How IoT Maximises Business Efficiency in Retail
Posted On: April 28, 2018
When Levi’s adopted IoT for real-time inventory monitoring in one of its San Francisco store three years ago; it indicated that IoT was on a cusp of changing every business sector including retail. In fact, they gained much more in the process – in the form of improved customer experience and deeper understanding of customer behaviour based on the items they tried and sizes they picked. This made it clear that IoT touched retail only to have massive benefits for the industry in future.
According to an article by the Wall Street Journal, the market size of IoT will touch 1.7 trillion dollars by 2020. According to an Ericsson report, the world will see 28 billion IoT enabled devices by the year 2021. Let us find out exactly what this technology is.
What is IoT?
IoT technology enables everyday items around you to integrate with the Internet, and connect and communicate with each other seamlessly. This happens via intelligent sensors present in these items that are programmed to understand and record actions, communicate digitally and perform certain actions. For instance, the system notifies the management about real time walk-ins versus staff presence to manage breaks and improve conversion, data on which stores have lower conversion than expected, or, was the inventory refreshed as per SOP, and there’s so much more.
IoT has revolutionized the retail industry to a large extent by increasing its business efficiency. It has brought about a completely new dynamic of customer engagement by marrying the physical realm with the digital.
Impact of IoT on Retail:
→ Retail giant Avery Dennison uses IoT sensors to track upto 10 billion items
→ Tesco uses smart devices that allows shoppers to find, scan and pay for products anywhere in the store
→ Amazon’s dash button allows you to press a button on a product and have it delivered to you
This blog talks about the positive impact of IoT platforms in the retail industry in 4 main areas:
- Increasing Business Efficiency
- Optimising Customer Experience
- Improving In-Store Safety & Security
- Enhancing In-Store Health & Hygiene Factors
Increasing Business Efficiency
Managing a retail outlet is a massive undertaking. With an intelligent IoT platform, you can supercharge your operational efficiency beyond the capabilities of any human or mechanical system.
- An IoT enabled storefront contains multiple sensors and cameras that automatically track employee and customer actions constantly and relays data back to a monitoring hub.
- This can help you identify process gaps that are hampering productivity and provide data to help you execute a better system by eliminating unwanted processes and bottlenecks.
- It can also generate data to help you understand your products performance in real life by analysing sales data for multiple brands in a particular category. This can help you get an idea about your non-performing assets, and the products that are star performers.
- Motion detecting sensors and cameras can help you track the loss, damage or theft of goods from storage hubs and minimise your bad debts. Retail video analytics and footfall counting features help you analyse the store traffic with real-time numbers.
- IoT systems can help you track the amount of power that is being consumed by your facilities remotely. It can also schedule auto-shutdown of appliances without any human intervention.
Video analytics data can identify busiest store hours and help you increase operational efficiency by assigning these times to your top employees
Improving In-Store Safety & Security
Machine-to-machine technology enables seamless flow of communication between interconnected physical devices. Via a network of sensors, cameras and RFID enabled devices, security systems are established across multiple locations to take action at the right time.
- You can prevent your IT systems from being hacked or tampered with by setting up IoT security systems that detect any intrusions – both physical and digital and take corrective action immediately. You can be alerted in real-time about any detected intrusions in your system and take action remotely.
- IoT systems can detect anomalies in the system like excessive heat, smoke, corrosive substances etc. and help performing rapid remedial actions to prevent destruction of property.
- If there are any prohibited areas in your facility, then you can set up video monitoring and face detection systems that will only allow cleared personnel to enter. Get alerts of intrusions in real-time to enhance your response time for taking corrective action.
- IoT systems can detect the presence of fire and smoke at your facility. It also allows the user to survey affected areas remotely, and take remedial steps to safeguard your property.
Optimising Customer Experience
With IoT systems in place, you can create a hospitable retail environment that boosts in-store conversions with the power of data.
- Monitor employee conduct adherence closely to regulate the performance of your store’s front line. They are a big factor in conversions, and any irregularities in this department can lower in-store sales.
- Customers don’t like looking at unkempt, confusing aisles. It hampers the shopping experience greatly and affect your store’s performance. With video analytics, you can have greater control over your in-store product placement.
- IoT systems can help you understand your customers closely and create a deep user profile. This data can be used to execute an effective retail customer experience plan that enhances the in-store shopping experience. It can help you reduce the clutter in aisles, reduce time taken for completing billing and enhance the product browsing process.
Enhancing In-Store Health & Hygiene Factors
Your store’s hygiene outlook has a powerful impact on foot traffic and ultimately, conversions. Cleanliness and ambience have been known to affect consumer behaviour favorably.
- With on-demand video analytics that work 24X7, you can control areas that need special care. Also, quickly identify dirty or unkempt sections in-store to take quick remedial action.
- You can also keep a check on the hygiene outlook of your employees and ensure that they are adhering to mandatory SOP and not turning up to work in a dishevelled, unkempt manner.
- Your retail outlets temperature also plays a big part in making shoppers have an enjoyable experience and increase conversions. With an IoT system, you can control the in-store temperature and maintain a pleasant atmosphere based on historical and real-time data.
You can integrate air purification and dehumidification systems in your store with an IoT network to create a pure, clean and refreshing in-store environment for your shoppers.
Advanced analytics can help you understand how factors like in-store temperature can impact conversions.
How Can You Start Off With IoT in Your Retail Business?
With KocharTech, you get a highly advanced IoT platform that relies on a host of smart devices inter-connected on a network. By actively leveraging Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning, KocharTech platform offers advanced video analytics capabilities that can translate into actionable strategies for business optimisation in retail.
The KocharTech IoT platform offers the following benefits for retail businesses:
- Increase store conversion
- Acquire accurate footfall data
- On-demand video retrieval & Video Analytics
- Get deep understanding of customer behavior
- Conduct Artificial Intelligence based audits
The product stack consists of temperature, humidity, light, CO + smoke sensors, people counting systems and advanced video equipment. This coupled with Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning creates a system that constantly learns on the fly and improves business optimisation strategies with data.
Towards an Evolving IoT Strategy
As IoT puts together different business functions in an integrated environment, stabilized by a unified IoT platform, businesses are betting heavily on it. And it is closely tied with retail functions, unlocking the improvement potential that otherwise remains hidden. However, the big question here is how swiftly you would shift towards having an evolving IoT strategy in place. Our take – the sooner it is embraced the better.