Like many industries, retail is adopting the Internet of Things (IoT) transformation. The increase of IoT technology in retail is expected to reach higher than $35 billion by 2020. Retailers use IoT technology to improve customer experience, decrease costs, drive growth, and enhance overall performance.
There are several ways in which the retail industry can use IoT technology. Currently, sensors are being used to control customer satisfaction, implement supply chain insights, monitor food safety, and track assets.
Customer Satisfaction Monitoring
Retailers are utilizing IoT technology to improve customer satisfaction. IoT sensors attached to a dashboard or set of color-coded buttons allow stores to accumulate customer feedback immediately after the shopping experience. This data presents real-time shopper satisfaction insights that can enhance the in-store customer experience.
Supply Chain and Logistics
Retailers are also adopting IoT sensors to monitor goods throughout the entire supply chain. Tracking systems inscribe valuable data such as location, temperature, humidity, shock, and tilt, implementing quality control and traceability insights. Tracking solutions helps decide if materials are safe, delivered on time, and carried in ideal conditions. All data can help retailers make their transport logistics more effective, decrease product damage, and avoid loss.
IoT is already presenting value to businesses in logistics. According to a survey of business leaders mentioned in a Deloitte Review on the Internet of Things potential to recast supply chain management, “74 percent of those who implemented initiatives such as sensor-based logistics saw revenue increases. The average supply chain offering to a company’s bottom line increased from 4 percent to 8.5 percent in just one year, with industry leaders examining supply chain revenue contributions on the order of 10 percent.”
Food Safety Monitoring
Food and beverage industry retailers utilize IoT technology to control storage spaces’ temperature, helping them assure food doesn’t spoil. Perishable food spoilage and deterioration in the retail grocery industry results in a significant loss of profitability, with grocers on average losing $70 million yearly to spoilage alone.
IoT solutions help overcome loss due to spoilage and ensure food safety procedures are followed by accurately monitoring food storage facilities’ temperature. This is done with a simple device introduced in the storage unit and connected to an online dashboard, which is configured to send alerts in the event of abnormal temperature levels. Real-time data from IoT sensors supports retailers in protecting perishable goods, ensuring optimal freshness, and reducing waste.
Retailers are adopting IoT technology to track lost shopping carts and baskets. Tracing these assets can help stores decrease the cost of having to replace them. Shopping carts are expensive for retailers to replace, costing stores anywhere from $75 to $250 each. By installing sensors on assets like shopping carts, retailers can trace them to their exact location and obtain status updates and alerts if they’re degraded. Tracking devices, installed on carts and baskets, function indoors and outdoors and can run for months or even years without replacing the batteries. These sensors can encourage retailers to improve customer experience by assuring; they always have enough shopping baskets and carts ready for shoppers.
There are about 7 billion IoT-connected devices today, according to data from IoT Analytics. This total is projected to reach 25 billion by 2021, with a large part of those devices used by retailers. As IoT networks become more ubiquitous, retailers will adopt the technology, using it across their services to enhance customer experience and increase business efficiencies.
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