Internet of Things (IoT) is making its presence felt in an emphatic manner in the retail segment. Retail IT solutions are changing the marketing landscape with smart sensors, connected technologies, intuitive applications and an array of other futuristic methods that intend to cater to the exact needs of customers in a proactive manner. IoT in retail has miles to go and experience based retailing is the first milestone in this journey.
Experience-based retailing: Redefining shopping
Augmented Reality, Virtual Reality, Artificial Intelligence (AI), and data analytics are deployed in real time for monitoring customer behavior, preferences, average time spent on particular merchandise segments, spending pattern, interactions with chatbots, and other such critical information for building the retail database. Based on the information collated, the customer on his next visit to the store would find things he/she has been looking for being presented smoothly without having to spend time on querying and searching. This would take the customer satisfaction to the next level which would spell significant profits for a retailer.
Leveraging retailing potential
Retail IT solutions have been welcomed in an unprecedented manner by a majority of retailers. Global Shopper Survey conducted in 2015 indicated that 96% of retailers are willing to accept IoT enabled devices with open arms for fostering business interactions with prospects. This optimism arises from the fact that retailers have long been demanding innovative solutions which would offer them real-time and accurate insights into stock levels and consumers’ buying preferences. Proven and compelling new ways to engage with the customer would surface which would assure remarkable returns on investments consistently.
Channels for driving experience based retailing
IoT in retail must have ignited your hopes for a promising future. However, you may be wondering about ways to harness the technology in your favor. IoT can be implemented through numerous channels to build the bridge of trust with your consumers.
Physical stores which are increasingly becoming obsolete can be set up at particular locations for a limited period to fulfill the needs of consumers if IoT devices have indicated a surge in demand from those areas.
E-commerce sites can be integrated with sophisticated data analytics tools which would scrutinize each aspect of customer behavior and provide feedback. The level of customization can be taken to the lowest level of operation. IoT sensors would build a database of those items which gets ordered more than the others allowing the same to be automatically replenished through advanced order placing.
Another channel which would spell significant returns for retailers is social media. As a brand, you can engage with customers to build their awareness about your endeavors and consequently foster loyalty by collecting info about product/ service features that appeal to audiences the most. The same can be utilized for driving focused sales in the niche segment.
Retail IT solutions available for apps in smartphones and other handheld devices also would prove vital in redefining your customers’ experiences. More and more consumers are using mobiles to place orders in online stores. With home IoT of customers connected to their mobiles, your online store would automatically know when particular stocks start running out. Accordingly, it would accept orders and deliver the goods. Payment would be deducted through the trusted gateway authorized by customers. Such a revolutionary move would relieve the burden on customers related to shopping for items for hours. Further, as and when newer and cheaper alternatives would be available in the market, the same would be communicated to your clients by the app. This would also ensure that customers don’t shift brand loyalties frequently and your business sales are sustained.
Another channel where IoT driven sales can be fostered decisively is the public space which is frequented by people. You can have your brand’s kiosks placed in shopping centers, parking places, bus and train stoppages etc. NFC and QR barcode readers would allow customers to interact with your shops through them. Since the IoT would allow information to be exchanged between your shop and customer’s app, an order would be placed for delivery through barcode scanning.
Other incidental advantages
IoT enabled retail experience would allow you to shift from generic to highly personalized interactions with your prospects. Such engagements would allow you optimally understand customers’ needs. This would reduce churn rate and facilitate better customer retention at a fraction of the cost which you were expected to incur earlier for such an exercise.
Formulation of strategies can be better done for customer management through data pouring in from Omni-channels. It is expected that the volume of connected devices would rise significantly in coming years. With more smart devices operating at customers’ homes and wearables accompanying them round the clock, mapping of expectations through IoT would become a lot easier.
IoT in the retail segment would permanently change your retailing relationship with customers for good. With strategies fast evolving to tackle security threats, IoT is definitely your cup of tea for future.
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