Why IoT is the future of the retail industry

How millennials and the innovation of IoT is changing the retail industry

It is no secret that millennials have taken reign as the current largest generation and have thus become the driving force of consumer demands, both online and offline. And with a need for an omnichannel experience, many retailers are burdened with frictional challenges that are hard to fulfill. From the supply chain and order fulfillment to the in-store experience, it’s becoming exponentially challenging to meet the expectations of consumers who have blurred the lines between the physical retail and digital space. While innovative organizations have been leveraging technology like mobile and smart devices to improve the customer experience, many fall short. They are still searching for an efficient way to capture consumer data and measure ROI accurately.

However, the rapid advancement of the Internet of Things (IoT) will soon change the future of retail. Falling costs of the physical technology, the progress of the cloud, and new SaaS solutions will make it easier and more efficient for retailers to deploy smart devices of all types throughout their stores. These tools deliver real-time, cross-platform dashboard visibility of data, helping to close the gaps in omnichannel retail, improve the customer experience, and create the store of the future.

Key challenging areas for retailers

Millennials

As the largest generation, millennials already have a spending power of $1.4 trillion and represent 30 percent of all retail sales in 2020. And unlike their predecessors, they’re also a problematic segment that demands a personalized experience with modern shopping patterns, high expectations, and very little patience. Many retailers are still struggling to implement the technology-driven, seamless, and customized expertise that millennials demand, and those who fail to adapt will be left behind.

A demand for omnichannel fulfillment

In a world where consumers continuously want to buy, pick up and return items from anywhere rapidly and efficiently, retailers can’t keep up. More than 70 percent of retail and consumer goods CEOs believe that omnichannel fulfillment was a top priority and reported they were under threat from other online and big-box retailers offering same-day delivery. Many were also worried about failing to meet customer expectations across all channels and managing costs of fulfillment.

Retailers are challenged with integrating their supply chains with high speed, visibility, and efficiency from the warehouse to the customer, and everything in between. It primarily impacts fashion retailers who must quickly turn over seasonal inventory, introduce new fashions with no history of sales and carry an ever-growing mix of designs, colors, and sizes. Fashion retailers that lack visibility and ability to put products in the hands of customers quickly won’t survive.

Increasing labor wages

As retailers develop omnichannel strategies that balance the needs of physical and digital channels, they’re also facing rising labor costs and a demand for more excellent customer service. Simply cutting hours or workforce can have adverse effects by reducing the customer experience. With no clear, designated solution, many are experimenting with automation, simplifying processes, and improving work design.

Technology like tablets, sensors, and digital signage can supplement and better enable human associates to serve customers more effectively. Self-serve kiosks, mobile payments, and apps can also allow customers to do more themselves, reducing the workload on staff.

IoT Edge Devices are the building blocks of the stores of the future

Shortly, IoT devices will reshape themselves to be a wholesale solution to the retail industry. Under the tutelage of industry pioneers, these IoT devices will work in tandem throughout the entire retail system – transmitting, receiving, and processing data to ensure everyday decisions are automated and provide information for humans to make other critical decisions. This in-store experience of the future will optimize both customer and operational benefits.

In this store of the future, when a customer walks through your retail store door with an enable app, it will immediately trigger beacons near an entrance. The smart system will then automatically read the customer’s shopping history. It will then start pushing notifications with information and other essential details like promos and discounts about products that might appeal to them.


Internet-enabled digital signage will also drive content to stores in real-time, all customized to the preferences at each store. The IoT ecosystem will give the customer an almost real-time experience of simultaneously shopping in both the physical and digital worlds. In tomorrow’s retail world, customers will use smartphones or wearables to quickly scan items for price checks, pull up information or reviews, or post social media commentary. Smart shelves in the store will detect when inventory is low, and even place new orders with vendors.

That’s right. As mentioned earlier, in the future, IoT devices will all work in sync throughout the entire retail system.

Smart shopping carts will help customers navigate aisles based on their shopping history, and smart price tags can enable retailers to quickly and easily change prices to respond to demand. Robots with touch screens may even move throughout the space to approach and assist customers, while other “smart robots” could work autonomously to replenish stock and assemble products. All the while, smart devices in manufacturing facilities, distribution centers, and stock rooms will collaborate to offer real-time insight into customer demand.

