Is IoT the future in retail

Retailers are experimenting with the Internet of Things (IoT) to offer new services and generally reshape the customer experience. And the clock is ticking and it would seem that as consumers embrace new technology, they aren’t impressed by retailers who don’t.

The explosion of connected devices coupled with improved, less-expensive technology platforms and adoption of common standards will only increase the rapid growth of IoT-enabled capabilities across industries. And the IoT will be particularly disruptive to the retail industry.

By leveraging IoT, retailers can improve the customer experience, the supply chain, and create new channels and revenue streams. While the IoT may seem like science fiction, it is becoming reality faster than most of us can comprehend.

Consumer adoption of IoT devices is expected to rise quickly: The “State of the Internet of Things” study from Accenture Interactive found that nearly two-thirds of consumers intend to purchase a connected home device by 2019, while ownership of wearable technology is expected to double year over year in 2016.

One example of how IoT is already providing a better experience for customers and better data for a brand is Disney.

The park has RFID-enabled MagicBand wristbands that provide theme park access, entry to hotel rooms, and cash and card-free payment for food and any merchandise. Disney can track this activity to build an accurate picture of how each guest uses their services.

Other areas that are being developed include contactless checkout by automatic scanning of the product as a customer walks out of the store, smart mirrors that allow customers to “try on” different clothing virtually, suggested products based on desired activity level tracked by wearable fitness device and smart packaging that monitors freshness or age of perishable goods.

Retailers that take the lead in this space stand to gain an important advantage in an already competitive environment. Overall, IoT looks set to begin a new, more data-driven age for retail. With connected devices, retailers can analyse shopper behaviour, as well as their own performance with greater accuracy and offer a more responsive and personalised service.