IoT in Retail: How IoT is transforming the retail industry

Published On: March 30, 2018
Last Updated: March 15, 2023
IoT in Retail: How IoT is transforming the retail industry

The retail industry is slowly and steadily adopting the newest technologies; the Internet of Things is one of them. Also, it is said that the internet of things in the retail industry will transform the lives of customers as well as retailers.

McKinsey, a leading consulting agency, states that the economic impact of IoT for retail will reach $410 million to $1.2 trillion every year by 2025.

From 2019, various leading retail brands worldwide have shifted to IoT. Also, as per a report, the market value of IoT for retail will reach $94.44 billion by 2025.

Currently, retailers are taking the support of IoT to enhance supply chain management, improve the checkout process, track assets, etc.

Here, we have done in-depth research and found some most effective and common ways IoT will transform the retail industry.

10 IoT Use Cases in the Retail Industry

Some of the trending use cases of IoT in the retail industry are as follows:

1. Customer Satisfaction Monitoring

Retailers are taking the help of IoT technology to take customer satisfaction to the next level.

Rather than using cameras to film every moment of the customer, you can utilize the IoT connected sensors to a dashboard or a fixed button that enables stores to obtain customer feedback instantly after their shopping experience.

All the information that retailers offer to real-time shoppers increases their satisfaction and enhances their in-store shopping experience.

Moreover, the deeper a store knows the desires of its customers, the more exciting items a store can present to its customers. Ultimately, it helps a store to offer more value to customers and enhance sales.

2. Smart Shelves for Inventory & Supply Chain Management

A vast number of medium-scale and enterprise-level owners now utilize IoT retail to take their operations to a new level and simplify inventory management.

The majority of your employees’ time and energy is wasted in monitoring things that don’t go out to stock and are placed correctly on the shelves.

With the help of smart shelves, both the tasks can be automated, and also they can take automated inventory management to the next stage.

Smart Shelves for Inventory & Supply Chain Management

Moreover, smart shelves offer the advantage of instant notifications and updates on the sales levels. They also provide notifications regarding the stock levels and alerts when SKU (stock keeping unit) goes down a particular number.

They automate various tasks along with making sure that products are not understock or overstock.

These things are possible because the smart shelves are attached with the weight sensors and utilize the RFID tags and the readers to scan products placed under the display and stock shelves.

3. Capturing Photos of Barcodes

Barcodes can be used to provide information more excitingly. One of the simple IoT in retail examples could be PUMA that collaborated with the smart retail company EVRYTHNG to enable customers in the New York flagship store to capture photos of barcodes present in the shoes to obtain more details regarding every shoe.

As customers are forced to engage in the physical store through their smartphones, the stores can understand customers better and provide relevant information as per the requirement of each customer.

4. Automated Checkout

A vast number of customers stop themselves from purchasing things because of huge waiting lines at the checkout. A wide number of managers have to start multiple checkout spaces in their store and provide employment to a wide number of people, which is pricey.

Automated Checkout

To prevent this, you can use a machine that does the work of a checkout cashier. Here, instead of humans, apps & machines can be installed. This checkout system then verifies all the items with the customer and deducts the total as soon as the customer leaves the store.

An IoT-enabled checkout system will draw more users to the store, particularly when they are in a rush. Moreover, McKinsey, a leading consulting company, states that automated checkout can help to decrease the cashier team by about 75%, thus leading to savings of $150 billion to $380 billion a year in 2025.

5. Personalized Discounts and Offers

A vast number of store owners love to reward their loyal customers. Using IoT, you can achieve this task more effectively and efficiently.

Personalized Discounts and Offers

Here, you can install sensors in your store at definite places that send loyal discounts and offers to specific customers as soon as they stand beside products with their smartphones, in case the customers have registered themselves for the loyalty bonus previously.

Moreover, you can utilize IoT to monitor items that customers are looking for online and then provide them with an incredible discount or offer when he/she reaches your store.

