The popular image retailers face today is that ecommerce giants are forcing brick-and-mortar stores out of business, whether they are run by a small family operation or a large corporation. However, this isn't completely true - many retail businesses are surviving and even thriving despite the dominance of internet-based shopping services, according to FOX Business. Businesses that focus on in-person customer experiences are seeing success in particular, and many can use of the same technologies that makes their competitors so dominant to bolster their own operations - the IoT doesn't just benefit giants like Amazon.
Adapting to a new reality
Failure is not an inevitability for retail stores - it only becomes guaranteed when companies make no effort to digitally transform their operations. According to My Total Retail, the IoT is just as useful to retail firms as it is to ecommerce ones, and retailers that make the most use of it are sure to prosper.
There are many different ways the IoT can benefit retail businesses, and they can effectively bolster an organization's various operations. A new trend in retailing is that of the "smart store." Analogous to the personal "smart home," smart stores make use of IoT devices to monitor various aspects of operations and adjust accordingly. Smart store systems can perform simple tasks, like adjusting the temperature based on weather conditions, or automatically log transactions that are made by customers in databases. However, the potential of the IoT for the smart store concept doesn't stop there - My Total Retail reports that the IoT can also help brick-and-mortar stores keep on top of their security as well. New neural network-powered security cameras and software can identify likely shoplifters, and facial recognition databases can be used to notify employees of banned customers attempting to enter a store.
These benefits from security roll over and affect inventory management as well. The IoT can be used to identify conflicting transaction reports, whether intentional or unintentional, and to keep robust, constantly updating records of inventory changes. Deliveries can be easily tracked and coordinated thanks to IoT-enabled computers and shipping trucks offered by many shipping companies. With even more advanced devices, stores can monitor the humidity, temperature and even velocity of materials being shipped to them. These IoT benefits are not reserved for only the ecommerce giants like Amazon - retailers everywhere can make use of these technologies.
Creating an experience
As FOX Business reports, retailers that carve a niche as an "experience" instead of just a place to buy products are having the most success, and stores looking to adjust to this philosophy can make use of the IoT to accomplish this goal. The IoT can be used to track customer preferences online and recommend items based on collected data - these items can then be reserved at a local store and picked up at the guest's convenience. Retailers can also place IoT-enabled devices in the interiors of their stores to assist customers in various ways. Pressing a button on a wall-mounted tablet could, for instance, call an employee over for a product demonstration. Customer loyalty rewards could also be bolstered by releasing an app that then detects whether a customer has recently visited the store or purchased a certain product, and gives discounts in response.
But, experiences go further than just impressing customers with efficient technology and systems on a website. It is important for retail stores to create a unique culture and atmosphere with which to attract customers and get them to choose the brick-and-mortar installation over an ecommerce site. For businesses small and large looking to bolster their technological prowess, Perle offers high-performance connectivity tools that can help enterprises prepare for the future of business technology. Our industrial-grade Ethernet converters and reliable console servers enable IT administrators to focus on what really matters - building a strong framework for IoT integration. Read some of our customer stories to find out how we've helped other companies take full advantage of connected technologies.