Simple IoT Devices in Retail are changing Customer Experiences

The role of the Internet of Things (IoT) has increasingly dominated consumers’ daily lives and is gradually changing their behavioral pattern.  Simply explained, IoT means the embedding of computer equipment and various electrical appliances with internet infrastructure to boost their utility, thereby making our daily lives more convenient and comfortable. Given the constant growth rate of the IoT in the past year, particularly in retail market where business operators must keep abreast of the development and understand its trend which could affect the consumer to ensure that they remain up to date in the age where competition relies on the”additional value” of goods on the part of end users the way things stand today.

How, then, has the IoT changed the retail market? As it happens, all consumers demand convenience through easy availability of products as well as the products’ ability to respond or react to their personalized needswhich, in turn, will compel retail stores to increasingly apply the IoT to their business.  The IoT generates efficiency as it enables devices, equipment and appliances to instantly collect current data and make use of such data in various aspects, for instance, the retail point of sale (POS) system, among others, which causes an easy and positive experience on the part of customers. Thus, a shop making use of the IoT will be able to come up with smart message that directly addresses its customers’ needs while personalized goods and services can greatly attract buyers’ interest.  Moreover, the IoT enhances shops’ analysis as to which goods or services generate or do not generate sales and which have remained too long in the warehouse etc. Such data can lead to further decision-making as well as actions.

Large grocery retailers such as Walmart have efficiently applied the IoT to their business by making use of in-depth data concerning the consumer’s behavior towards products on store shelves.  Given such data, the stores can delve deeply into social media trends as they decide which products currently in public demand will be put on the shelves or stocked up.  Likewise, the world-class Disney World Theme Parks have used RFID wristbands in lieu of visitors’ admission cards, when they check in at its resorts as well as buy products.  The wristbands also enable the parks to conduct an in-depth follow-up on the visitors’ behavior while there.

The IoT has also been widely applied to the logistics industry as mentioned in our previous article entitled “Grab Taxi & Uber Taxi : An Integration of IT and Logistics” (ref: last October. Most recently, Uber’s shrewd move includes the additional improvisation known as “Trip Experience”, a series of extra services designed to entertain its customers during the trip including, for instance, playing the most popular songs, reviews of the hottest restaurants, breaking news within five minutes and reminding customers to switch on the heater in advance even as they are still en route to their homes. Uber allows various businesses to update their customers on the latest news via Uber application as a means to attract and retain customers while being different to enhance competitiveness against rivals such as Lyft. Besides, it plans to integrate efforts with such third party businesses as United Airlines, Btubhub and even Facebook Messenger to ensure utmost convenience on the part of its customers reflecting its simple concept of ‘helping make life simpler and easier for people to get around’.

In the future, we might see a rapid and radical growth of the IoT along with enhanced business potential for operators in each industrial sector, provided they make a serious effort to study, analyze and understand the behavior of consumers and/or the target groups of customers while keeping abreast of the online social trends and social media so as to adjust or modify their strategies based on the IoT as a key tool to achieve business difference and value addition to benefit end users on a sustainable basis.

Compiled by BLOG.SCGLogistics
Reference and picture credits: (Neveen Joshi), bloomberg,com,

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