IoT Solutions in Retail Industry Is Expanding: A Revolution


While travel and logistics took the heat of the pandemic, the retail industry posed as an evergreen industry. One prominent reason is, customers are always shopping–either online or offline. However, in recent times the proclivity towards online shopping has increased significantly. As a result, retailers are in a haste to leverage technologies like AR/VR for retail industry

Now, when the demand is not dying, and you have sufficient supply for your customers, the only concern is–how to delight the existing customers and attract new ones? With so many retailers already claiming the top spot in the market and new ones aiming for the position, you need to give your customers strong reasons to shop with your brand.

Coming back to the question, the answer is simple. You might have expected the same as well. A key differentiator between your retail business and that of your competitors is the outstanding customer experience. Currently, IoT solutions in the retail industry facilitate business ease and, in turn, work on customer experience. As a result, with the right set of IoT solutions in retail industry, you can fight and win battles on two fronts–your internal operations and customer-side.

How are IoT Solutions in Retail Industry Entering a New Era?

Let’s talk numbers.

  • As per the study by Markets and Markets, retail businesses are trusting IoT solutions for their core operations–workforce management, supply chain optimization, security, and surveillance.
  • According to the same study, the total investment towards IoT solutions in retail industry is likely to equal or exceed USD 35.5 Bn by 2025, up from merely USD 14.5 Bn in 2020.
  • Another report by Grand View Research brings forth critical reasons for the retail industry to adopt IoT solutions. As stated in research, the Internet of Things is anticipated to revolutionize the retail industry by transforming traditional and offline stores through RFID and smart shelves to turn them into advanced digital stores.

If we look at these numbers, the future of the retail industry seems quite bright with the inclusion of IoT solutions. To put this in perspective, a rise in IoT investment by 19.6% between half a decade, i.e. 2020-2025, makes IoT a significant change creating ripples across the industry.

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IoT Solutions in Retail Industry can Shape Customer-centric Operations

Retailers are finding new dimensions to ride with the Internet of Things. These solutions facilitate retailers to establish a strong connection with their customers. In addition to this, IoT assists in predicting significant gaps between what a retailer has and what a customer demands. As a result, it leads to effective sales closing and retargeting customers for better outcomes.

Let me walk you through alleys of touchpoints where IoT solutions for retail industry are more customer-centric:

Better Identification of Customer DemandsThe Internet of Things solutions in the retail industry facilitates a vital communication bridge between a customer and a retailer. Similar to Artificial Intelligence, IoT sensors can monitor the everyday habits of customers and provide intelligent insights about business-friendly data. As a result, you can set your product recommendation engine based on customers’ preferences and have them engage better with your products.
Effective Customer TargetingOne of the critical issues retailers face is the increasing bounce rate from the page and cart abandonment rate. With the proper implementation of IoT solutions, retail businesses can identify the true buyer intention and segregate the right set of customers from the window shoppers and casual scrollers. As a result, efforts that your retail team puts can be directed in the right direction.
Personalized Communication with CustomersWhile customer support is the haven for distressed and lost customers, you need to provide your team with sufficient tools to know the exact pain points of customers for offering better services. That being said, beacons and sensors empowered by IoT solutions can help collect user data and offer hyper-personalized content. This data can be useful to analyze from which page has the customer come to the customer support and issue can be resolved effectively. IoT solutions also include the use of wearables in retail for engaging customers.

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How Do Investors View Retail Businesses with IoT Solutions?

From electronics to food, affordable products to luxury items, the retail industry has been a cash cow for investors. The dynamicity and diversity ensure that when one product does not work, the other does and saves the business from extreme loss. However, there is a downside to being in the retail industry. The trends keep changing, and you are either part of the transformation or are swept off by the waves. Besides being a broader market to play, it is also volatile and susceptible to changes.

It becomes easy for retail businesses to embrace trends and technology by envisioning a productive future for investors to partner with them. If we go by the citing of Morgan Stanley, the retail investors comprise nearly 10% of the U.S. stocks index Russell 3000. This data shows the increasing interest of investors in the retail industry. Thus, though IoT may seem like an advanced solution for retail startups, these are essential yet necessary retail solutions for enterprises.

