5 Internet of Things applications for retail

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A self-driving car, bionic glasses and other disruptive technologies present on the movie screens, no longer seem that distant from our reality with the growth of the Internet of Things (IoT). Whether they predicted them or not, the fact is that many of the technologies in movies, like Back to the Future (1985), and even cartoons, like The Jetsons (1962), already incorporated the concept of IoT: making the connectivity between objects and the internet viable.

Today, the challenge for companies is not to make Internet of Things a reality, but rather to think of useful and functional applications for potential consumers. Devices that, through connectivity, make the interaction of users with your products and services easier. Aware of this concept, retail has developed IoT strategies to reach and engage more clients.

Big names in retail already heavily invest in IoT technologies. Amongst the advantages offered by the implementation of IoT strategies in the retail market are: improving consumer experience, as it is possible to use a smartphone to quickly search for a product and find more information on it; making the supply chain more intelligent, where a system identifies when stock needs replenishing or monitors the quality of a product; or even making it possible for labels to change the price of a product in real time, based on demand and other trends.

The Internet of Things is capable of generating US$ 200 billion in business in Brazil by 2025, according to a statement made by the president of the National Telecommunications Agency (Anatel) Juarez Quadros at the X TemComp Seminar. A study conducted this year by Zebra Study, on the other hand, released by Forbes, claims that 70% of retailers interviewed are willing to invest in Internet of Things by 2021.

See below how Internet of Things can benefit retail.

 

With the Internet of Things it is possible to…

1. Optimize transportation and merchandise logistics

Moving merchandise efficiently is one of the goals of applying intelligent transport to retail and, with the Internet of Things, this process can be made easier with transportation upkeep, tracking and optimizing routes. Despite GPSs being commonly used to track and rotate trucks, with the IoT it is possible to understand, with a higher degree of precision, the distance between merchandise being transported and a specific store.

2. Monitor client traffic in stores and respond in real time

Through the Internet of Things it is possible to monitor traffic through video or Wi-Fi to know the preference of a client within the store environment and, in real time, personalize his experience or direct a collaborator to lead the user to the best offers. There is also the opportunity to send adds for events or promotions straight to the client via his smartphone.

3. Predict equipment faults

Take as an example a supermarket chain. Certain products, like refrigerators, can present faults even after preventative maintenance. Using sensors on the equipment it is possible to anticipate problems that might affect energy consumption and, thus, save money or monitor temperature fluctuations ensuring food safety.

4. Optimize the center of product distribution

The Internet of Things allows for the monitoring of sales opportunities in real time and to track missed sales in a store. The identification through radiofrequency, for instance, is one of the IoT technologies that can be used to manage inventory and for a more precise optimization of the service provided. In a distribution center that uses IoT, instead of products following a fixed scheme, they self-organize based on real time demand.

5. Understanding the expectations of users and personalizing their experiences

Increasingly more connected, the user no longer shops in the same way. Consumers are increasingly more selective, getting in touch with clients who already purchased the product through social networks, comparing offers and checking prices on their mobile devices before making a decision. That is why it is important the user has the best experience possible when coming into contact with the product offered. Technologies like IoT, with digital signaling and self-checkout within the stores’ physical space, for instance, can positively transform the perspective of the client towards the brand.

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