The Internet of Things is a digital age technological marvel that is revolutionizing the customer-retailer relationship. The customer's inclination and dependency on the Internet have opened up new realms of business opportunities for the retail sector. With the primary objective being the enhancement of the customer's shopping experience, businesses can also simultaneously levitate their profit aspirations without breaking into much of a sweat.
The Top Management's take on IoT
According to Greg Swimer, Chief Technology Officer-Unilever, the IoT is a significant technological shift for both the customers and the brands. The constant thirst for brand knowledge and consumer engagement lies in their ability to explore, learn and innovate around IoT in retail, claims Greg.
'It is important that we stop talking about digital and physical retail as if they are two different things says Doug McMillon', CEO of Walmart (Discount Retail Chain). According to him, the customer does not think it that way and hence retailers should do the same. 'Omnichannel' should be the common goal across the retail industry claims Doug while addressing his shareholders at the annual meeting in Fayetteville. He says that a customer can shop with Walmart in various ways. For instance, over their phones, in the store, etc. But the fact is they think that they are shopping in Walmart and not at two separate locations.
Business Success Stories- 'Implementing IoT'
Carrefour (Kontakt.io beacons)
Carrefour, the multinational retailer recognized the power of IoT and rightfully implemented its fundamentals and as a result procured overwhelming benefits. They enforced the implementation of the beacons technology in the Romanian Stores. As many as 600 Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) beacons, provided by Onyz, were installed across 28 Carrefour stores all across Romania. The effective enhancement in this case was the prevalence of special shopping carts right at the entrance which were equipped with Samsung last generation tabs. This granted the customers access to their app and made the customer's interaction with the in-store beacons possible. It was more than handy for the customers whose smartphone were not compatible with the mobile app. This was one of the largest beacons deployment expedition of Carrefour which helped them achieve
Increased customer interaction
Enhanced customer shopping experience
Boosting Customer Engagement
This success was preceded by a similar experiment in a store in Tunisia where 50 beacons were installed for the achievement of similar objectives. In a matter of 7 months, they surprised themselves as
Carrefour's app engagement went up by a whopping 400% as a result of proximity optimization due to the inclusion of beacons
Over 50% conversion rates were achieved as a result of the deployment of about 50 Kontakt.io beacons in a store in Tunisia. These beacons optimized their app and the customer shopping experience due to the prevalence of features like welcoming a customer on arrival, providing product suggestions based on purchasing trends, etc.
Over 600% increase was recorded in terms of the total number of users.
Alex & Ani (iBeacons)
Apart from being the frontrunner in awesome jewelry, Alex & Ani have been experts in harnessing the power of IoT to enhance their sales. With the use of iBeacon (location sensing technology of Apple), they enhanced store footfalls in their various locations. Tracking customer purchase and customer location, they were able to optimize in-store product placements and also generate a higher revenue by making relevant product recommendations and thereby, better attending to the needs of the customer.
The iBeacon solution was provided by In-Store mobile marketing company, Swirl Networks. In 2013, the beacons were piloted in two store locations for a period of two months. This helped Alex & Ani to
Provide their customers with highly targeted information while they were in the retail stores
Create a more personalized shopping experience as a result of the Bluetooth Technology
Soon after the two-month pilot was completed, the beacons were effectively installed across al Alex & Ani stores across the United States.
Walmart (Big Data)
Walmart, the popular discount retail chain has empowered its business revenue with the help of the effective use of Big Data Analytics. Walmart collects around 2.5 petabytes of unstructured data from around 1 million customers every hour. They have potential customer data of around 145 million Americans. Walmart analyses close to 100 million keywords regularly for the effective optimization of the bidding of every keyword. The analysis of big data is done in order to enhance the shopper experience and also to understand when their customers go online and whether they use their phone on the move, etc. Increased Sales Revenue is also initiated as a result of data mining as it helps determine customer buying patterns. The patterns can be studied in order to provide relevant product recommendations.
The primary objective of leveraging big data at Walmart is the optimization of the shopping experience of their customers, especially while they are inside the store or browsing the website while on the move. Walmart is making a huge difference by increasing sales in the following ways.
Launching New Products: Walmart is properly leveraging social media data about the latest trending products on social media. Once the information is attained, they are taking steps to make those products available in all the Walmart stores across the world.
Improved Predictive Analytics: The amount or the excessive bulk of data that Walmart has access to about their customers, keeps them in a commanding position to better understand the requirement for the future and undertake the necessary course of action.
Customized Recommendations: The Big Data Algorithms procured by Walmart helps in accurately analysing credit card purchases. Based on the purchase history of the customers, specialized recommendations are provided that keeps the customers more informed and also enhances their overall shopping experience.