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IoT Scenarios for Retail

IoT Scenarios for Retail

We’ve seen how IoT promises to transform retail into a more personalised, efficient, and secure experience both for the shopper and the retailer.

In this step, let’s look at a few scenarios where IoT solutions are being developed for the retail experience. You can use these scenarios as inspiration for how you might apply IoT to enhance your business or industry.

Microsoft has outlined a few IoT for retail scenarios. Let’s review a couple to see how to apply this technology to this vertical.

As with all IoT solutions, much of the value of these products is in the data they collect. As we’ve mentioned for the other verticals, privacy and security are of utmost importance in these solutions but if those concerns are accounted for properly, the possibilities are endless.

Intelligent Signage

There’s a scene in Steven Speilberg’s blockbuster movie Minority Report where the main character John Anderton (played by Tom Cruise) walks into a Gap store and is greeted by a smart sign. The sign does a retinal scan of each person who walks in and uses the unique identity of the retina to personalise the shopping experience. Unbeknownst to him, Anderton had his eyes replaced with someone else’s so the sign believes he’s Mr Yokomoto!

The technology depicted in this scene is an advanced version of the kind of personalisation that IoT for retail can offer shoppers. Signs such as these can show shoppers sale items that might be of particular interest based on their past shopping patterns. Stores may even want to offer instant sale prices available to that particular shopper to entice him or her to buy more items.

The company XOGO is using IoT technology to create signage that can turn Windows 10 devices into a digital sign.

While these signs aren’t as intelligent as the signs in Minority Report, the idea is that retailers can create interactive, flexible signage using a simple IoT device and a Windows 10 computer and monitor. The interactive element is what makes this an IoT solution. Based on what users click on, spend time on and search for, the retailer gets insights into what customers want and can stock their shelves accordingly, upskill sales staff, and ensure the customer feels welcome.

As we’ve seen with other verticals, this is a relatively simple solution using a lot of off-the-shelf hardware. Getting into the IoT space doesn’t have to be a month-long project with huge capital investment. All it takes is an awareness of problems that need to be solved, a bit of creativity, and the intelligent use of cloud services.

Reimagining the Future of Retail

Sam’s Club is working hard on implementing innovations with their Sam’s Club Now location in Dallas. It will be a mobile-first shopping experience powered by the new Sam’s Club Now app. At its core, Sam’s Club Now will be a technology lab that doubles as a live retail club.

Shoppers will be able to try the following:

  • Smart shopping lists: These are created by intuitive technology that combines machine learning and purchase data to auto-fill a member’s shopping list.
  • Wayfinding and navigation: Using voice search capabilities combined with new wayfinding and navigation features, a map will pop up and take members to where they want to go.
  • Augmented reality: Items are brought to life in the club by sharing new ways to use them, and integrated stories highlight cool features such as how items are sourced.
  • One-hour club pick-up: Using the app, members can now place and pick up an order within the hour.

Retail is an industry progressing with great speed when it comes to IoT because it’s customer-centric. Other industries are also making strides. In the next step, we’ll look at agriculture and transportation.

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Microsoft Future Ready: Fundamentals of Internet of Things (IoT)

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