Using the Internet of Things to Improve Retail Customer Experiences

Using the Internet of Things to Improve Retail Customer Experiences

Retailers can no longer engage in business as usual. HarborTech Mobility can help retailers adapt to the changing marketplace and embrace digital transformation to attract customers and survive competition from successful disruptors.

Digital transformation isn’t just figuring out how to reach and serve customers across multiple channels. It’s not just about providing online orders with in-store pickups and returns or using brick-and-mortar store inventory for direct store delivery. It also means understanding and leveraging the Internet of Things (IoT) to improve customer experiences.

The IoT uses the Internet and wireless infrastructure to connect an ever-growing number of smart objects in our world. These include everything from smart appliances in the home to products equipped with RFID tags to track their status, location, and movement. In retail, the IoT delivers a massive, continuous stream of real-time data to help retailers optimize their operations and create more personalized customer experiences.

Whole Foods Example

Whole Foods is now using tablet-based cash registers and cloud technology to display and collect customer data in real time, making deep customer buying histories instantly available. Insights from these histories empower Whole Foods stock the right products at the right time, to meet consumer demand and respond quickly to emerging trends in the marketplace.

In their back-end operations, many retailers are also using RFID tags and other identifying technologies to track and locate products as they move through the supply chain. This helps them streamline their supply chain and ensure they have the right selection of products available in the right locations, at the right times.

The real-time precision of RFID means they can instantly know and share the availability of inventory—from the receiving dock at a distribution center to the warehouse aisle, in the store backroom, or out on the retail sales floor. Additionally, the IoT enables increasingly sophisticated tracking of in-store shopping and consumer behavior.

SmartLens solution, developed by Zebra Technologies,

The SmartLens solution uses multiple sensing technologies to automatically sense and record the location and movement of virtually everything in a retail store, including merchandise, shoppers, and store associates. SmartLens turns this data into easy-to-read and actionable intelligence to help ensure inventory accuracy and eliminate out-of-stocks, understand shopping behavior and trends, help associates locate products quickly for in-store sales or pickups, and prevent shrink and theft.

SmartLens is revolutionizing inventory management with highly graphical dashboards that allow you to see the total count of items in any category or department, with predictive information to enable timely global replenishment across all stores or in a specific store. It also enables easier fulfillment of online orders with a same-day pickup, by instantly pushing order and picking notifications to the right sales associate. SmartLens tells associates when items need to be picked, where to find them, and the most efficient path to pick them to ensure seamless in-store pickups.

In addition, SmartLens prevents shrink of high-dollar items with video events and geofencing, which sends motion alerts when high-value items are moved through the store or when they’re headed for the exit without being purchased at your point of sale.

By using IoT technologies, you can get a real-time picture of everything from inventory to shopping patterns to sales associate traffic. The actionable analytics also help you improve and optimize practically any aspect of your retail operations and customer service. It’s just one of many ways that the IoT is empowering many retailers to embrace digital transformation for better customer experiences and greater competitive advantages.

To learn how you can do the same by leveraging these technologies, contact HarborTech Mobility for a free consultation.

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