Keeping up with the Internet of (Retail) Things

The Internet of Things is all around us – from the smart phone in your pocket to the FitBit on your wrist. And if you’ve ever visited a major city (like Barcelona), you’ve been surrounded by devices collecting information about traffic and energy-saving street lights. These additional sources of data are categorised under “the Internet of Things” (or IoT). The IoT is able to harness incredible amounts of data. But it’s cloud computing that processes it to illuminate a clear path for that data’s purpose.

For retailers, greater access to customer data and insights can lead to smarter integrated omni-channel programs that evolve with technology instead of behind it. The brand experience extends beyond traditional marketing to connect and respond to customers at every touchpoint – on social media, through their e-commerce site, and in store. The industry is anticipating that over 30 billion devices will be connected to the Internet of Things by 2020 (Statista 2018), effectively doubling the number of connected devices from 2015.

 

Seamlessly Connected Experiences

Today’s retail environment requires fluid experiences that roll together online, mobile and physical environments. IoT accounts for the shift in the technology that connects a storefront display to an app; a salesperson’s tablet to an e-commerce website; or a customer’s online wish list to a personal shopping experience. The seamless integration of technology and convenience may have started with selecting one-day shipping, but marketers must look beyond simple trends to craft retail experiences that are unique to the customer and to the brand.

While the technology and its concepts seem vast and complicated, the reality is that IoT is a tool that can be fit to enterprises of any size.

 

Automation 

UK-based Ocado is an automated packaging service that has grown to become the largest of its kind. Since launching in 2016, the company now orchestrates hundreds of robots that scan over massive warehouses to fulfill orders with speed and accuracy. The IoT aspect of this lies in the insights being gathered from the data from all of the orders, allowing the program to further refine the choreography that governs the way items are selected, positioned and restocked – giving the company the ability to further refine how they operate. This data allows operations to adjust accordingly for everything from clothing and home goods to fresh fruit and vegetables.

 

Constantly Learning

Autodesk Virtual Agent (or AVA) is a program that operates as a customer service assistant. It can be programmed to do everything from scheduling meetings to answering simple questions. As people grow frustrated with ChatBots, AVA uses artificial intelligence to assess tone in phrasing and even facial recognition software to assess the customer’s mood. The result is a more responsive interaction as the programs accumulate more data.

 

Managing Complexity

The Internet of Things and all the technology it represents is now regarded as a transformative tool for retailers looking to distinguish themselves from the pack. But with so many products and services available, it could be very difficult to know where to start – especially for small or mid-sized enterprises.

Finding the right partners to help navigate these infrastructural changes are critical – and Riley is made of a team of expert Cloud architects who can identify the right solutions for your business. If you’re interested in learning more about upcoming workshops for a retailer’s journey to the cloud, check out our Retail Workshop Page.