When it comes to understanding an investor’s mindset, it is made up of four Rs:

  • Revenue
  • Returns on investment
  • Returns on total assets
  • Returns on capital

No matter what a retailer is selling, investors keep track of RoI and management performance. The right set of investors can help you expand your business in the right direction. In addition to this, investors help in the generation of positive cash flow for your retail business. However, investors seek potential growth from the retail industry they invest in.

With the inclusion of IoT solutions in retail industry, investors have a new benchmark for businesses they want to invest in. Moreover, since the incorporation of IoT can bring internal and external success and for an extended period, it makes your business seem relevant in the technology-clad retail space. As a result, seeking funding becomes a notch easier with IoT solutions.

IoT solutions in retail industry unlock the pathway to new business opportunities. The solutions enable retail companies to benefit from modern solutions to shorten time to market and amplify RoI.

If you wish to leverage this opportunity to bring IoT-led changes in your retail business, get to know the way to switch your traditional retail business to an advanced one. In the next section, you will be able to learn about IoT solutions in retail industry.

How to Pave the Switch from Traditional to Digital Business?

The Internet of Things is transforming the retail space as you read this, which is hard to dispute. As operations embrace IoT for retail, it invites new dimensions of digitization. IoT is currently influential for every facet of the retail industry—right from the supply chain, field service monitoring, inventory management, and more.

Below are some retail areas that are in a union with IoT:

Smart Shelves for Inventories:

A normal rack can only store items. When a human interacts with the shelf, it may not keep an accurate track of the inventory. On the other hand, demand fluctuation and seasonal spikes also create a gloomy picture for retail businesses. As a result, retail businesses often suffer from over-or under-stocking. The IoT solution for this situation is smart shelves.

Smart shelves leverage RFID technology to monitor and track inventories in retail stores. In addition, these smart shelves leverage weight sensors installed within them. Below are some benefits of smart shelves:

  • It offers real-time information about the stock as well as inventory management.
  • It reduces out-of-stock instances by sending low stock alerts. Besides this, it also saves you from lost sales opportunities.
  • It sends information about the correct product positioning when products are displaced.
  • It provides updates about the real-time shelf tags.
  • It displays practical information about customized products.
  • It facilitates stock optimization and reduces losses from poor inventory management.

Cashierless Checkout:

While payment gateways take care of online payments for online shoppers, IoT solutions also have a role to play for offline customers or in-store visitors. According to a study by Business Wire, nearly 2% of U.S. shoppers get annoyed while shopping in a store and waiting to checkout. As a result, IoT solutions for payments lead to a fast-track checkout even on busy days like Sundays. As a result, you not only save on your cashier resource but also save time for customers and, in turn, increase their satisfaction rate.

Cashierless facilities are the most sought-after disruption for retailers to upkeep the traction even in brick-and-mortar stores. As a result, goliaths of the retail industry–Walmart and Amazon–integrate digitally-enabled technologies for facilitating fast deliveries and secure checkouts. Below are some benefits of cashier-less payments:

  • It increases convenience for customers, as they do not have to wait for checking out in long queues.
  • It reduces the possibility of lost sales since customers waiting to check out tend to rethink their purchases and remove products from their carts.
  • It helps retail business owners to save up on multiple resources in the form of cashiers and increase transparency, accuracy, and efficiency.

A Beacon for Better Targeting:

According to Think with Google, Android devices capture over 40 Mn queries every year for beacon-related content through Google Services. Since the traditional retail industry has no means to measure customers’ demands, they can’t cash in on any opportunity. With IoT solutions in retail industry, beacons are emerging as a viable solution.

Beacons are wireless transmitters using low-energy Bluetooth technology for sending signals to other smart devices. Beacons are the latest location detection technology as well as proximity marketing. Each of these devices consists of a radio, a CPU, and batteries. It operates by repeatedly broadcasting signals to an identifier. An identifier then picks up the signal to receive details and information. Below are some of the best benefits of the beacon technology:

  • It offers better offline attribution with Google Ads through the customer’s offline activity,
  • It also plays a crucial role in out-of-store marketing.
  • It offers positional accuracy and extracts reliable information.

Want to know more about the potential of beacon for retail?

Here’s an interesting case study

Better Asset Tracking:

When you are operating a retail business, you may have more assets in your rack than you might ever know. As a result, it might lead to losses without proper visibility of assets. Using IoT solutions in retail industry helps you manage your inventory with utmost accuracy and transparency since you know the status, maintenance schedule, and location of your assets. However, IoT solutions are expensive and time-consuming. With the use of asset management and tracking, you can increase asset control efficiency and reduce equipment loss.