For example, if a user is looking for a travel bag online in your store, you can provide them with an extra discount when they reach your physical store.

Instead of offering discounts & offers for all customers, you can utilize IoT to provide personalized discounts & offers.

Retail Technology

6. Using Beacons for Promotions

Beacons are one of the most popular IoT retail use cases. Apple first introduced them in 2013.

Beacons are mainly minute Bluetooth devices that are useful to send discount codes or event invites to smartphones based in specific location proximity. In the retail sector, this indicates that customers can obtain discounts, particular events, or get reminders whenever they are beside the shop and have earlier downloaded the store app.

Using Beacons for Promotions

Businesses have the option to integrate these beacons in the walls, counters, or any place within the proximity of their store. Later, customers obtain attractive notifications when they are in those areas. This offers lures a targeted user to go into the store and instantly grab the offer.

Besides customers that are present inside the store, these devices are useful to send notifications to passersby.

7. In-store Layout Optimization

A wide number of stores are not getting sales because their retail space is not optimized as per the requirement of their target audience. There are chances that their not so famous products are placed at the entrance or customers love to have more space between some products.

IoT, along with infrared sensors, can be highly essential to enhance the overall layout of the physical store.

For instance, the vast number of your potential audience loves to check air conditioners; however, you have placed them at the end of the store after the coolers, which they sometimes even touch. From this detail, you get to know the behavior of your audience; hence, you can place air conditioners in front of the store.

8. Food & Safety Tracking

Various retailers belonging to the food and beverage industry to track the temperature of the storage room, assisting them in making sure food is not damaged.

Moreover, the retail industry’s wasted food leads to a major loss, including grocery owners losing $70 million every year.

IoT assists in decreasing food wastage and verify food safety processes are placed by properly tracking the temperature of food storage rooms.

This is achieved by integrating a device on the storage unit and attaching it to the dashboard that is set up to provide notifications during unstable temperature.

Lastly, constant data flow from the IoT sensors helps retailers look after the temporary goods, thereby maintaining overall food safety and decreasing wastage.

9. Robot Employees

One of the most compelling use cases of IoT for retailers can be robot employees. Even though you find it difficult to place your belief in a robot for customer service, you have the freedom to remove all the inferior tasks that are carried out at your store.

In other words, it is said that you can automate a vast number of redundant tasks at your store using robots, which was considered unexpected previously.

Robot Employees

Lowe’s, an American retail company, has built a robot employee with the name OSHbot, which helps customers look for particular products and offers details on promotions and inventory. Moreover, the robot can answer questions in two languages: English & Spanish.

10. Asset Tracking

Many retailers are utilizing the Internet of Things to look after missing shopping baskets and carts. Continuously monitoring all these assets can assist the stores by decreasing the cost of replacing them.

Moreover, retailers find it pricey to replace these shopping carts as their price lies between $75 to $250 each. In order to solve this issue, retailers are installing sensors on these carts to know their actual location and to get notifications as and when they get damaged.

Integrating tracking devices on the baskets and carts, both indoors and outdoors, can operate effectively for months or years without any requirement of changing batteries.

Lastly, these sensors can be highly beneficial for retailers to provide a top-notch experience to their customers by checking continuously that there are enough shopping baskets & carts.

Final Thoughts

Here, we have walked you through some of the most effective use cases of the internet of things in the retail industry. With each passing year, IoT is becoming a new standard, and various retailers are adopting this technology.

However, one of the most important things you should look up to for implementing IoT is developing a retail app.

For developing a retail app, you can reach out to IoT Development Company. They will understand all the requirements of your retail store and then provide you with an effective solution.

Ravi Makhija
Ravi Makhija

Ravi Makhija is an entrepreneur, an IT professional, tech geek, founder & CEO at Guru TechnoLabs - Globally Trusted Web & Mobile App Development Company. He loves writing about new technologies and the latest trends in the IT field.