Are there any ways of using IoT in retail?

Technology
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Elizabeth Owen

I have been wondering for a while how can you use the Internet of Things technology in retail marketing? Any ideas?

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Severyn Pomirko

There are many ways of implementing IoT in retail, here are some of them:

  • Self-reporting facilities for asset management
    The IoT-enabled inventory management systems are based on the ability of smart items to report themselves. Getting precise data from a warehouse regarding stock balances in a real-time mode is possible with various IoT solutions. Smart shelves equipped with optic, load, volume, and movement sensors are able to inform about all changes happening with goods either at a warehouse or in sale rooms.
  • Interactive IoT devices for shop assistance
    Many large shopping areas suffer from a lack of shop assistants. The IoT systems offer a solution: why not equip the entire store environment with interactive facilities? Through tapping on monitors available in a close proximity to the given goods every buyer can get an instant support with a detailed info about the goods’ properties that are not apparent. Precise size dimensions, date and place of production, type and style, compatibility with the other products, history of a brand – a wide array of useful data becomes accessible with just a few taps.
  • Beacons, smart stickers, and shopping analytics
    One of the most promising retail-oriented IoT technologies today is the so-called battery-free stickers that can transform conventional goods into smart products. Being charged with electromagnetic waves emitted by wi-fi or Bluetooth devices, such tiny stickers can endow smart properties to every item in a shop. Hence, through tracking the history of movements of the goods an advanced analytics can be created to arrange highly personalized discounts and loyalty programs for buyers. A tailored approach to each particular customer is what contemporary shoppers appreciate very much. That’s why beacons and smart stickers provide retailers with a valuable means of enhancing customers’ loyalty.
  • Learning buyers’ behavior with facial recognition
    It is hardly possible to run a retail trade successfully without understanding the shoppers’ behavior. A holistic picture of a customer audience can appear only when you know who buys what, how often, and which triggers incentivize one or another purchase. In other words, regular customers become regular when you know exactly how to deal with each of them. Various IoT solutions can help to achieve such an omniscience. Facial recognition technologies in your in-store cameras can track who visit your store and at what time. Special software algorithms can analyze this info to create typical patterns of your customers’ visits.
  • Mobile payments and “grab-&-go”
    Buying things on the go is easy when you don’t think about payment at all. However, we are still far from either Communism or any other money-free social utopia. Even cashless electronic transactions have a certain procedure to pay. Nevertheless, namely the Internet of Things in a retail industry can combine two worlds: buyers pay for purchases without paying attention to it (pardon the pun). A number of technologies makes this possible. When a mobile application for cashless transactions is connected to an advanced IoT system in a smart store, buyers can take goods from the shelves and leave the store with no personal checkout. Algorithms will provide automated checkouts on behalf of them. The most famous use case of such system was represented by Amazon through its “grab-and-go” shopping technology.

    You can learn more about IoT in retail in this article that is pretty informative.