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IoT and the in-store experience: from sensors to self-checkout

March 29, 2019

IoT and the in-store experience: from sensors to self-checkout
Today’s digital consumers have become smarter and more demanding shoppers. Spoiled by e-commerce, they now expect to be able to choose and purchase the merchandise they want quickly and easily. Many have become accustomed to receiving “perks” that reward their loyalty. And of course, they’ve become accustomed (and rather enjoy) shopping with their smartphones.
 
This has created new demands on the retail industry.
 
Fortunately, IoT has given retailers new and innovative ways to address these demands. And in the process, they’re actually streamlining their in-store operations and improving the customer experience.
 
IoT sensors, the shopping conduits, are making stores smarter  
Strategically located in various areas of the retail store and on the merchandise itself, IoT sensors relay important information in real time—giving retailers invaluable information on everything from shoppers’ behaviors to issues with in-store operations (like when checkout lines are too long). Product sensors such as RFID tags on clothing allow retailers to immediately keep track of inventory stock and gain a better understanding of customers’ preferences.




The in-store experience is becoming more immersive and rewarding
All sorts of IoT devices are enriching the shopping experience. For example, interactive displays recommend complimentary products to shoppers and incentivize them with coupons while capturing inventory data when items are removed and/or replaced. And digital mirrors offer customers a 360-degree view of themselves trying on clothes virtually and gives them the ability to try on different outfits—reducing trips to the dressing room.
 
IoT is also adding new dimensions to customer loyalty programs. Customers can now log into their accounts on their smartphones while they’re shopping, giving the retailer valuable real-time data about how they’re interacting with the store—and ways to get them to spend more during their time there. For example, if a shopper picks up a box of cake mix and places it in their cart, the store could send a coupon for ready-made frosting to their phone.
 
The statistics point to a sea change 
Given all the advantages, it’s no wonder so many retailers have jumped on the IoT bandwagon. According to research published in Forbes, 79% of North American retailers are investing in IoT technologies such as automated inventory verification and sensors on shelves. And 72% plan to reinvent their supply chain with real-time visibility enabled by automation, sensors and analytics based on IoT technologies. To quote Forbes, “retailers are scrambling to keep up with the technology preferences of millennials who have now eclipsed baby boomers as the world’s largest shopping group and who will be 75% of the global workforce by 2025.”
 
If you’re a reseller who sells to the retail industry, there’s lots of opportunity, and Ingram Micro can help you capitalize on it. To learn more about what all this means for your customers’ business—and yours—contact our IoT experts at us.iot@ingrammicro.com