Ever wonder why you should care about the Internet of Things (IoT)? It seems to dominate conversations these days. As you start to notice this common theme floating to the surface you’ve probably found yourself wondering about what IoT means for retailers. Is it something you should pay closer attention to?
What is IoT?
IoT is basically one device connecting to another device (or human) to gather data or perform a specific act. The information it can pull together for your business is referred to as “big data” because of the extent of knowledge you receive.
[For retailers] there is real business value in all of this data. ~Mike Olson, cofounder and CSO of Cloudera.
IoT has many functions in the retail environment. From employee/customer connectivity to output of big data, retailers can gain a tremendous advantage by using IoT in stores.
Here is a closer look at why your retail store should care about the IoT movement.
Gathering Big Data for Big Benefits
One of the biggest advantages retailers have is the ability to track customer behavior using sensors. The most important sensors, and the ones that can give you the biggest benefits are:
- People counting
- Bar code scanners
- Fitting room occupancy sensors
- Locked cabinet call button
- Doorbells for unstaffed counters
Let’s take a closer look.
Before you can understand what’s happening in your store, you need to know how many people are entering your store. People counters track total store traffic so you know how many people came in compared to how many people made a purchase.
Your point of sale (POS) system is also a hotbed of data. At its core, you can track sales. Look closer and you can also use it to track overall volume, the average amount of each transaction, and more.
This technology sends a signal to a customer when she enters your store. If your shopper has iBeacon technology enabled on her phone (and many do) you can send a personalized offer. You can then gather data to determine how effective your offers are and what is getting your customers excited.
Bar Code Scanners
A bar code scanner doesn’t seem exciting at first. It scans the UPC code on items. But, when used in conjunction with other types of technology you can determine which items are the most popular, which items you need more of, and how much interest there is in specific inventory in your store.
Your RFID enabled devices are similar to UPC codes, but they do not require a bar code scanner to track. Instead, you can track individual items, which makes it easier to monitor and manage your inventory.
Fitting Room Occupancy Sensors
Do you know how many people are in your fitting rooms? What are your busiest times? With fitting room occupancy sensors, you not only help your staff lower wait times, but you also get a better understanding of how often you’re at full capacity. When deciding how to staff the fitting room area or whether to remodel, this is valuable data to have on hand.
Locked Cabinet Call Button
Some items need assistance to view, such as perfume, high-end jewelry, and smaller high-end electronics. Don’t make your customer go out of her way to find someone to help. A lock cabinet call button gets the associate to the customer faster. It also lets you gather data about how much interest there is in those specific products.
Doorbell for Counters
If you have a few counters that are not regularly staffed, a doorbell will alert associates when a customer is ready for checkout. Use these doorbells to understand how often a customer needs assistance in that area and use the data to improve your staffing.
IoT Matters for Retailers
Retailers have a lot of data to track. From foot traffic to sales and plenty of inventory and staffing questions in between, IoT lets you gather the type of data you need to make your customer’s experience a positive one.
Ready to learn more about tracking data in order to increase your store profitability? Download our free eBook on retail analytics below.