IoT Industry Transformation Series: How IoT Is Changing Retail

Posted by on Feb 23, 2016 8:00:00 AM Kody Betonte  
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Retail Point-of-SaleInternet of Things technology is swiftly changing the sales and marketing plans of businesses in every industry. In our transformation series, we’ve looked at how IoT has affected the restaurant business, healthcare, home automation, and fleet management. Companies small and large are taking advantage of everything IoT has to offer, transforming operations to present an entirely new paradigm for how business is conducted.

Perhaps no industry is more heavily affected by these adjustments to “business as usual” than the retail industry. IoT has simplified – and continues to simplify – the retail trade, building on already successful market-testing of previous IoT implementations.

The Power of the Modern POS: Unprecedented Speed

Traditionally, retailers have relied upon the charming ring of the cash register as a method of indicating in-store purchase. Now, new point-of-sale (POS) systems with cellular IoT connectivity can be found at the front of stores ranging from casual restaurants to high-end boutiques.

The most basic reason for this comes down to strong customer service; modern POS systems ring up customers faster than traditional registers. The clean touchscreen and quick swivel capabilities of most modern point-of-sale systems mean less touch time for cashiers and more active service while customers select options, cutting down on precious seconds of customer wait time. Mobile cellular-connected POS systems even allow reps to walk the floor and ring up sales on the spot, decreasing the amount of time spent tending to lines.

As a result, stores spend less on employee hours while boosting customer loyalty, inoculating against loss of customers based on potentially poor experiences and encouraging positive word-of-mouth about their brand.

Inventory Management: No Longer a Nightmare

Inventory management has typically required constant attention to detail, to the point that stock managers spent most of their days journeying up and down the aisles of the warehouse, clipboards in hand as they tracked thousands of SKUs. This method of inventory control can take a toll on any business, and according to Entrepreneur.com,  US retailers lose $224 billion due to excess inventory and $45 billion from not having inventory in stock, an issue resulting largely from poor inventory management. 

POS upgrades with cellular IoT connectivity are capable of saving retailers staggering amounts of lost revenue. Tracking inventory in real-time doesn’t eliminate the need to take a full account of all inventory on an annual basis, but it does prevent the constant need to hit a moving target and spend daily hours tracking products to ensure business runs smoothly.

Beacon Advertising: Beaming Up Discounts

Perhaps the most impactful addition IoT technology brings to the retail environment is the use of beacon advertising. These small wireless devices transmit low-level radio signals to nearby smartphones and tablets, allowing for on-the-spot, real-time discounts tailored to consumers based on their preferences, web browsing habits, and other data that offers insight into who they are and how they shop.

The result? Retailers can target shoppers with ads that specifically meet their needs by offering discounts on items they love, improving customer experience and return-on-investment in a single retail tactic.

The future of retail is coming, and wireless point-of-sale and cellular point-of-sale solutions are already a part of it. Businesses will be able to deliver better customer service, track their inventory, and advertise their wares more effectively thanks to IoT technology.  And consumers should benefit from a more streamlined, customized shopping experience.

Topics: POS, retail