Internet of Things (IoT) in Retail – Smart Shelves

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The possibilities related to retail have truly been endless – omni-channel, VR, AR, AI, and IoT being some of them. While these may seem like stiff challenges for retailers to implement, they need to recognize the opportunities hidden behind these challenges. These opportunities could impel retailers to explore newer and more efficient avenues to cater to their customers’ needs, to streamline business processes, and to improve bottom lines.

One such opportunity that knocks on the door of retailers is Internet of Things (IoT). It is no more a buzzword, it has gained prominent significance in the retail space. The Internet of things (IoT) is a network of connected devices embedded with electronics, software, sensors, actuators, and so on which enable these objects to collect and exchange data. This concept of IoT has many applications depending on the physical devices that are connected and one of the most remarkable applications of IoT in retail is Smart Shelves. As the name suggest, shelves that have been made capable of storing, processing and sharing data are known as smart shelves. They provide with various benefits to the retailers such as:

  1. Easy replenishment: As smart shelves are capable of monitoring data pertaining to the items placed on them, they send real time updates to the retailers so as to enable them to restock the shelves as and when required.
  2. Customer interest identification: The shelves can identify which products are more sought after and which are not by analyzing the data associated with product returns. This also helps retailers in identifying customers’ interests and better manage their inventory.
  3. Tracking misplaced items: There are various instances where items get misplaced, causing a dent to the retailers’ bottom line. Smart shelves can help retailers to curb the problem of misplaced items by alerting them through notifications and allowing them to look into the matter without causing any damage to the sales and the inventory.
  4. Pricing display: An interactive kiosk or LED panel attached to the shelves can really enhance the efficiency of the store as it will allow people to search for the desired product and associated price, promotions and other relevant information without any trouble.

In the modern age of digitalization and tech savvy customers, it is imperative for retailers to identify the points/strategies which can be implemented to improve the overall performance of the business. IoT along with various other techniques such as omni-channel retail and AI can help retailers achieve the desired growth in a short span of time.

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