There has been a noticeable growth in e-retailing in the last couple of years. More and more people are showing interest in buying things online. But yet, the online retailing accounts not more than 10% of the total global retailing. It makes one thing very clear
which is that people, in spite of the great online retail revolution, still buy from physical stores.
In fact, people love to go to the market and buy things from physical stores. They enjoy as they can touch and feel their products. They can even try anything they want to buy before spending their money over it.
But e-retailing, on the other hand, is helping customers make smart decisions that also match the ongoing fashion trends. It’s easier to search a product in an online shopping portal then searching the same product in a physical product. You have to browse a few categories, apply filters and then you have the best of the recommendations.
Customers can even read reviews and check ratings before taking a decision of buying a product. It’s easier to search product in an online shopping portal then searching the same product in a physical product.
But these things just lack in a physical store. Customers have to completely depend on sale-persons and on whatever they are saying. They can lie, can’t they? There is no way through which a new customer buying a product from a physical store can instantly get recommendations from previous customers who have already bought and been using the same product.
Here are key challenges that physical stores experience while e-retailing is booming because of handling the same challenges with the use of technology.
- Physical stores cannot deliver the premium customer experience to each of the customers visiting them.
- They often struggle with the low operational the efficiency that keeps on increasing running costs.
- They can hardly manage engagement, spread low-budget awareness, and maintain the customer-loyalty.
- They struggle with long queues of frustrating customers waiting for their turn to make payments for their purchase.
- They have an unorganized inventory management system that turns out to be irresponsive in rapidly fulfilling the requirements of products.
- They do not have a connected system for predictive maintenance and continuous tracking of their equipment.
- They still have internal POS systems where customers are crowded before they make payments.
- There is no way they can deliver the personalized shopping experience to customers.
- They do not have an effective system to swiftly manage deals and offers.
Even an app cannot do this as it will not be able to interact with the real-world without depending on technologies like real-time
analytics, machines learning, commodity sensors and embedded systems. But the technology of IoT can do make it happen.
With IoT solutions, retail stores having physical presence can easily get rid of all those challenges that online retailers have suddenly posed to them. Here are some IoT solutions for retail stores:
Intelligent shelves: IoT ultrasonic sensors monitor and update the status of the products on shelves. They can even generate
notifications that can be sent to a web portal or app.
Inventory management: Managing the inventory of a retail store can become easier with RFID or Beacon sensors showing the real-time details of merchandises leaving the stock and coming from distributors.
Efficient movement of merchandises – Sensors mapping heat or footfalls of crowds can suggest how quickly merchandises have to be moved from stock to store.
Proximity Marketing: With an iBeacon or Eddystone based system, stores can push promotional offers to customers in the
proximity and increase sales.
Checking availability of resources or facilities: With sensors, stores can continuously track and stay updated with the availability of a trial room, the salesperson on case counter, guards at entrance & exit, and parking lot.
IoT Locks – Big stores have a lot to keep safe and secured. They need rooms locked up so that assets can be ensured with the desired safety and security. Doing this will require a lot of time, but IoT can do it from a single dashboard, even for remote locations.
Power consumption monitoring – IoT can help stores efficiently manage energy and power consumption to decrease operational costs. Sensors can detect whether a particular area of the store needs air conditioning or specific lighting or not.
Customer analytics: Different sensors installed in a store can together generate valuable data which can be used as customer
analytics. With daily/ weekly/ monthly reports, a store can analyze the conversion rate, zone conversion rate, etc.
Tracking employees and assets: Big stores need everyone and everything positioned at their place to ensure smooth functioning
of operations. IoT can track every employee and asset and ensure that they are there to perform their tasks.
So, IoT is the technology that helps software to sense things in the real world. It also helps people take the right decision with the
right option available to them at the right time. Other IoT solutions for retail stores can facilitate a store to do preventing
maintenance, provide desired level of safety and security, manage workforce, perform GPS-enabled goods transportation, provide personal greeting to customers, provide on-scan product details & review through smartphone up scanning
specific product code through by scanning with camera, AR base custom trailing and quick check outs with self-checkout and NFC based payment.
Indeed, there is no limit on possibilities that could be introduced by IoT to a physical store.
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