In this internet age, when a customer walks into a store in search of a new pair of jeans, this is what may happen:
As you enter, your smartphone pings, and you open it to find a map, showing your location and the location of the jeans display shelves. You walk over to them, try them on, and put them in your shopping bag. A robot rolls up and intercepts, inquiring if you need any help finding anything else. The robot takes you to a shoe display, as your requests, and finds your size on the display.
When you have done shopping, you leave the store and your items are scanned by sensors and as you leave your shopping list is added up and the final price is then deduced from your mobile payment app. Since you are a regular shopper, you receive an automatic discount.
The process is completed when, the shelf where you picked up the jeans, takes a note of the purchase and sends that information to a back-end inventory system for the retail-in-house manager to re-stock.
This is the future of Retail powered by IoT!
The recently concluded Black Friday and Cyber Monday shopping sprees has made the retail world sit back and take notice at some of the many ways how the Internet of Things (IoT) can transform the retail industry. Of late, IoT technologies have been increasingly deployed into stores around the world and according to estimates, retail IoT could turn out to be a $94 billion market by 2025. Intrigued? Here are half a dozen ways that might come to pass:
1. Cashiers have become an antiquity
From the expansion of Amazon GoZippin which foregoes checkout lines favouring apps to newbie startups looking to replace cashiers, the days of the traditional cashier who stands behind the cash register are numbered. As cashiers cost money and resources there is an increasing shift seen towards the adoption of the mobile point-of-sale (POS) terminals which will proliferate the place of stationary cashiers.
2. It is easy to manage retail now
Retail management was never so easy as online shopping is taking ever-bigger bites out of brick-and-mortar shopping. Still we cannot say that the days of the offline stores are over as IoT helps traditional stores modernize their operations with better inventory management deploying technologies such as smart shelves which are reducing shrinkage, and streamlining the supply chain.
3. The rise of the ambient commerce solutions
Ambient commerce mixes IoT technology with the traditional retail stores to attract younger consumers. GlobalData predicts that Ambient Commerce which combines sensors and AI technology with the physical space associated with retail stores will be the preferred destination for Generation Z, with self-checkout counters.
4. New technology into sales
Small Bluetooth devices can send customised discount coupons, invitations to special events, and other messages to nearby smartphones with the right apps, when they are installed. Technology has been in use for a while now, but still has a long way to go before reaching its full potential, which could be a problem or an opportunity.
5. In-car retail IoT is setting new benchmarks in self-driving cars
The upcoming AutoMobility LA is all set to explore the retail possibilities into autonomous vehicles. The concept involves a vehicle-commerce platform where consumers can shop directly from their vehicles through a safe and convenient connected car experience without any driver distraction. Payments are through a digital wallet compartment such that customers don’t need to enter their credentials for each purchase.
6. With evolving technologies, Consumer IoT devices get better
Customers are now spoilt for choices as IoT emerges as a dominant player into services. Every chore can be now done with the click of a button, leaving cash handling by the cashiers a thing of the past. As technology gets integrated into lives, the slow and the anarchic processes quickly fade out.
The six trends listed in this write up cover a wide range, from your purchase, to store sales covering even the re-stocking of merchandise but that is only the tip of the iceberg of the retail trends we happen to be able to be awe of currently.
Over the coming months and years, the future of retail empowered by IoT will drive even more dramatic shifts in the retail landscape, moving things in directions that are beyond imagination.