Areas for IoT Application

Data analytics and measurement

IoT will collect infinite amounts of data, offering retailers endless ways to better serve their customers. Smart devices will soon automate customer identification and avoid the need for phone numbers, cards, and manual entry at the point-of-sale. These devices will also make such customer data more detailed, accurate, and actionable. It will be processed and used throughout the entire retail ecosystem to create an environment where the retailer can predict interest, options, price sensitivity, and fulfillment preferences as soon as a customer walks in the door.

How customers interact with the retail stores

IoT will expedite and enhance customer interactions in the future. The customer will use kiosks, digital signage, and their app to interact with the retailer. Heat maps will also help measure how customers move about the store, how they respond to the placement, and how long they spend browsing at products. IoT devices will allow companies to understand their customers’ needs like never before, better anticipate preferences, and adjust designs and inventories to meet those demands.

At the same time, retailers will also have to address privacy and security as IoT collects vast amounts of data from consumers. Retailers will need to conduct security risk assessments, minimize the data they collect and obtain and test security measures before launching products.

Retail store entrance

In the future, most of the components that impact the shopper experience will be handled in the digital world. Digital efforts will support even touchpoints in the store. When the customer arrives at the store, with the app downloaded on their phone, it will trigger digital signage with personalized content based on purchase history. A store associate can also be notified of a wearable about the customer’s arrival and potential interest.

Use of mobile payments

Check-out friction and shopping cart abandonment have cost the retail industry billions of dollars. Retailers will soon adopt seamless payment systems that allow instant payments from anywhere in the store via a mobile device, kiosks, and associate-assisted tablets. Mobility and self-service by the customer will radically change the check-out process in the future, reducing lines and speeding up transactions. The use of mobile wallets has already risen dramatically with the adoption of NFC readers, with payments forecasted to reach $410 billion by the end of this year.

A new way of merchandising

IoT will reduce fiction in merchandising by anticipating customer wants and making it more targeted and effective. Proximity sensing lightbulbs, beacons, sensors, and geofencing will enable stores to engage in highly personalized merchandising similar to an optimized online experience. When combined with robust data about the customer, retailers will be able to broadcast personalized offers to customers in the store. Data from heat mapping will also open new ways for apparel retailers to optimize their store layout to find the most effective arrangement of products.

Conclusion

After years of promise, IoT has truly arrived, and it is here to stay. If you are a retailer and you are looking for a long-haul, then, please, we urge you to digitize your retail space with the help of IoT edge devices as soon as possible. That’s right. You have to make the jump real more quickly if you don’t want to be left behind.

Why Relationship Marketing is important for Retailers

What is Relationship Marketing

The standard definition of relationship marketing is that it is a strategy to foster customer loyalty, interaction, and long-term engagement. It is designed to develop strong connections with customers by providing them with information directly suited to their needs and interests and by promoting open communication.

And we have a problem with that. We believe that all definitions of relationship marketing omit a crucial word. The word we want to be included is ‘emotion.’

Relationship marketing is all about the big picture. It is not a short-term technique that you can use to deal with a temporary slump in your business or single sales or customer acquisition. It is a long-term process of building a loyal relationship with your customers to retain them. And for that to happen, you need to create an emotional connection with your customers. Your brand’s name should evoke a positive feeling in your customers.

Why Relationship Marketing is essential to Retail Industry

And no industry in the current scenario needs relationship marketing as desperately as the retail industry. Think about it. The status quo of the retail sector as the reigning champion of fulfilling consumer needs has irreversibly changed with the rise of e-commerce. As a result, most retailers have moved from exclusive retail to opting for an omnichannel retail approach, thus bringing e-commerce into the traditional fold of brick and mortar retail shopping. E-Commerce is inevitable.

So, where does that leave the traditional brick and mortar retailers? How are they to survive and thrive in this industry anymore?

This is where relationship marketing, with the help of retail analytics, comes in.

As mentioned earlier, relationship marketing is about creating an emotional connection with your customers, and traditional brick and mortar is an intimate way of interacting with your customers. The unique and time-tested ‘touch-and-feel’ experience offered by brick and mortar retail shopping can never be replicated by clicking your mouse button.

Retention vs Acquistion

Relationship marketing differs from your short-term goals, such as single sales or customer-acquisition costs.

Of course, individual sales and customer acquisition are both vital to growing and sustaining your business. But you need to focus on customer retention with just as much energy and drive.

For retail companies, customer retention was identified as the highest driving factor for revenue according to a KPMG survey.

