IoT Solutions for Retail. Abilities and Advantages
A bit of introduction
Today a lot of surveys claim the Internet of things is going to bring in a revolution in many industries. IoT has great potential to change the way people live and work. Though even a decade ago a smart home was such an innovative notion, by now it has already come into reality.
At present moment, as a result of fast growth of connected devices, everything is becoming smart, from parking and enterprises to the whole cities. Probably, the Internet of Things touches all business domains, and in this article we will consider IoT in retail industry.
Goals of Retail companies
The main goal of all retail companies is to boost sales and increase customer loyalty by providing personalized user experience and enhancing customer relationship. To accomplish these objective retailers do their best to define the audience, get a deep insight in customer behaviour, their shopping habits, needs and preferences, as well as push clients to make more purchases and increase retention rate.
And IoT solutions are just indispensable for these purposes.
Benefits of IoT solutions for Retail
Understanding of customers and analysis of their behaviour is essential for sales enforcement and customer service improvement.
IoT solutions for retail can enable companies to gather customer data including identification of clients’ buying habits, preferences, and favourite routes as well (speaking about shopping centers and shopping malls).
Also you can use IoT application development for integrating solutions that provide real-time statistics, process data, and transfer them to integrated software like CRM, ERP, etc. They can ensure the ability to motivate app users by sending them push notifications on smartphones that can function as a part of loyalty programs.
The Internet of Things can be used for opening a new sales channel and increasing company profit as a result. One of the examples is an innovative refrigerator with cameras inside it, which allows users to order groceries right then and there.
Such IoT solutions for retail allow to track amount of food in home, provide purchasing history, and more.
Thus, the Internet of Things provides retail industry with a plenty of opportunities: a new sales channel, customer data gathering, enhanced supply chain management, etc. Speaking about IoT benefits one of the main ones is a competitive advantage companies get by integrating IoT solutions, which is especially important in changing industry demands.
A new sales channel for retailers
As we’ve mentioned above, IoT apps can provide you with the ability of sending push notifications to customer apps as well as create and launch advertising campaigns. For example, thanks to the integration of the system of beacons, mobile apps, and a web application with admin panel. Several words about beacons.
Beacons are small IoT Bluetooth-enabled devices that can be attached to practically any place (usually walls, counters, etc.). Beacons use low-energy Bluetooth connections to send users messages directly to their apps when they are in the coverage area.
Retailers use Beacons in connection with apps to motivate customers to enter a certain shop, make purchases, notify about shares and discounts.
You can implement a notification system in your complex IoT solution including:
- sending notifications to certain customer groups / audiences (create audiences separating client bases on various characteristics)
- sending push messages to all mobile app users
- sending push notifications to customers who enter a coverage area (f.e. near your shop)
- sending push messages to the most loyal customers
- sending push messages to users who complete certain actions
IoT in Inventory & Supply Chain Management
Inventory management is one of retail fields where IoT application development can be effectively used in. One of operational challenges companies face here is lack of data update including information about goods, stock, getting required data as quickly as possible, etc. Here real-time mode places the center stage.
Thanks to IoT solutions retailers can track assortment of goods, analyse and evaluate products’ popularity, and automatically show sales managers and consultants available / unavailable goods, as well as other information they need.
For example, you can integrate IoT solutions that gather data, provide employees with real-time stock visibility,
Thus, you can develop an IoT solution for inventory management allowing to:
- track in-store inventory
- measure the time between an item is taken off the shelf and is actually purchased
- define the most popular goods and show results
- view real-time reports
- view information about goods: brand name, cost, description, status (availability)
IoT solutions can be also employed in supply chain management. For instance, many companies they are used for loads tracking, location and transportation management, drivers’ activities tracking and monitoring.
You can track the route of drivers and time they pass them, receive automatic notifications when they come to the required place, search and track loads according to input parameters, and more.
This allows companies to optimize the process of supply chain management and ensure that “just-in-time” principle is successfully performed.
Thus, IoT application development solutions for supply chain management can allow you to:
- view and track status of drivers’ activities
- build and view schedules of arrivals and departures
- build the optimal routes from origin to destination
- track the process of passing routes
- receive automatic notifications about a freight arrival (delivery) in a certain place
- gather statistics data such as: to how many app users you send a message, how many users receive the message, how many of them read your message.
Also integrate analytical system in your IoT solution. Exactly analytics allows to get a deep insight in customer behaviour:
- how many customers use your application
- how many app users visit your shop
- how many app users make purchases and how often
- analysis of advertising campaigns
- identification of the most popular routes inside the store
- and more
Surely, IoT solutions can be effectively used in almost all business domains. Here at Smartym we provide IoT application development services for many industries. Find out more about IoT benefits and usage in our page devoted to the Internet of things.