IoT in Retail: The Benefits to the Retail Employee

Employees Selling and Tracking Items

April 23, 2018

The internet of things (IoT) is one of the major initiatives that is revolutionizing retail. From the factory floor to store shelves, IoT technology like RFID sensors, beacons, digital kiosks and signage, video cameras, and smart shelves are providing retailers with new opportunities to improve the customer experience. Decisions are being made based on hard data rather than trial-and-error, and instead of caving in to doomsday predictions of years past, in-store shopping is on the rise and the future has never looked brighter.

But what does all this mean to the retail employee? If technology is so effective at improving retail strategies, where does this leave the front-line team?

While you might think that emerging IoT technology is encouraging a Darwinian cull of the weakest links, it is actually providing an opportunity for retail employees to step up their game. Leveraged as intended, it can make customer expectations easier to manage and, ultimately, will make it easier for them to do their job more effectively.

IoT technology in action on the retail floor

When in-store traffic began to decline, many retailers opted to reduce their floor staff in an effort to remain profitable. At their busiest times, this didn’t turn out to be a smart strategy as if stores were overcrowded, lines would mount, and service would suffer.

Without eyes in the back of their heads, employees were overwhelmed and unable to meet the demand for even the most basic customer service, such as sizing requests, inventory availability or fast check out options. In fact, these are the very ways in which IoT helps retail floor staff, improving the in-store customer experience by providing a direct and decisive line of communication between in-store staff and their clientele.

For instance:

Digital fitting rooms

Digital dressing rooms provide a way for customers to interact with available inventory and staff. If a customer is trying on an item and needs another size, they can call an associate with just one touch. Moreover, the associate can know what the customer needs before they speak to them, eliminating at least a couple of back-and-forth trips.

Smart shelves

Smart shelves can alert store associates as to stock levels and can initiate reorders or transfers from other stores, eliminating the frustration of a customer being unable to find their size or desired item. This also cuts down on administrative tasks the clerk would normally have to do, allowing them to focus more on their customers.

RFID beacons

In-store beacons enable a highly personalized shopping experience. Beacons recognize customers when they are in the vicinity, sending them offers that are relevant to their past buying behaviors. Once they enter the store, the associate receives a notification and will then be able to access their loyalty program activity, see what they searched for recently, what they have purchased in the past, and so on. This allows the associate the ability to meet or exceed expectations, enhancing the shopping experience and making the work more satisfying and effective from every standpoint.

These are just a few ways in which IoT makes the retail employee’s job easier. If you would like to learn more about how IoT can transform your retail operations, contact us today.

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