Customer acquisition was a close second. And there is a massive difference between these two driving revenue factors, the primary difference being the cost. That’s right. It’s easier to sell to your existing customers who are already walking through your doors and visiting your website than someone who might not know what you do. It’s also much less expensive to sell to your current customer base.

Let’s look at the difference between retention cost and acquisition costs.

Your existing customers are already comfortable with your company and your products or services. Sure, you need to spend the money initially to acquire them – but then it’s inexpensive to keep these customers coming back for more. So the critical question is, how do you keep them?

Relationship marketing. Ultimately, relationship marketing can help lower your customer acquisition cost. If your existing customers love you, they will promote your business through word of mouth. It turns into free advertising for you. All of this insight stems back to relationship marketing. I’ll show you how to use relationship marketing to connect with your current customers effectively.

Retail Analytics is the key

Traditionally, retailers have used loyalty programs to retain customers and drive repeat business, and in the past, they were useful. However, recent data shows that this is not the case anymore. According to a Nielsen study, although 89% of UK customers own a loyalty card, only 51% would choose to shop with the retailer. Why is that?

Because these loyalty programs are simply not tailored to fit customer needs and preferences, they are generic.

But thanks to technology, retailers now have access to a wide range of data about customers – from their purchase history to the buyer journey to social media engagement. And the number of available data sources is only growing with every passing day.

By applying the right customer loyalty analytics, brands can better understand customer behavior, improve customer satisfaction, and drive more profits. In a nutshell, you can use retail data analytics to improve your relationship marketing strategy.

Find out what customers truly want

Instead, analyze customer buying patterns, preferences, needs, and opinions – whether it is using in-store data, social conversations, or online purchase history. This will tell you what kind of rewards will surprise and delight your customers. Based on which, with the assistance of sonic sensors and Bluetooth beacons, you can send personalized messages using outbound solutions.

Look into your sales data to find out the most popular product categories and brands in your catalog. It will also help you discover seasonal sales trends – which products sell more during school holidays, which ones peak during the festive season.

Monitor keywords in social conversations and other text-based data sources such as emails, in-store reviews, and surveys to find out what customers are saying about your brand and products as well as what they are thinking.

Are they facing any issues? Fix them before it becomes a big problem. Which areas do they love? Expand them with more offers and promotions.

Use these insights to build a reward catalog that compels customers to earn more points.

Sometimes, it may not be about what you give but how you present it. For example, you may also find that customers are happy with your rewards and offers, but they’d like to see a personal touch, something that shows that your brand understands who they are and what’s important to them. In such cases, conduct user surveys (via email, on-site, or at the POS) to find out if your customers are happy with the loyalty rewards and how you can improve them.

More information = More power

To compete with online stores, retailers need as much information about their customers as they can get. We’re not just talking about likes and dislikes. They want details on what displays are working, what products are flying off the shelves, and what could be causing store losses. And they want to understand and undercut the phenomenon of showrooming — when someone comes into the store to see something they want to purchase elsewhere, usually online.

This is where in-store retail analytics comes into play. It can help retailers see things from the perspective of their customers.

Shopper vs. Consumer

In a store setting, people are either consumers or shoppers. Who went without purchasing anything, and why? What did they do in the store, from the entrance to exit? The old techniques of door counting and sale conversion can’t answer these questions, much less give insight into buyer motivation.

In-store analytics can show retailers how customers behave, leading to an improved shopping experience and an optimized store layout. This can nudge people from being shoppers to consumers, and may even encourage them to spend more.

The Shopping Cart problem

Retailers know what customers purchase from their store. But they also need to understand what customers didn’t buy and why. This technology can give detailed insights into the effectiveness of store displays, employee actions, and other factors that can be used to sway purchasing decisions.

Conclusion

When you think about it, giving relationship marketing a personal touch is not new. Long have the marketers and advertisers the world over, have insisted on the word ‘emotion.’ For just as in any relationship in life, touching on human emotions, preferably the positive emotions, is the key to any happy, healthy, and long-term relationship, so why should it be any different from a person buying a t-shirt from you?

Here’s How You Support Your Customers and Protect Your Employees Amidst the Coronavirus Outbreak

On March 11, 2020, the World Health Organization (WHO) characterized the spread of Coronavirus (COVID-19) as a pandemic. 4 days later, on March 15, Nike released a notice saying that their retail shops will be closed until the end of the month. Soon, other big brands like Primark, Glossier, Urban Outfitters have followed suit and have shut down their shops indefinitely to avoid any further outbreak of the virus.

