Visionaries in the retail industry predict that the Internet of Things (IoT) will dramatically change the in-store experience.
Gartner’s 2021 Retail Technology Hypecycle illustrates how IoT-based store monitoring helps retailers to understand the operating pulse of a store in real time. It is a complex undertaking, however.
Monitoring, analyzing and displaying store activity - with real-time dashboards, signals and alerts from IoT data sources within the store – takes multiple devices, to which more are constantly being added. Traffic counters, POS devices, hand-held scanners, refrigeration equipment and video cameras are all common. Shelf-sensors, electronic shelf edge labels, smart shopping trolleys and other innovations are all set to make a more common appearance over the next few years.
Few retailers yet to reap benefits
Yet there are few, if any, cases where retailers are managing to reap the benefits by connecting these sources to deliver the visibility needed to underpin transformation. Why?
An IoT-based store monitoring solution is not something you can easily buy as a turnkey solution, as Gartner pointed out. The wide variety of devices from different manufacturers, using different protocols makes things difficult.
Walmart’s VP of Technology, Sanjay Radhakrishnan recently commented that the company’s biggest IoT barrier was connecting so many different devices from differing vendors using different protocols and languages.
But what if there was a proven way to rapidly connect all these devices to establish the visibility across your store that could be valuable or even transformational? This would allow you to reap the benefits that Gartner highlighted from increasing sales through better stock availability to cost reduction by improved loss prevention.
There is a way
I have written before regarding Tesco’s process improvement across the organization, including in-store – augmenting its approach with IoT to enable automated and focused improvements. This requires rapid agnostic connectivity to devices - irrespective of vendor or heritage - but also the ability to easily connect these to your existing infrastructure. This is how you can convert real-time insights about your store into appropriate actions and response.
Software AG is so convinced of the value that can be delivered that we commissioned a study by Forrester Consulting that showed how customers have tripled their ROI.
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