The Internet of Things (IoT) is making the world more and more connected. Not only industries are taking it in a big way but customer expectations are also changing along with it. So, to improve productivity and meet the demands of customers, almost every industry is exploring and adopting IoT business solutions. And of all the industries, retail is one of the early adopters of the IoT and is presently utilizing IoT applications to improve their supply chain and customer experiences.
As you might already know, the Internet of Things is a network of physical objects that are connected digitally via sensors. These IoT-enabled devices communicate with each other to collect and analyze data. The gathered data is utilized by the businesses to streamline their daily operations and enhance customers’ experiences. The IoT applications differ from industry to industry and here we’ll focus on the retail industry only. So let’s find out the top IIoT applications in the retail sector.
The retailers are taking advantage of IIoT to improve their supply chain and customer experiences. This is made possible by connecting and tracking inventory, improving the customer experience by using real-time data and increasing conversions. Retail IoT applications range from smart warehouses and RFID inventory tracking chips systems to digital signage. Here are the top three applications of IoT in the retail industry.
- Smart Shelves
A great application of IoT is a smart shelf equipped with an RFID (Radio Frequency Identification Reader). This is extremely useful for employees to save their time and energy which was earlier spent on keeping track items. Now smart shelves can make sure stores are never out-of-stock and keep checking that items aren’t misplaced. The smart shelf systems comprise an RFID tag, an RFID reader, and an antenna. The RFID is either built-in the shelf itself or installed behind, under, or above the normal shelves to scans the tagged items on the shelf. The information gathered from the tags is transferred through a communications interface to an IoT platform for analysis. Smart Shelves makes your inventory process cost-effective and accurate because it constantly notifies the back-end system about the existing items.
- Optimizing Supply Chain Management
IoT in the retail industry can help businesses with inventory and supply chain management. The Radio Frequency Identification Reader (RFID) chips that were used for smart shelves can also track inventory at different levels and locate items outside the store. The RFID and GPS sensors can offer more detailed data such as the temperature at which an item is being stored. Outside of the store, inventory tracking improves the supply chain so that retailers can know the location of their assets in real-time and transfer inventory between different stores.
Retailers are using beacon alert application which uses Bluetooth geolocation to send alerts. These small Bluetooth devices send alerts to smartphones on the basis of location proximity. This helps retailers to connect with customers as the technology allows merchants to reach their audience by simply sending alerts. Beacon advertising helps customers who have previously downloaded the store’s app to receive discounts, special events notification, or other reminders when they’re near a shop. Besides sending alerts to passerby customers, it is also useful for in-store customers.