To fight the Coronavirus, the governments of the countries around the world began by locking down all the major cities, and have now locked down whole countries. That’s right! Coronavirus has brought the world to a standstill. People cannot get out of their homes anymore unless they have an emergency, companies have asked their employees to work from home, and daily wage workers have been requested to stop working till the pandemic is sorted out.

Coronavirus and The Retail Industry

No other type of occupation has been hit hard more than the retail industry as their very nature of business depends on people getting out of their houses and come in groups to their shops. So, when a brick and mortar company like Primark has to temporarily close their shops, it will have a huge impact not only on their revenue but also on their relationship with their customers and employees.  So, without trying to scare you, we humbly request you to rethink and redesign how you can still run your business operations without alienating your customers and your employees.

As mentioned earlier, people are staying home and avoiding places. So, one of the obvious ways for omnichannel retailers to be connected with their customers and their employees is through eCommerce.  As per the survey conducted by Econsultancy and Marketing Week, among 2200 marketers a week ago, almost 71% of the UK have predicted eCommerce usage among consumers will increase as a result of coronavirus. Though this might seem relatively positive, the retailers still need to be wary of investing in e-commerce because the success rate of doing so depends on the nature of the sector. Here, you can see how eCommerce consultant Dan Barker highlights the difference in impact across different retail categories.

Without surprise, Food and grocery sector looks like the one set to benefit the most. People are buying food and groceries online more now more than they usually would. Even though Italy was the major country ordering food and groceries at the time this survey was taken, it is widely expected that other countries will soon follow suit. So now is the high time, people will look up to you to help them tackle the issue in hand. They need help and you as a retailer can take this opportunity to thank them for their years of loyalty.

How retailers around the world are tackling the issue

There is a huge demand for eCommerce retailers, but in the eyes of the industry leaders, these benefits are only short-term, owing to stock and supply chain issues that are soon to arise. So, it is very important that if you are going online, then you have to do it immediately. But at the same time, please ensure that you do not promote panic buying and cause any sort of damage to your customers.

The demand for online retailers is so high that on Amazon, customers are ready to pay exorbitant amounts to buy health and sanitization products like disinfectant and face masks. As a result, third party retailers who sell these essentials have unfairly ramped up their prices leading to a ban from Amazon. This action was applauded by the customers as now is no time for sellers to take unfair advantage of their customers and Amazon standing with their customers only proves why they are at the top.

Let us give you another example of how you can do it without tainting your relationship you’re your customers and employees. JD.com, when questioned how they were able to tackle the issue as efficiently as they are doing now, replied that they learned from its experience of operating during the SARS outbreak. So, this time, when the breakout happened, they took steps early on to reduce the impact on employment from coronavirus, while also ensuring that it can keep up with customer demand. Some of the actions included partnering with restaurants to hire additional couriers, hiring employees from temporarily closed supermarkets, and creating new logistics-based jobs.

Another example is Morrisons, a prominent name in the UK retail industry. They announced that they are creating an extra 3,500 jobs to help deal with the newfound demand because of the coronavirus.

How to treat your customers and employees

Sensible communication is the need of the hour. It could either make you or break you. Moving forward, retailers need to be highly mindful of how they communicate with both their customers and their employees. If your customers sniff out or even have an iota of a doubt that you are overtly capitalizing on the coronavirus or sensationalizing the situation, then rest assured that you have successfully lost them forever.

We’ve already seen social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter cracking down on spreading fake news; Twitter is deleting any tweets that feed misinformation about the pandemic and Facebook issuing bans on advertisements that refer to coronavirus with a sense of urgency.

As retailers are careful in how they communicate, they also need to be both transparent and vocal about how they are planning to deal with the issues at hand. We have already seen emails being effectively utilized, with the majority of retailers sending out marketing emails to address how they are handling the situation. But you can also use social media and other digital customer support channels to be in touch with your customers.

And coming to delivery for eCommerce retailers, once again communication-related to delivery practice is of paramount importance for reassuring customers. One of the safeties measures your employees can adopt is ‘no contact’ deliveries, whereby delivery workers leave packages at the door.

And on your websites and social media, you can frequently reiterate the safety precautions your employees take while working.

