How the IoT Can Transform Retail

The Internet of Things (IoT) has the potential to transform many aspects of modern business, particularly when it comes to retail. Retailers have already been working with RFID for some time, and the newest technologies associated with the IoT are a logical progression. With cost pressures mounting, the IoT can really help optimize processes, particularly in logistics and supply chain management.

It also presents new opportunities in areas such as the shipment of goods thanks to exciting technologies like drone deliveries. In retail outlets, self-checkout, smart mirrors and digital signage are the wave of the future. Smart shelves can offer digital price labeling and incorporate scales to inform merchandisers when stock is getting low, for example, while virtual closets can allow shoppers to virtually try merchandise that is related to the clothes they are wearing.

Retailers Optimistic About IoT Possibilities

Verizon recently released its 2016 Internet of Things report, and it reflected a lot of positivity on the part of retailers about deploying IoT technology. For example, more than three fourths of retailers say that IoT changes their customers’ experience. Eighty-nine percent of retail early movers say that the IoT affords them better insight into the behaviors and preferences of customers, while 77 percent say they use it to create opportunities to improve collaboration with partners when it comes to delivering their services and goods to customers. Meanwhile, 84 percent of these early movers say that customers value the exchange of information to improve their experience.

Just how much can these technologies help improve the bottom line? The use of RFID tags is predicted to bring retailers 99 percent inventory accuracy as well as a 50 percent drop in out-of-stocks and a 70 percent drop in shrinkage. Estimates show that IoT-based supply chain and logistics solutions could bring about savings to the tune of $2.7 trillion thanks to better efficiencies and a reduction in waste.

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