IoT is a combination of physical devices embedded with electronics, software and other technology for data sharing.

Some IoT devices interact with other devices, such as smartphones, while others connect directly to networks. IoT is poised to reinvent many industries, including retail, due to flexible and innovative applications. The IoT market is projected to reach $326 billion in retail revenue opportunity by 2018, according to SAP, so it’s time to take a hard look at the practical applications for your retail stores before you get left behind.

How IoT Can Revolutionize Retail

IoT is already hard at work in the retail industry within merchandising, marketing and customer success. RFID sensors are relatively common and have a measurable impact, helping you keep a 99 percent accurate inventory, Smart shelves expand on this concept by letting you measure the results of retail execution through customer behavior, in addition to inventory management. Automated checkouts provide additional convenience to customers, and wearable devices let sales associates pull up important notifications and information.

Beacons are another retail IoT technology getting a lot of attention. These small devices combine mobile data collection with hardware by interacting with nearby smartphones. When a customer comes near the beacon, it can send proximity-based information on products, brands, promotions and other helpful messages. Statistica reports beacon triggered sales at $4.1 billion, with rising projections.

IoT and Omnichannel Retail Strategies

Omnichannel retail sales will reach $1.8 trillion by 2017. Full adoption of omnichannel can be a frustrating and slow endeavor, depending on your existing technology infrastructure and capacity. IoT helps you develop a full omnichannel presence by decreasing the difficulty associated with integrating your data and systems.

Mobile data collection benefits from IoT’s relationship with mobile devices, as well as general internet connectivity trends. With greater access to smartphones, high-speed mobile internet and other consumer devices, you have more opportunities to collect valuable data. The technology infrastructure developing around IoT brings a lot of promising improvements for your retail stores.

IoT’s Retail Execution Benefits

IoT brings benefits to many areas, from product promotion to customer loyalty. Beacons, and other proximity-based IoT tools, let you deliver highly targeted marketing messages to customers who are actively making purchasing decisions. Even customers don’t make a purchase provide valuable behavioral data for future marketing messages.

With an integrated infrastructure, you can also create a seamless customer experience to help improve loyalty. Retail staff and management productivity also improves, thanks to less hands-on inventory management and merchandising. The enhanced retail execution of brands provides your company with actionable customer behavior and purchasing data.

IoT makes many aspects of retail execution easier on both brands and retail stores. You spend less time wondering about inventory numbers, manually sending out promotional offers and coupons, and trying to bring your data together into a centralized location. IoT provides the integrated experience necessary for omni-channel retail while providing innovative options for retailers and brands looking for a competitive edge. Adoption is only going to increase with IoT, so now’s the time to get in on the ground floor.

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