Advertise with

Adan Pope, Chief Technology Officer, ShopperTrak
Adan Pope, Chief Technology Officer, ShopperTrak

A smart retail IoT strategy is both possible and necessary

RETAILER NEWS - Jul 11th 2016, 16:18

The proliferation of mobile technologies combined with widespread Internet access has rapidly altered just about every aspect of our lives. Now, the Internet of Things (IoT) promises an even greater revolution. Some applications – such as smart cities that use data analytics to improve everything from municipal functions to traffic patterns and connected healthcare devices that provide remote patient monitoring – are already making an impact.  

Retail IoT also holds great promise, especially as the industry evolves from a more passive approach of monitoring customer behavior to one where data is increasingly being used to digitally engage with shoppers in real-time. But legitimate concerns exist as retailers try to understand the IoT and determine whether measurable business value can come from it.

We have the technology. What about the strategy?

Today’s technology is capable of making smart retail a reality. Just about everyone in the world uses a mobile device and has 3G or 4G (soon to be 5G) connectivity. Retailers already are combining these technologies with in-store solutions such as WiFi enabled sensors, Bluetooth low energy (BLE), beacons and video analytics, to connect with their customers’ mobile devices and collect multiple types of data. IoT goes even further, allowing users to tap into cloud-based software and infrastructure so the data can be analyzed quickly and leveraged in real-time.

But many retailers struggle with how to fully capitalize on these IoT-enabled capabilities. Without a clear plan to connect the data to business results, it is hard to make a case for the investment. A recent Forrester survey found that while 74 percent of companies say they want to be “data-driven,” only 29 percent say they are good at connecting analytics to action.

Top considerations when implementing IoT in retail

Implementing a successful IoT strategy does not have to overwhelm. Retailers willing to take a step back and consider these four key elements will find they can optimize their IoT investment for real business results:

1. Close the loop: Just because something can be measured does not mean it should be measured. By identifying the desired business outcome up front, retailers can pinpoint the data they must collect and analyze. By closing the loop between data and results, retailers can ensure they are collecting actionable information.

2. Be agile: Retailers that are willing to experiment will find they get the best results. If a retailer has a hypothesis about why an item is not selling, they should be willing to try new things – adjust the lighting, change the promotion or move the display. By collecting and analyzing data in real-time, the results are quick and adjustments can be made immediately.

3. Choose partners wisely: Retailers should identify technology partners that understand their goals and can relate to their brand. It is also important that these partners have the ability and willingness to continue investing by scaling up as the retailer’s IoT implementation grows.

4. Make security a priority: Security must be top of mind. It is common knowledge that the more connected devices a business has, the greater the security risk. If a retailer has doubts about their own in-store network security they should look to their service provider, which can manage all of their machine-to-machine (M2M) devices and IoT wireless connections in a more secure network.

A successful IoT strategy can be instrumental in helping retailers more effectively engage with today's tech-forward consumers. By starting small and building on successes, retail IoT can have a positive impact on both operational efficiencies and the in-store customer experience.

-Adan Pope, Chief Technology Officer, ShopperTrak2016 Stagnito Business information + Edgell Communications. All rights reserved  

Read more about: tech | retail | iot | internet | data | analytics

Related News

How to hyper-personalise your digital communications
26/06/2019 - 09:46
There was a time, not all that long ago, when personalising digital communications simply meant addressing your customers by name. We’ve come a long way since then. Today’s customers expect to receive communications that are relevant, arrive at the right time, and via the channel, they’re most comfortable using.

Transforming the customer retail experience with future fit technology
26/06/2019 - 09:19
Although the South African retail sphere is currently hindered by a slow economy and weak consumer confidence, technology is presenting opportunities to radically transform the customer experience and boost bottom line sales.

New Look losses mount as Brexit, rain keeps shoppers away
26/06/2019 - 09:03
British fashion chain New Look reported a bigger annual pretax loss, hurt by a large charge, while Brexit woes and rainy weather kept many shoppers out of its stores.

Pick n Pay and FoodForward SA aim for 2 million meals with Mandela Day Food Drive
25/06/2019 - 12:57
Pick n Pay and FoodForward SA have launched their third annual Mandela Day Food Drive and invite all South Africans to contribute towards the ambitious goal of collecting 500 tonnes of food – enough to produce two million meals.

Woolworths Beauty goes 100% vegan
25/06/2019 - 09:08
Woolworths is driving the vegan lifestyle into the mainstream in South Africa with its announcement that its WBeauty ranges are 100% vegan. This is in step with worldwide trends, where more and more consumers are turning to veganism, which excludes the consumption of all animal products and products with animal-derived ingredients, as a more ethical lifestyle that is gentler on the Earth.