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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.
By Sandra Maura
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.

In this scenario, radio frequency identification (RFID) and the Internet of Things (IoT) are the main transformation pillars available to shopkeepers. By enabling the integration and automation of an entire business, from pre-sale to post-sales workflow, RFID and IoT solutions enable better business planning, both for simplifying business management demands and for optimizing business directly linked to the servicing of consumers.

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.


Petr Passinger 2019-03-05 06:31:02 AM
Great read Sandra. While ago I tried to summarize how IoT can bring the online customer experiences into brick-and-mortar retail world and I think it might be an interesting read following this article. Here are the nine use cases: https://www.cmswire.com/digital-experience/what-happens-when-iot-big-data-and-retail-location-systems-meet/

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