Retailers are used to change, as they have been forced by new online purchasing practices to innovate and adapt their strategies to new consumer habits, and the change is far from over as the Edge Computing on IoT offers traditional stores new opportunities to innovate by creating unique customer experiences. Contrary to rumors, traditional stores are bound to last and have good days in front of them if they continue to innovate as well.
This potential for innovation and optimization concerns all aspects of their business, from the back office to accounting through the customer interface. Retailers who opt for digital transformation to exploit IoT technology will benefit in three main ways:
- by improving the online and in-store customer experience,
- optimizing the supply chain, and
- creating new revenue opportunities.
The adoption of IoT technology will require rigorous planning and implementation, as well as an investment in edge computing, which enables analysis and processing in the vicinity of connected objects and the people who use them.
Improved back-office activities
Edge computing will soon become a common practice in the retail sector. In the warehouses, well-hidden server cabinets will host the infrastructure and applications needed for the real-time processing of supply chain systems, without the delays and costs that would come with the constant flow of data to and from the cloud.
In stores, IoT applied to back-end technologies such as RFID, real-time outlets, and intelligent shelving systems will improve the accuracy of inventory tracking throughout the supply chain. Automated inventory management will allow for the timely replenishment of items without the need for human intervention to complete inventories, which will help prevent stockouts of the most popular items during periods of high demand. such as holidays.
Innovation driven by IoT will be particularly visible in all aspects affecting the customer. In-store experience could change dramatically as retailers want to make it easier for customers to get the information they need and reduce queues at checkouts.
For example, some stores already use point-of-sale systems linked to tablets that allow employees to process transactions from anywhere in the store. In the near future, customers will be able to scan their smartphones with barcode labels that contain product information such as color choices and features.
In fitting rooms equipped with augmented reality mirrors, they will be able to see what they look like in different outfits, without having to put them on. Retailers will also be able to provide personalized discount coupons to customers entering their store, with WiFi systems recognizing customers who have already connected to the systems inside the store. Infrared beacon technology will generate heat maps that tell retailers which customer routes are in their store and thus optimize the layout of the space.
All of these customer-facing systems will be connected to analytics applications that will generate data that enables retailers to make better decisions to build customer loyalty, including better store layout, relevant promotions, and better availability. some products.
New sources of income
Operational and customer experience improvements will generate new revenue streams for retailers. Better digital synchronization of in-store, online and mobile experiences will further build customer loyalty and attract new customers.
Retailers will also be able to set up new revenue-generating services, including IoT-connected device installation and connection services and the management of corresponding software updates. For this purpose, they may work in collaboration with IT solution providers or provide these services themselves.
Retailers ready and willing to invest in IoT and edge computing will take advantage of their competitors not yet convinced by the interest of this approach. These pioneers will be the first to reap the benefits of digital transformation. To take advantage of this unique opportunity before anyone else, adopt edge-computing solutions that will support your IoT efforts and provide security in a connected world.