Internet of things (IoT) for Retail

IoT can impact retail in many different ways. We mention here a summary of ways the internet of things can help the retail industry. These are just high level ideas that should get a conversation going:

  • Tags
    • RFID tags
      • Keep track of inventory and movement. Since RFID tags can be scanned wirelessly you can track inventory in transit, as it enters the warehouse, its location in the warehouse, and track pretty much the whole journey through to retail shelves and checkout counters (checkouts can happen in the trolley). Major impediment remains the cost of the RFID chip. Proliferation of these tags can also help reduce theft.
  • Cash Registers
    • Mobile payments are already hitting the mainstream and are set to continue to grow.
  • Vending Machines
    • Smart vending machines can recognize the customer and remember their buying behavior, payment details etc.
  • Digital Signage
    • The customers movement near or within the store can be tracked more closely. There are many ideas out there on how this can be done. They include tracking the bluetooth or Wifi on customer mobiles to having them check into a store app when they enter the store. Users can be guided to offers relevant to their interests (buying history), discounts on offer, or even the weather.
  • Cameras and movement tracking
    • Customer movement and interaction with products can produce a wealth of information on product placement and offers. We recently encountered an implementation where a firm had used Microsoft’s Kinect device to track how customers interacted with 5 laptops demos set on a desk. CCTV camera footage can be monitored for theft and unusual behavior as well.
  • Smart Lighting