The industrial internet of things (IIoT), an interconnected ecosystem of internet-enabled objects—devices, sensors, microprocessors, data hubs, networks, artificial intelligence software and analytics programs—is already being used across the retail industry.
Whether it is monitoring the supply chain, tracking and managing inventory, delivering personalized promotions, or enabling ecommerce from new environments, the retail IIoT is ushering in an era in which “smart” things can seamlessly collect, share and analyze real-time data.
Highly personalized shopping experiences. Intelligent stores. Remote interaction with products. All of these scenarios are predicted to be a part of the next major game-changer in the retail supply chain— IIoT.
Achieving a successful marketing strategy with IIoT in retail
For a retailer to take advantage of a truly connected marketing strategy that integrates omni-channel and supply chain, the information exchange has to be of direct value to the customer without making them feel that they have sacrificed their privacy.
The key to achieving a truly connected overall marketing strategy lies in integrating the information acquired by a retailer’s omnichannel strategy:
Tracking behavioral responses
Many retailers are overwhelmed by the amount of data they have collected regarding their consumers. To better engage potential customers, machine learning is being used on large amounts of data to identify patterns in shopper behavior.
For example, the IBM platform, Watson, can parse through data contained in social media profiles or Twitter streams to pinpoint specifics about an individual’s demographics, affinities and even their personality.
Integration in apparel
An example of a highly integrated shopping experience is Rebecca Minkoff’s “digitally connected” store. The store uses a “connected glass shopping wall” in fitting rooms to guide the shopper through their experience.
The sales associates can gather other coordinated items for the shopper based on what is in the fitting room. Here, the retailer has integrated customer engagement with their omnichannel strategy and in-store inventory to elevate the consumer experience.
The personalized experience
In addition to the kind of individualized experience that stores are providing, retailers are looking for other ways to deliver a more personalized shopper dynamic. Some stores are starting to explore in-store communication, where shoppers can leave digital notes for friends regarding particular items — which are only visible to the shopper and recipients.
Apps like Foursquare incorporate preferences and suggest places to visit, rewarding the shopper for sharing their experiences with others. Mobile devices are being used for value exchange with the customer, and the integration of the mobile and omnichannel strategies reduces the friction between connections.
The future of retail applications is critical for business success.
The Internet of Things is enabling retailers to:
- Track customers as they move around your store
- Automatically update stock records as items are taken off selves
- Receive real-time feedback on the condition of produce as it arrives with the customer
- Change in-store and on-street advertising based on the interests of the consumer viewing it
- Smart price tags that can be changed in real time based on demand or other trends. With a connected pantry, basic groceries arrive when needed.
- Smart shelves to detect when inventory is low
Retailers that take the lead in this space stand to gain an important advantage in an already competitive environment. Early adopters will be positioned to more quickly deliver IIoT-enabled capabilities that can increase revenue, reduce costs and drive a differentiated brand experience.
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