Let us give you a wonderful example of how a big brand retailer has put its customers first. UK supermarket Iceland has just announced that it will open its stores one hour early so that older shoppers can get what they need.

Louis Vuitton owner, LVMH, is another example of doing great work in these challenging times. The brand has begun using its perfume production lines to make hand sanitizer, which it is sending out to hospitals in France. Elsewhere, retail stores that remain open are taking as many precautionary measures as possible, such as going cashless or staggering entry.

And as far as your employees are concerned, who have bravely come forward to assist you in this situation, you MUST follow every safety procedure to ensure that they are in no way affected at the workplace. For example, you can discontinue any assistance services that require contacts such as beauty trials and makeovers. You can also put on hold any product testers. Additionally, for your employees at the store, you can impart online training, which they can access on their mobile phones. Besides, you can transition to minimal or variable staffing until the situation improves.

Conclusion

Though we have listed out many options that retailers can put into action immediately, one must remember that this is all easier said than done. For the retailers who have shut down their shops, it will be a case of making use of stock. And of all the approaches to save their business, the most lucrative seems to be eCommerce. They can perhaps use clever PR to both create awareness and to increase traffic.

All of these issues are likely to be dealt with on a rolling basis, especially as the situation is continuously changing. And with you, the retailers, anxiously looking forward to the new rules for the industry, which may take even months to arrive here, please remember – your customers and your employees are looking up to you more than ever to help them, while at the same time expecting you to be responsible. So, no matter how you deal with the issues at hand, the priority right now is the thousands of lives and the millions in the near future that will be at stake. Therefore, you must take the utmost care to not further spread any panic surrounding the pandemic.

Why 2020 is the year of RFID in the retail industry.

The major decision-makers of our times, the millennials, are driven by something called instant gratification to make their decisions. Nothing scares them more than the fear of missing out (FOMO). They want things and they want it NOW; not tomorrow, not later, but now. And when it comes to retail shopping, if a millennial walks into a retail store wanting something, which is not available in stock, then you can rest assured that the retail shop has certainly have lost that customer. So if a new dress of a famous designer comes to the market that is selling like hotcakes, then the question is not if you have one of them in stock, whether if you know where precisely that dress, at any given time and at all times.

But how do you do that? How to achieve and maintain better inventory visibility? How to make sure you never run out-of-stock? How to enable omnichannel fulfillment? How to satisfy your customers and prevent losses? Okay. That’s a lot of how’s. But do we have an answer? Yes, we do and it is called RFID.

What is RFID and why retailers need it?

To put it simply, RFID is a wireless technology that uses tiny electronic devices with a digital chip and an antenna that connects millions of items to the internet. Therefore, employing RFID enables retailers and their customers to identify, locate, authenticate, and interact with one another in unprecedented yet easier methods.

Now that we’ve understood what RFID is, let’s delve deeper into why it is going to make a lot of noise in 2020 and why as retailers you need to make the jump now more than ever.

Benefits of RFID in the retail sector

As mentioned at the beginning of this article, a customer’s interest in your brand is solely dependent on you satisfying his needs. And this type of consumer attitude is only accentuated in a cutthroat competitive place like the retail sector. That’s right; nothing could destroy your business as much as the buyer frustration and make sure you have happy customers walking out of your shops, you need RFID.

It’s all about the inventory

The main benefit of RFID in the retail sector is in tracking and uploading changes in inventory, without the need for manual work like the good old days. The technology of RFID enables retailers to access data in real-time, which helps them to monitor their inventory in a single scan. So now that you have RFID tags, you can easily start tracking and identify missing items from your stock. This will help you to reduce or even eliminate the risk of inventory waste and shrivel. Tracking also means that RFID scanners can prevent any theft of your stocks, as well.

Besides inventory management, with real-time location data, retailers can also get notified if and when a product is on the move, and if any item is misplaced. This relentless supply of information can empower the store assistants and inventory managers to take quick actions in either replenishing the stock or replacing a wrong order with the right one, thus gaining a valuable customer and their trust in your brand.

RFID for everyone

Now all I have talked about in this article is how RFID can benefit retailers. But RFID is much more about just empowering retailers, it creates a wonderful working network between the three primary entities of the retail sectors – retailers, brand owners, and customers.

