Will the Internet of Things Become a Reality for Retailers?

Connection of different devices

October 25, 2017

That’s a good question. Here are two very insightful articles discussing the Internet of Things (IoT) in retail from different perspectives.

IoT has the power to enrich user engagement in retail, experts say

Certain new technologies, such as the Internet of Things (IoT), will go a long way towards leaving a mark on shoppers and helping retailers with their profit margins, experts at Criteo have said.

Speaking to Khaleej Times in an exclusive interview, Dirk Henke, MD of emerging markets at Criteo, noted that today’s users expect convenience and personalization in their interactions with retailers.

“IoT definitely has the potential to enrich user engagement in retail on a daily basis,” he said. “Consider the phenomena of fridges thinking for you and automatically ordering items you’re running out of, or Amazon dash buttons that enable you to order your favorite washing powder or toothpaste when you’re running out of it with one easy click. IoT is still in early stages, but the potential is huge.”

However, he also noted that IoT means a completely new data resource for retailers that will need to be processed to optimize the full customer experience. This poses a significant challenge for retailers today, and is one of the reasons why IoT is not fully in place yet.

When it comes to the offline experience versus the online experience, the line between the two is blurring, Henke says. “While shoppers appreciate the convenience of purchasing online, they still love the in-store experience. What is changing is the role and expectation of what happens in-store.”

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Making sense of the IoT opportunity

The ways in which the Internet of Things (IoT) will revolutionise business – and more specifically, supply chains – are myriad. IGD’s supply chain insight manager, Chris Irish, examines how creating connections, disrupting dogma and reinventing value hypothesises may impact the future of supply chain. 

You only need to glance at a handful of articles to recognise how many different views exist on how IoT will develop. These range from competing projections on the speed of IoT development; from how many devices and when, to scale – who stands to gain most. For example, projections around the number of connected devices vary wildly from 28 billion by 2021 to 100 billion by 2025, with countless estimates in between. Clearly, not all projections can be right.

The outcomes of IGD’s research reveals that the journey to these many billions of connected devices has been a long time in the making. Indeed, 37% of food and grocery companies are already trialing or have successfully deployed IoT products or services, with a further 58% planning to increase their use of technology providers to help them embrace IoT opportunities.

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