In Part I of our IoT and Retail Series, we explored the many ways IoT is helping retailers to meet the increased demand they experience during the holiday season. In Part II, we are taking a look at how the technology has improved the in-store experience for customers.
While shopping online continues to increase in popularity, the practice of physically visiting a store is still a significant part of the holiday shopping experience for many consumers. As we all know, however, consumers encounter any number of stressful aspects related to hitting the mall and other retail outlets. IoT has helped to alleviate these stresses and make the process as smooth as possible through a number of advancements:
Digital signage: Strategically placed signs powered by IoT within a store or shopping center can offer customers a variety of helpful messages regarding promotions or deals, general store information, or maps and directions. Additionally, intelligent interactive signage further enhances the customer experience by providing a convenient way to access pricing or inventory information without having to flag down a customer service associate.
In-store navigation: Go to a mall this time of year. Look around. Many have a perplexed look that is directly related to not knowing where they are going. Indoor navigational apps are helping shoppers find their way around – a solution that is equally helpful for larger retail stores that can be just as confusing to navigate.
POS devices: One of the most frustrating aspects of holiday shopping? Lines. IoT-powered point-of-sale devices are helping to reduce the time spent waiting to pay. Through the use of tablets or other mobile devices equipped with card readers, retail employees can check customers out where they stand.
Location sensors: IoT technology has advanced to the point of generating deals while a customer is in the store. Shelf sensors can determine what customers are looking at and push coupons to their mobile devices. We are also seeing location sensors used at checkout. Should lines get too long, notifications are sent to employees to open a new lane.
Kiosks: Self-service kiosks can further reduce the amount of time customers have to wait in the store. Should a customer need help, the push of a button will alert customer service representatives.
By leveraging IoT technologies, retail organizations can eliminate many of the challenges consumers face while shopping this time of year, resulting in happier customers, repeat business, and increased revenues.