Internet of Things will revolutionize brick-and-mortar stores and retail industry around the world. The idea of “connected stores” is already coming into reality. Nayaki Nayyar, general manager and global head of IoT and Innovation Go to Market at SAP thinks that IoT will affect pricing, inventory, customer relationship, product management, delivery and shopping experience in retail altogether. In this article we will talk in detail about how Internet of Things will revolutionize retail.
Smart shelves keep track of all the products and maintain database whenever products are added or removed. Famous retail company Kroger is already testing smart shelves in its stores. You simply specify the things you need in the app and when you pass by the items you need in the store, the related shelves light up or simply product a bleep sound.
RFID-based Inventory Management System
Radio-frequency identification (RFID) sensors based on IoT concepts will also change the way we shop. In an IoT-based store, you will just have to take your smartphone out and scan the barcode of products. Payments will be made via smartphone at the spot. There will be no long queues to wait at checkout spots. Similarly, barcode scanning mechanism will help shop owners to maintain products in their stores easily. IoT will result in “smart price tags” according to Accenture. These price tags will help customers buy products on the go. Famous clothing brand American Apparel started RFID-based inventory management system to track inventories and related processes in its stores. This gave more time to its employees to focus on customer services instead of tiring work.
Soon you won’t have to ask salesmen about location of your product in large stores. Robots will guide you all the way to your product. In fact, famous stores run by Best Buy and Lowe’s are already testing robots in their stores. You type the product name using the touch screen of robot and it guides you to your desired product.
Effects of Robots of Delivery and Packaging
Amazon installed thousands of “Kiva Robots” in its shipping and packaging facilities in 2014, which resulted in 50% increased delivery efficiency and agility. These robots package, pack, unpack and find items in Amazon’s warehouses. The cost and time involved in this process increase significantly when it’s done by humans. Amazon is also planning to use connected drones and robots to deliver its products. This IoT-based delivery process will affect retail in unimaginable ways.
Beacons and Location Based Discount Alerts
IoT will give a huge rise to beacons and Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) devices which will track users’ location all the time. This would facilitate users in getting alerted about discount coupons and sales in their nearby stores. For example, if you are passing by an apparel store, and have the location services and coupon beacon setup, you will get a notification that you are 100 meters away from this store which is offering 50% off on all jeans or shirts. This will change the retail sector’s coupons, discounts and marketing dynamics.
Amazon Go is perhaps the biggest embodiment of effects of Internet of Things on retail. With Amazon Go, customers will be able to enter stores, grab whatever they want, and come out. No checkouts, no manual payments. No salesmen. All of this would be taken care of by Internet of Things. Watch this video to see about Amazon Go will work.