COMMENTARY

Leverage these retail IoT options to drive growth

Aug. 28, 2017

Photo: iStock.com

By Sara Sugar, contributor, ShopKeep

The retail industry, for both small businesses and large retail chains, is on the precipice of a major technological overall. It's only natural that with the onslaught of ecommerce options for consumers, that retail was poised to enter the 21st century and enter it in a big way.

Integral to the new look and feel of many retail businesses is the introduction of retail Internet of Things (IoT) solutions. If wearable health trackers and smart scales are the first things that come to mind, think again. These IoT solutions reach far beyond your everyday home experience and expand to industries such as entertainment and especially retail. If your business is looking to increase profits and provide stronger value propositions, here are a few retail IoT solutions to consider.

Beacons to beckon customers

If you have that feeling that your most valuable customers are always just slightly out of reach, beacons might be the perfect retail IoT solution for you. If you're not familiar with beacons, they are IoT technology that allows retailers to send push notifications to customers when they are in the vicinity of their store. Though beacon technology has been around since 2013, it's recently gained significant traction. The pros as solutions for retailers are vast.Not only do they offer the benefits of drawing customers into your store, but beacons also provide merchants with actionable customer data and information.
 

Smart mirror technology to reflect value

Both the retailer and the consumer in you will be able to appreciate smart mirror technology. Your customers are busy people, with jobs and lives. So any technology that allows them to save time, they'll appreciate. And remember, like you, for many, time is money.

 

So what exactly is smart mirror technology? Imagine a typical full-length dressing room mirror. Now, imagine that mirror being a touch screen with the capability to allow shoppers to request items in different sizes, browse different styles online, and even make a purchase. And yes, this is all for from the comfort and privacy of their dressing room. Imagine the time both you and your customers will cut down at the point of sale. Astounding, am I right? Smart mirror technology is also just really cool. People will be drawn to your store to try it out. But they'll stay (and return) for the great deals, exceptional customer service and eclectic array of items you carry.

 

Leveraging home automation for in-store optimization

If smart mirror technology feels a little too "The Jetsons" for you or the cost is prohibitive, leveraging home automation as retail IoT might be more your speed. Though you're probably used to home automation for, well, monitoring your home, it's also a great tool to leverage in smaller retail locations. Home automation tools can be used to not only monitor temperature and humidity, lock and unlock doors, but also play music and monitor your store via surveillance cameras. A great perk of using these automation tools as retail IoT solutions is that the technology has advanced to a point where the cost isn't overwhelming on a small budget, often just a few hundred dollars to get set up.

 

Smart shelving

Manual inventory management can be a drag. It's time consuming, tedious, and often you need to shutter your store while you plow through your stock. But retail technology such ascloud-based POS systemsand, for larger stores, smart shelving, can drastically ease this burden. But how exactly does smart shelving work? It all has to do with weight sensors. Think of a giant kitchen scale as a store shelf. You know that 15 sweaters weigh about 10 pounds. So when the shelf's sensors detect a significantly lighter weight, it knows that the inventory on that shelf is low and will alert the backend, letting store employees know it's time to restock. If that doesn't make you sit up and take note, we don't know what will.

 

Retail IoT solutions vary drastically when it comes to both technology and price. Butifa retailer evaluates their needs, determines what they are looking to get out of adopting IoT technologies, there are a plethora of options to choose from. Whether it's higher-priced smart mirrors for larger-sized retailers or smaller at-home automation for mom and pop stores, IoT can offer most, if not all, retailers and way to optimize their business and join the 21st century of retail.

 


Topics: Assisted Selling, Automated Retail / Vending, Customer Experience, Customer Service, Internet of Things, Technology


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