For consumers, RFID technology gives an assurance that if they visit an RFID powered retail outlet after seeing an advertisement of the store or if they have ordered items online to pick up in-store, then they can confidently walk in knowing that the products will be available in stock. And to make things better, retailers can even provide their customers with intricate information like the points of origin with any item they are interested in. This helps both the retailer and the customer to establish a sophisticated communication relationship. And in the case of brand owners, they can know real-time if their products sold to the retailer are actually on display or in the storeroom. Besides, RFID technology also verifies the authenticity of the products, therefore eliminating any counterfeit products.

RFID in 2020

RFID technology is not new. It was used during World War 2 and has had many applications in the defense field since then. But it is only in recent times, RFID started to exert a significant influence on the retail sector. And one of the major reasons is the increased efficiency of wireless technology, which paved the way for RAIN RFID. Without getting very technical, RAIN (RAdio frequency IdentificatioN) connects devices with RFID tags to the cloud, so that RFID based data can be stored, managed, and shared through the internet. And experts in the field have predicted that 2020 is going to be the year that RFID is going to (in the language of the Millenials) break-the-internet with the aid of RAIN RFID.

Also, the increased adoption of RAIN RFID tags and readers by the retailers who have jumped to omnichannel operations have indirectly saved the traditional brick and mortar retail industry. That’s right! With the omnichannel approach, every business is striving to offer a wholesome retail experience to its customers by connecting the online and the physical store shopping experience seamlessly. And visionary retailers have taken complete advantage of this because they know by allowing their consumers to shop how they want when they want, and where they want is the most probable way to succeed.

To add more value to my argument, I leave you with what Francisco Melo, VP/GM of Global RFID and for Avery Dennison and an industry leader has to say about RFID: “With the rise in omnichannel in recent years, the benefits of RFID are now extending to enhancing the consumer experience by meeting consumer demand for purchasing across multiple channels. As the growth in e-commerce and online pure-play overtakes many brick and mortar retailers, RFID becomes a fundamental technology, and that single view of inventory and optimization of that inventory across all channels not only allows you to increase the availability of inventory across all channels, which drives sales up but also to mix and match things that have not been sold in your network, thus reducing markdowns and improving your bottom line.”

Conclusion

Two of the major concerns of retailers about RFID technology used to be its efficiency and its unaffordable price. But that was 15 years back when RFID was a stillborn baby with no clear direction in the retail sector. But with the very many uses of RFID in various walks of life such as smart home industry, healthcare, and education, when we fast forward to 2020, RFID technology has not only become super affordable but it is also essential to run your everyday retail business with ease and efficiency.

Is retail industry really going through a slump?!

Contrary to the popular belief that the retail industry is going through a slump, the truth is that the current retail market is on an ascending path and has been like that for some time now.

At present, it is valued around 3.6 trillion and by 2022, it is expected to reach 6 trillion. To get a piece of their share, most of the investors and retailers have upped their game and even those who have been loyal to the brick and mortar tradition are making the jump to new-gen technological methods. So, for anyone who is wondering when the right time to get into retail market industry is, there is no better time than NOW.

But it seems a little difficult, right? Do not worry. We are here to make your induction to the retail industry as well as your transition (if you are already a part of the industry) from the traditional brick and mortar to digitized retailing as smooth as possible. We are B2B2C and we are going to use IoT to the best of its capabilities to save and your shops successfully in a changing world dominated by tech-savvy customers. Therefore, we call out, to all the retailers who are on the verge of shutting down their operations, we will help you save your shops and for retailers who are considering updating your business techniques to combat the ever-increasing demands of the millennials, we will help you run your shops in a way they will yield bigger profit margins.

Make retail awesome again

The first step in our mission to reinvent and revitalize the retail industry is to make retail awesome again. Remember the days when malls and retail shops were a major meeting point for people to not just buy products but also to socialize. But with the arrival of the internet and with it the e-commerce websites and social media, people are not looking at the retail industry as this ‘awesome’ marketplace anymore. And we can only blame ourselves. Because the primary reason is we are living among millennials, who are the key decision-makers of society right now. And we haven’t realized their potential yet. Therefore, the first step should be to listen to them and understand the. And what do millennials do? They use technology.

Technology and the internet is our magical answer to how to make retail awesome again. Come now and let us explore in the following sections how we can use technology to reinvent retail shopping experience for the millennials.

Challenges faced by retailers

With the labor industry increasing in size, their demands for more pay, hiring new people and retaining existing workforce have become a major challenge for the owners.

The retail industry has gone digital. Some have adapted to this change but most are in the process of changing.