Traditionally, barcodes act as a unique identification system that enables asset counting with utmost accuracy without any risk of human error. Below are some of the benefits of asset tracking through IoT:

  • It First, it improves overall efficiency across the inventory and reduces costs.
  • It offers real-time reports for tracking the asset position and improves the accuracy of asset management.
  • It helps in reducing the administrative costs of manually tracking the assets.
  • With proper asset allocation and tracking, regulatory compliance becomes easy.

Top IoT Solution Trends for the Retail Industry

There’s absolutely no dispute about the potential of IoT solutions in retail industry. In a bit of time span, IoT has brought historical transformations in the retail sector.

Below are some of the most influential IoT trends in the retail industry:

What are the Key Factors Influencing the Adoption of IoT Solutions in Retail Industry?

Previously, when the Internet of Things was on the horizon and a distinct concept, the cost of sensors and hardware components was high. As a result, when a retailer would opt for tIoTincorporation, it would take a long time to receive the returns on investment. However, in recent times, reducing the costs of IoT-related hardware components and sensors reflects IoT’s overall cost, which takes less time to reach the RoI. Besides this, it increases customers’ shopping experience and improves targeting for retailers with pinpoint accuracy, thereby improving the outcome. As a result, the bias towards IoT solutions in retail industry is increasing.

What are the Top Applications of IoT in Retail Industry?

The top applications of IoT in retail industry include asset management, operations management, advertising, marketing, and customer experience management. In addition to this, IoT solutions also influence core operations, supply chain management, security, surveillance, and workforce management.

Which are the Key Geographic Locations Homing the Most IoT Solutions in Retail Industry?

North America, South America, Asia Pacific, Africa, and Europe. North America, Europe, and the Asia Pacific are likely to home the highest number of IoT solutions among these geographies, owing to better technological facilities. In North America and Europe, demand for speedy dispatch and delivery encourages retailers to opt for IoT solutions. In Asia Pacific, increasing foreign direct investment, better technological reformations, and rising competition in the retail space are key drivers for IoT solutions.

How are Retailer Goliaths Leveraging IoT Solutions for Retail Businesses?

From warehousing to supply chain management and inventory handling, IoT solutions are making inroads into the retail industry and better. Customers are enjoying personalized shopping experience and ease while retailers are able to extract utmost efficiency and productivity from their processes. Numerous leading retailers across the world are empowering their operations with the incorporation of IoT:

AWM Smartshelf: Located in Aliso Viejo, AWM uses a smart shelf with leading-edge displays as well as high-def optical sensors for displaying product pricing along with information that transmits data about inventory levels. In addition to this, it can also identify the age of a consumer, their gender, and their ethnicity to deliver more specific display content.

Flonomics: The retail analytics technology and counting system of Flonomics, headquartered in Denver, enables retailers to identify optimal staffing levels. It can also help improve marketing strategies, gauge traffic flow, enhance customer service, and more.

Engage3: Situated in Davis, Engage3 has a competitive intelligence platform that facilitates retailers to identify a solid pricing strategy by offering competitive price data as well as product linking capabilities. The competitive intelligence platform also offers machine-learning-based capabilities through the dashboard.

Caper Lab: Located in Brooklyn, it has a smart self-checkout cart powered by the AI of Amazon Go. The customers can pick products from the shelves, scan the barcode of the product, put it back in the cart, and make payment directly through the cart once they are done with their shopping. It does not require any app, cash changes, waiting time, or a cashier.

Plexure: Headquartered in San Francisco, the AI-driven platform of Plexure enables retailers to send the relevant information at the right times to the right customers. The exceptional personalized messaging system with payment, order, analytics, and loyalty system integration.

More About Author

Vishal Nakum

Vishal Nakum is a tech enthusiast with a passion for exploring the latest developments in the world of technology. He has a keen interest in emerging technologies such as Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning, and Blockchain, and enjoys keeping up-to-date with the latest trends and advancements in these fields. Vishal is an avid learner and is always on the lookout for new ways to expand his knowledge and skills. He is also a creative thinker and enjoys experimenting with new ideas and concepts. In his free time, Vishal enjoys playing video games and reading books on technology and science.