2017 has defined the Internet of Things (IoT) as having influenced all spheres of life. It has intricately exposed the many crevices of Technology – exploring, improving, and innovating consistently. In this digital rich scenario where everything is online and e-commerce thrives, it is more important than ever for brick and mortar stores to stay ahead in the game by leveraging their biggest advantage – consumer experience.
While IoT has shifted buying behaviour away from traditional brick and mortar stores, it has exponentially helped increase footfall and enhanced individual experience. Capitalizing on the advantages of IoT, here are some of the ways it is transforming the retail industry –
- Smart check-out process – Check-out counters can be automated to allow automatic billing of items allowing customers to walk out of the store and avoid standing in queues to pay for their purchases.
- Location based marketing – Beacon and Wi-Fi technology can be harnessed to interact with consumer’s handheld device, and based on the location of the customer in the store, roll out relevant product information, offers or advertisements.
- In-store analytics – Wi-Fi and beacon technology can also be utilized to study customer behavior in the store based on their travelled paths and dwell time in certain sections of the store. This can be then used to improve and optimize the store layout and product positioning.
- Supply chain management – RFID technology can be used to track the inventory as it moves across the chain.
- Inventory management – Inventory management becomes a lot easier with sensors that monitor the quality or age of perishable items and send out alerts or trigger re-stocking at the appropriate time. Smart shelves can be used to send out alerts to the inventory when the items on the shelves have to be restocked.
- Ambience – Smart thermostats can be used to regulate the temperature and continuously monitor temperature during transit of perishable food items. Similarly store lighting and temperature can be altered based on time of the day or section of the store
These set a solid base for customers to revisit brick and mortar stores, and even prefer them over online shopping. The attention to detail, quality of products stored in the right manner, excellent customer service among other things give brick and mortar stores an edge that online stores don’t have. Although they face tough competition from e-commerce stores, brick and mortar stores use IoT to offer customers something they will not get from an e-commerce platform, that is, an experience they won’t forget.