Reinventing Retail with the Internet of Things, Data, and Massive Insights

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Retail as we know it is about to change. Retail Systems Research conducted a study, The Internet of Things in Retail: Great Expectations, and found that 80% of respondents agreed: the Internet of Things will drastically change the way companies do business in the next three years. Huge efficiencies are coming out way with connected devices sending us data, in real-time, about shoppers, stores, inventory, and much more. Meaningful, actionable information is right at our fingertips. The Internet of Things is enabling retailers to grow more nimble, paying off in the millions!

Hyper localized targeting

Say goodbye to traditional, canned, pre-determined messaging and clipping coupons. Smart screens and sensors are here to make retail marketers more successful. There are a lot of retail applications out there, from smart sensors on products, to security cameras that can act as in-store heat maps, producing thousands of data points about demographics. Retail IoT will allow store owners to identify shopping paths, number of shoppers, their gender, age, ethnicity, and even their mood! Piecing together those points can make retail marketers far more effective in their campaigns. For example, marketers can create workflows with digital signage associated with a finely-targeted audience and product. When that highly targeted demographic is spotted by sensors in the store, digital signage is then triggered to direct that person to a desired product. If the shopper misses the offer, the store owner can make small adjustments, such as product placement or more signage, for optimal store set up and sell-through.

IoT Improving Retail Customer Experience

Getting customers to buy is only half the battle. Retailers are challenged to make customers come back, and increase customer loyalty. One way IoT can facilitate this is by increasing customer engagement, and making the shopping experience easy and fast. Barnaby Page reported that Gartner executive partner, Carl Deal, had a lot to say about IoT and retail at a recent conference in Ohio. “We have to be able to generate a customer experience that will make our customers want to come back to us,” explained Deal. “No matter what the future holds it’s going to be based around these three components: It’s going to be data-intensive; it’s going to be security-intensive; it’s going to be network-intensive.”

Data will help deliver IoT to retail… but only if we can decode it

The biggest challenge for retailers to be able to take advantage of IoT will be decoding all of that data that’s being generated. As a retailer, building a custom analytics platform can be timely, complex, and expensive. To embrace IoT and obtain immediate results with zero-effort,  implement a platform that can handle upto 500M metrics/minute and 1 Trillion events/day. That’s the scale needed for retail. AppDynamics can offer pre-built widgets to quickly create and share analytics dashboards, so larger chain retailers can share insights quickly across regions. Oh, and don’t worry about trying to make sense of the terabytes and terabytes of data your stores generate… the AppDynamics platform does it for you, from reducing time from data collection to providing insights.

As customer interactions are continually dictating, and progressing, digital transformation, IoT at the retail-level will add another complexity/channel for businesses to interact with their potential customers. Customer experience is, and will continue to be the next battleground for businesses, notably in the retail sector. Maintaining optimal performance to suit these experiences is the at the utmost importance.

Elle (Elizabeth) Grossenbacher

Mrs. Grossenbacher has served as a speaker at notable conferences including the Internet of Things (IoT) Expo and Moderator of the Silicon Valley IoT Symposium. Additionally, she has contributed to the growth and development of several communities within the Internet of Things space, including IoT Silicon Valley meetup group, the Wireless Communications Alliance, and offers 7+ years of experience in the high tech world. She holds a B.A, in Psychology, a B.A. in Design, and an MBA from the University of California, Davis.