The Internet of Things (IoT) is all around us. Your smartphone tracks your daily activities. Android and Apple wearables are counting your steps, finding the best path to your destination and keeping you up to date on the latest news or items on your calendar. This information is continually being applied to enhance your life, but the applications of the IoT in retail and manufacturing does much more than managing the tasks of one person.
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Retail is on the verge of a radical transformation through this technology. The IoT in retail centers will change how the industry operates, manages day-to-day operations and adapts to changes in the global and local market in these ways.
Item-Level Tracking Will Enhance Inventory Management.
Inventory management is among the most complex processes in any retail establishment. Inventory levels in the store dictate what gets reordered. Meanwhile, annual inventory audits identified endless streams of shrink and lost revenue that seems to have vanished without explanation.
In these cases, the IoT in retail inventory management could dramatically change how companies track and monitor their on-hand and forecasted inventory needs. In fact, item-level tracking, reports Melanie Nuce of Supply and Demand Chain Executive, such as radio-frequency identification tags, can increase inventory management accuracy by 26 percent. That means going from 63-percent accuracy to 99-percent in a matter of months, if not weeks or days.
EPCs Will Make Shopping Faster For Consumers.
Electronic product codes (EPCs), “smart barcodes,” will simplify checkout procedures shortly. Amazon Go, a line-free, checkout-free shopping experience, is already taking advantage of the IoT in retail. This innovative approach to shopping will make it faster, saving customers time and driving up profits for the internet giant.
Automated Processes Will Empower Personalized Interactions and Better Customer Service.
There is another side to automation and the applications of this technology in retail. Having more automated processes will lead to less labor for workers. Although this might seem like an opportune way to eliminate unnecessary staff members, it leads to better customer service as associates can focus on customers, not endless chases of price tags and paperwork.
Stores Will Be Able to Access New Revenue Streams.
Companies that integrate the IoT in retail establishments will be able to access new revenue streams through better control of overhead. Per Bill Chamberlin of Forbes magazine, new revenue opportunities will include fewer lost purchases due to long waits or being “out of a certain item.”
Furthermore, the IoT’s possible use to create “green initiatives” for managing energy consumption in stores will help establishments gain the “loyalty of next-generation consumers.”
IoT in Retail: What Does It Mean?
The wave of the IoT in retail is gaining national attention as more consumers weigh the pros and cons of shopping with your company or your competitor. If you can leverage the power of the IoT in retail now, you will gain a profound advantage over your competitors, and it will be key to ensuring your business survives.