3 Savvy IoT Strategies for Retailers in 2017 and Beyond

by Bill McCarthy on 03-22-17

Juniper Research forecasts that merchants will spend $2.5 billion on IoT technologies by 2020. In fact, many brands are already leveraging IoT strategies for retailers that allow them to better understand consumer behavior and optimize the in-store experience.

As the number of available connected technologies increases, so too does the number of new opportunities for retailers to enhance or reshape the customer experience: “Merchants are looking to offer compelling experiences and services that can’t be duplicated by e-commerce,” Barbara Thau recently wrote in Forbes. “The idea is to leverage the Internet of Things to add a new dimension of product discovery, education, interaction, even entertainment, to physical stores.”

With this prudent sentiment in mind, here are three future-oriented in-store initiatives that any retailer who’s looking to establish firm footing on a path toward IoT success should consider implementing over the next few years.

1.) Shelf-edge Engagement

Bluetooth, WiFi,  and Near Field Communication (NFC) technology all speak to IoT strategies for retailers that support a wealth of connectivity in stores. Retailers can engage shoppers through their smartphones and, increasingly, wearable tech at the vital point of product interaction: the shelf edge.

With this type of engagement, shoppers can look up product information, read reviews and recommendations, and even receive personalized offers for the product in question — all of this, directly to their device. Apps are key here, as they  work in conjunction with location-based technology to bring about the possibility of new types of digital communication with customers in the store.

2.) Digital Product Discovery

An example of the proliferation of ‘things’ being a part of burgeoning IoT strategies for retailers is Sephora’s Beauty Board. The French cosmetics retailer’s concept stores are designed with a community feel. Beauty workshops are hosted on site, complemented by Beauty Boards – interactive online galleries that display user-generated content on digital screens.

Already, we’re seeing other retailers explore forms of IoT-connected digital signage, which can push content to consumers in real time, tailored to a specific store or city.

3.) Smart Replenishment and Pricing

Operationally, there are big wins to be had from connected technologies. RFID has long been hailed as the key to accurate inventory management, and today it’s coming into its own, thanks to the cost of RFID tags dropping to commercially affordable levels.

Additionally, great strides are being made in improving replenishment through smart shelves, which detect when inventory is low, and the ability to reduce or even eliminate out-of-stocks is on the immediate horizon. Not to mention, store managers are close to working in a world in which connectivity can be used to adjust shelf-edge pricing in real time through using internet-enabled smart tags to lower prices on promotional or low-turnover items.

To discover more about how the Internet of Things will re-shape the retail store, download our IoT eBook.