of COVID19

 Retail solutions built around a people-counting sensor are of utmost importance given the current climate. Therefore the ability to enable and to enforce physical distancing is required. IoT can provide the technology to provide this while offering ample possibilities to leverage the data for more retail use cases. 

Customers will benefit greatly when a retail unit has abilities such as sharing store occupancy data with customers, planning staff and putting staff at the service of customers, reducing energy costs, touchless door locks and remote maintenance.

Supply Chain, Smart Shelves & Inventory Management

Traditional stores and omnichannel retailers now use IoT retail to upgrade and modernize their operations and streamline inventory management.

Smart shelves and other similar innovations have benefited automated inventory management tremendously. Using RFID technology they give store managers real-time notifications and updates on sales levels, as well as updates on stock levels and alerts if a  Stock Keeping Unit falls below the reorder level. Smart shelves eliminate manual error and save money by preventing overstocking and shortage.

Retailers can monitor goods throughout the entire supply chain. Tracking systems report valuable data such as location, temperature, shock and tilt, and provide profound insights into traceability and quality control. Tracking solutions help ascertain that materials are safe, have timely delivery, and remain in ideal conditions during transportation. These data can help the retailer improve the efficiency of their transport logistics, minimize product damage, and prevent loss.

Getting Started With IoT & Retail

As IoT networks become more widely available, retailers will use the technology more. It will traverse all parts of their operations, improving business efficiencies, and enhancing the customer experience. If you would like to hear more about how emerging IoT technologies can help your retail business,  you can speak to one of the team members at Davra to explain what we can offer. Click here to contact Davra today! 

Author

Brian McGlynn, Davra, COO

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