The majority of retail consumers belong to the Y generation/ millennial now. They are tech-dependent people who expect everything to be a click away. Therefore, online shopping has become a logical decision. However, as a silver lining, they are not entirely contemptuous of the retail shopping experience as long as it provides an easier and a great touch and feels experience.

So if the retailers can adapt to the new technology, they will become less dependent on human efforts, which means they can get more done with fewer people.

Click and Mortar (Retail 2.0)

As mentioned above, the majority of consumers today are millennial who love the mall culture if done right. Despite the convenience online shopping provides them, they love the touch and feel of the retail shopping experience. So all you need to is listen to their requests and get them done ASAP. Because if you do that, you are going to make lots of money.

If the millennials want to see, touch, feel, and experience but expect them all to be wrapped up and accessed by a mere click, then as retailers, you should be ready to do that.

B2B2C solution for retail

Digitize the retail experience. Wherever the internet can be used, it will be used. And wherever the internet cannot be used, alternative options will be used to make everything easily accessible and provide a satisfying experience.

The shop will not just get a facelift; it will also be equipped to meet all the technological demands of millennial consumers.

The impact of IoT in the retail industry

  1. Use of Sensors
  2. Automated Checkout
  3. Increase customer loyalty
  4. Boost sales
  5. Offer a personalized experience
  6. Improve inventory management
  7. Optimizing supply chain management

RFID and NFC

If you want to digitize your retail store operations and can be instrumental to facilitate Omni channel retail, then look no further than Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) and Near Field Communication (NFC).

Why RFID?  It makes inventory management more efficient. Retailers such as Lululemon, Macy’s and Uniqlo have already partnered with RFID providers Avery Dennison, SML and Catalyst to make use of the technology.

NFC technology, on the other hand, enables retailers to engage with shoppers in-store, deliver personalized shopping experiences and understand the impact of marketing strategies. Brands and retailers such as Zola, MediaMarktSaturn and Mammut Sports have already adopted NFC.

RFID and NFC are going to play a key part in successfully implementing data-intense emerging technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning and blockchain in retail in the years to come.

Automated Checkout

Machines have been replacing humans in the service industry sector for a long time now and with the arrival of 4G and the impending 5G, it is only a matter of time, a single computer application can and will replace 10 of your staff members. But what does this mean for a retailer? COST-CUTTING. One of the most immediate ways to recognize the relationship between cost-cutting and retail workforce is automated checkout. The computer helps people checkout faster and easier.

But no matter what B2B2C does, it is not suggesting IoT as a complete alternative to people running these shops. It is not going to make them all jobless. In fact, it only makes their current work easier.

Cost-cutting by reducing manpower among many others is only a side effect (positive) of what B2B2C does.

Personalized discounts

Reward those who have been loyal to all your efforts to make their shopping experience awesome. Make them feel their association with you premium and exclusive. Help them sign up for a loyalty program and promise – deliver them rewards. Use IoT for this. Put up sensors and let it detect and alert the customer when they enter your shop.

Smart Shelves

Smart shelves reduce the burden of your employees. Usually, an employee working at a retail shop spends most of his/her time on keeping track of stocks and arranging them properly. Smart shelves use IoT via RFID tags and weight sensors can help employees to figure out the stats of the stocks at any given time. Besides, smart shelves also use LED lighting to make them stand out from your normal shelves, which will improve the aesthetics of your shop. An added benefit is if someone tries to steal something, the shelves will catch them – red-handed.

Beacons

Place beacons to attract in-house and passerby customers; an effective method to advertise promos or in-store events.

In-store layout optimization

Infrared heat sensors. Switch it on and find out where your customers spend most of their time. If they spend most of their time in the TV section, but the TV section is in the back of the store, then bring it front. These sensors will help you identify your customer’s shopping patterns geographically.

Optimizing supply chain management

Using RFID and GPS sensors, more information such as reading the temperature of the items can be obtained. This helps you make key decisions about how you can transport your goods and products. This is a very helpful feature for manufacturers to improve the quality of transportation as major losses usually happen by wastage and spoiled goods.

Conclusion

There are 5 aspects to a retail shopping experience – Enter, explore, choose, pay, and exit. B2B2C is on a karmic mission to completely change how people experience to enter, choose, pay, and exit (In terms of exploring, the good old human employees are needed) We want to reinvent the retail shopping experience for the millennials. And we want you to be a part of it.