IoT in Retail: How Personalization is Shaping the Retail Value Chain

Man and Women Tracking Products

April 16, 2018

Personalization is shaping the retail customer experience in ways not many of us can successfully ignore. Its value has proven itself in increased revenue, consumer engagement, and increased brand loyalty. Savvy retailers are leveraging the data gained by their personalization efforts towards improving the experience even further, and IoT is supporting their strategy.

In the consumer world, personalization is the new normal. From wearables to our shopping habits, the data that we produce helps to shape our behavior, giving us insights into our activities and serving up suggestions, whether it might be to purchase a product that has some relevance to us or to perform an action based on our personal activity data – data being the keyword here.

It’s all about the data

IoT delivers data. Personalization presents a use case for that data. You might say that these two things are made for each other.

It’s about connectivity. It’s about alignment. It’s about integrating with things that are happening in real-time and creating value from that connection. It’s about taking the data collected by IoT devices and turning it into an experience with the intent of closing the gap between the algorithm and a human sales associate – a problem that has always been at the root of machine-generated algorithms.

Personalization is about giving the customer what they want

As personalization evolves, it is making its way into the retail value chain in many exciting ways. Virtual dressing rooms, smart mirrors, and beacons that sense the proximity of a loyalty customer all contribute to that experience. These strategies (and others like them) have the potential to deliver the kind of personalization that gets to the heart of what the customer really wants – even when they don’t know what that is.

For instance, a store can use facial recognition to enhance personalization. Using a technology called Facenote, a customer opts in by texting a selfie to the store or uploading it to a social account using a specified hashtag. The store then has access to their name and will be able to identify them when they pass by the store or access a mirror within the store. Their buying history will then be accessible to sales staff, who can then suggest items they might like.

In the case of a cosmetics store that has installed smart mirrors, the mirror will recognize the customer and make recommendations – relevant recommendations – based on their past purchases, skin type, hair color, and so on.

IoT personalization: beyond the customer experience

But the value of IoT personalization extends well beyond the customer experience. Data delivered by IoT devices can monitor inventory levels, alert staff when a customer needs help, and report on individual employee performance.

IoT can be personalized at a back-office level to support core training, skills enhancement, safety compliance, and more, reducing risk and providing an efficient way to streamline the customer experienceacross multiple locations. This provides a lot of actionable data that can then be leveraged behind the scenes to improve the customer-facing experience from end-to-end.

Ultimately, we have not yet seen the full extent of what IoT is capable of. With personalization resonating from the factory to the sales floor and finally, into the lives of the consumer, we will continue to be amazed by the value it can provide.

If you would like to learn more about how IoT can transform your personalization strategy, schedule a call today.

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