The Internet of Things in retail remains a major factor in the success of any business, according to an extensive study conducted by MarketsandMarkets, which reports that the global Internet of Things in the retail market is expected to grow at a compound annual growth rate of 19.6 percent to reach $35.5 billion by 2025.
The IoT is transforming the retail industry and is already being used for supply chain optimization, order fulfillment, warehouse management, and delivery vehicle monitoring and security. There are many benefits to using IoT in retail, but here I will list some of the competitive advantages that retail stores gain by applying IoT.
Staying competitive with IoT in retail
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One of the main concerns of retail companies is how to increase profits and efficiency. A large number of industry experts have yet to realize the potential of IoT in retail and distribution operations. Let’s look at the wide range of applications for IoT in order fulfillment.
IoT Offers Intelligent Order Fulfillment
Using IoT for order fulfillment and warehouse management offers many advantages, which is probably why large retail giants such as Amazon, DHL and Alibaba are using IoT heavily to manage their inventory and warehouses. The IoT can discover and track inventory items in real time. Once an item is found in the warehouse, it can be transported to the delivery station, thereby increasing productivity. The IoT in the warehouse also increases safety against physical harm, as most product acquisition and shipping is done through technology that your employees will feel safe with.
As the trend continues, IoT in retail can help you compete with today’s big brands by reducing unnecessary expenses for warehouse management. Now, you can experience real-time visibility through rack and shelf management. You can easily put away and retrieve products for quick order fulfillment. Use sensors in your warehouse to easily sense the location of any product, regardless of its category or size.
For example, an ultrasonic sensor can be placed to measure the height and weight of a stacked pallet. If a pallet falls below a defined size, the sensor will respond to it. As a result, more boxes in the warehouse are easily managed without the need for additional personnel to consistently check the boxes.
Among the many advantages, IoT for retail provides accurate information about inventory quantities. Data collected by RFID tags, sensors and connected devices will be further analyzed on computer systems to manage inventory items and improve quality and competitiveness. The senator also warned warehouse managers of any threats in the warehouse. For example, it will send an alert if the floor is wet, on fire or any other dangerous situation in the warehouse.
Kroger, a U.S. retail company, has installed 2,200 smart shelves in its supermarkets with RFID tags that detect items and send data to an IoT system. This data will be further analyzed to find information about shelves that are missing products. In addition, Kroger’s smart shelves can be integrated with a customer’s digital grocery list so that they light up when an item on the list is nearby. As a result, RFID-equipped smart shelves enable retailers to continuously improve customer service in real time.
IoT automates retail operations
Retailers are using the IoT to track and manage orders, warehouses and inventory items. Tracking these assets helps stores reduce the cost of manually handling assets. But most retailers lack automation in their warehouse infrastructure and supply chain networks.
To automate, retail companies need to invest heavily in automation technologies such as IoT, artificial intelligence, augmented reality/virtual reality, beacons, digital signage and more. Newly developed IoT sensors and beacons are enabling online retailers to benefit from automation, which allows them to engage customers and drive more sales.
Many international retail companies continue to take profits even after installing beacons in their stores. This helps them navigate their stores more easily and better understand how customers move through the store. Beacons send notifications to customers about finding specific products in the store based on past purchases. Also, personalized discounts and offers can be offered to customers as they move through the store.
Another good example of IoT-powered automation in retail is smart mirrors that can be placed in fitting rooms to read the RFID tags of each garment. Similarly, retail robots can reduce various tasks and help move specific items in inventory. In addition, they list items in the warehouse that are out of stock. By performing simple inventory tasks, the robots can free up store employees to perform other useful tasks.
In addition, with IoT-enabled sensors, you can get more accurate data on items that need to be stored at a specific temperature during shipping, thus avoiding major losses. The concept of digital signage solutions can also help online store owners provide a personalized shopping experience. Ultimately, the IoT in retail will help you automate your business and win loyal, long-term customers.
With so many benefits offered by the IoT in retail, there is still a need to streamline retail operations to ensure your business never becomes obsolete. With IoT-enabled systems, retail companies will have the opportunity to improve the quality of their work. One way to do this is through image recognition. After hours of work, inattentive employees in your warehouse are causing incorrect labeling on consignments.
With intelligent image recognition, companies have the opportunity to improve the quality of their work. For example, AI and IoT enabled image recognition devices will send alerts for any changes in labels, incorrect product placement, low stock conditions, incorrect labels, price tags, etc. Another significant advantage of image recognition in retail is the complete visual record of work performed, allowing detailed inspection of errors and capturing small errors in real time.
While the IoT in retail will change the way retail companies operate their supply chains, order fulfillment, inventory and logistics, retailers will also need to adopt next-generation IoT-enabled logistics to navigate crowded residential areas. To do so, companies will need to adopt self-driving vehicles, the drones that are expected to provide the greatest flexibility in retail operations. Dynamic navigation via IoT-enabled GPS sensors is useful for tracking vehicles in real time as well as for situations such as traffic congestion and blockages. Likewise, IoT devices can be used to measure different parts of a vehicle’s performance, thus enabling drivers to make repairs before breakage occurs.
There is no doubt that IoT in retail plays a pivotal role in providing end-to-end visibility into the supply chain, warehousing, inventory, order fulfillment and logistics. A persuasive IoT ecosystem has tremendous potential to transform the retail industry and ultimately solve business problems in real time. These benefits are expected to make the retailer’s journey a profitable investment and provide a competitive advantage in the marketplace.
Source: China IoT Retail Solutions Provider – Actility Technologies Company Limited (www.tractility.com)
Actility provides powerful security solutions for retail store management to prevent asset and property losses, improve transaction security, and provide intelligent analysis. We produce AM/EM/RFID systems, EAS tags, EAS soft tags, EAS safer, lanyards, detachers and all kinds EAS accessories products. Infrared people counter and camera people counter is available. If you want to have more information about the article or you want to share your opinion with us, contact us at [email protected]