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The role of IoT in retail and disruptive innovation in the sector

Rajesh Ramesh | July 5, 2016
How brick and mortar retailers can ride the IoT wave to enhance customer and employee experience.

Extending the above example of thermal camera to the next stage of evolution, there is an opportunity now for retailers to provide customers the flexibility to scan items using the NFC (Near field communications) feature from their smartphones.

This, integrated with payment solutions, can eliminate the need to queue and going through the checkout process completely. 

Beacon solutions are gaining popularity with retailers. The messages around new product arrivals, promotions etc. can be flashed on to the shopper's smartphones via a device which uses Bluetooth low energy as they pass those locations.

This can drive more sales. However, the key here is to not bombard customer with too many messages and instead send that one message which can delight them.

As innovations are being rolled out on a daily basis, there are many more opportunities for retail outlets to improve their customer experience.

Some are economically viable and some are not. Nevertheless retailers should be open minded to try such technologies to bring in incremental delight to the customer experience.

This will give retail outlets an opportunity to stay ahead of competitors in the challenging brick and mortar world. We all know that it took about a decade for RFID to become a fairly viable option, but the technology adoption cycles have shrunk today.

It will be more prudent for retailers to give technology a shot and wait for the tipping point to get it economically viable to implement across the estate.

As a closing note, while there are lots of disruptions happening in the retail space as a result of IoT, there are many smaller and easier avenues for going this way.  

These can help improve customer and employee experience. Incremental, yet consistent innovations in I0T are important to bring about a positive change.



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