After a long day at work, did you ever come home wishing the Air Conditioner could operate and set its temperature beforehand? Do you wish the microwave could reheat your food at meal times without your intervention? Stop wishing and wanting and start using smart technology. We just drew the picture of an incredible technology called the Smart Homes. People have been using it in many countries, and others are still adapting. These applications are a part of a new technology termed the Internet of Things (IoT).
IoT is a network of interconnected devices, digital machines, objects, people or animals with Unique Identifiers (UID), enabling them to transfer data and information using the internet. It does not require human intervention. The internet gives the objects or “things” brains and voices to exchange information. According to Harvard case review 2021, automation, efficiencies, and new services with AI-operated machines have the power to transform any industry. And this is true for the retail sector. So, in detail, let us look at the role of IoT in retail, its uses and applications, and real-life examples in this blog.
IoT in Retail
19% of the retail industry uses IoT platforms in their day-to-day activities. With new technologies and advancements in smart sensors, improved connection and communication solutions, new gadgets have resulted in IoT with optimised operations. Thus, increasing the need for customised and immersive experiences from customers.
According to a study by Verizon, more than 75% of retailers believe that integrating IoT in their businesses enhances the customer experience. Also, almost 90% of the early adopters in the retail sector got better insights into customer preferences.
Though there are companies which could not adapt to IoT most effectively and hence had to shut it down, it has been, holistically, a blessing for the retail industry.
Applications of IoT in Retail
Here’s a list of how you can use IoT for your retail business:
- Customisation: Personalisation of the customer experience has brought about gigantic consumerism around the world. IoT has amplified this. How? Smart applications and devices collect information about a business’s target customer. The retailers then use this information to customise their sales pitch and marketing strategies according to the needs of each customer resulting in cost-effective advertising with data backing everything up.
- Optimisation of supply chain: This has very rightly decreased the pressure and worrying for retailers about delivering products on time. With IoT, monitoring and tracking products have been more accessible than ever. Retailers can track where a product is, at what point, and in what condition. They can also use the data collected from various movements to determine the shortest and the most cost-effective route.
- In-store experience: This is the customer’s favourite use of IoT by retailers. A grocery store, for example, can track what product was picked up by a customer (smart shelves), calculate the total value of that individual’s cart and prepare the bill without the customer having to go to the billing counter. This has enabled the “purchase now, pay later” trend. Other stores can also use the data collected by IoT to better design store layout and fitting rooms and build intelligent suggestions.
Real-Life Examples of Companies incorporating IoT:
Here’s a list of some of the companies leveraging the use of IoT the most:
- Amazon Go: smart shelves
- Boeing: driving manufacturing efficiency
- KUKA: robotics
- Airbus: factory of the future
- Nike: smart shoes
Debates regarding technology being a boon or a bane have been around for centuries, which is valid for IoT too. As a result, business people have been sceptical and hesitant about adopting IoT. However, the need of the hour is for them to acknowledge its advantages like reduced wastage, efficient use of existing staff, automation of most tasks, better retail management, etc. Optimising these points will only ensure that businesses benefit from IoT integration in their operations in the long run.
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