Will Retailers Make the Most of IoT?

Retailers are exploring all that the Internet of Things (IoT) can help them accomplish, and some experts believe that a new “smart store” format could be on the horizon. However, much work needs to be done to make the most of all the technology can provide.

Target is already making some inroads in this respect. In San Francisco, the store’s Open House project makes use of touchscreen tables to show consumers how devices can work with one another. Meanwhile, one of its Minneapolis stores opened up a staffed “connected living experience” that uses product displays to educate consumers. This concept is expected to reach stores in New York and California in the near future.

Not surprisingly, retail giants Amazon and Walmart are also on the cutting edge in this regard. While Walmart is already tracking social media and utilizing it for showcasing products, it is also making use of weather data in order to keep track of grocery sales and even predict them. As for Amazon, its Dash button can track the usage of selected products and make reordering nearly automatic.

Even Disney is getting in on the act. Its MagicBand uses RFID to help enhance visits and keep track of park access and payments.

Iot Just Starting To Come Into Its Own

Goldman Sachs reports that the IoT already has 12 billion connected devices, and they predict this will rise to 30 billion buy 2020, illustrating that this technology is really just starting to come into its own. The networking is in place and the components exist to bring ideas and solutions together, but aspects such as formatting data, standards and equipment still have a ways to go.

Another concern is security. With so many connected devices, there are plenty of opportunities for attack, which is why remote management capability is also a big focus moving forward. This can send alerts when devices show unusual behavior, for example.

With many retailers busy focusing on enhancing their mobile experience to for online shoppers, the in-store experience has become less of a focus, and this could prove to be to their detriment. IoT holds a lot of promise, but it’s up to retailers to help it reach its fullest potential.

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