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How RFID and the IoT Can Boost Retail
Radio frequency identification and the Internet of Things can strengthen omnichannel retailing, making the physical space more integrated with the experience offered by digital channels.
Feb 24, 2019—
The expansion of e-commerce in recent years has made many people bet on the end of physical retailing. But that didn't happen. Traditional stores are an important link in the chain of business for companies in the retail sector, representing a significant portion of sales and, especially, relationships between brands and the public.
On the other hand, we must also admit that the rise of new technologies has forced physical stores to change their strategies and structures. With consumers more connected and willing to look for experiences that fully satisfy them, and with the retail market more crowded than ever, retailers need to renew their service and management environments to efficiently follow the demands of the new digital age.
Among the benefits generated from the use of sensors and systems connected to store structures, we can highlight the opportunity to monitor and analyze all of the events fundamental to a business's operation, anticipating any question that affects the results. For example, with a smart network, it is possible to propose high-quality predictive monitoring, with analysis capable of pointing out possible infrastructure and IT network failures, thus guaranteeing the maximum performance of the store in key moments of sales.
Another important gain brought on by the IoT is in relation to the intelligence required to manage internal assets, especially with regard to inventory control and logistics processes. The use of electronic tags with RFID chips allows for the digital tracking of products, potentially increasing the ability to analyze which items are being sold and which are being moved within stores.
In addition to operational advantages, IoT-connected systems tend to transform the interactive dynamics of establishments in ways that maximize the customer experience. Physical retailing will increasingly function as a showcase model, leveraging differentiated customer service to satisfy consumers. It is with this role that the market can become effectively able to serve customers who navigate the physical and digital environments on the same day of purchase. According to Delloite data, for example, 93 percent of customers claim to conduct virtual and real-time searches for their purchases.
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