Connected devices are disrupting the way industries operate, driving new innovations and opportunities to dramatically change the customer experience. The rise of connected devices together with technology has rapidly channeled the Internet of Things (IoT ) capabilities across industries.

The Gartner forecast states that there will be 25 billion connected devices by 2020 and IoT will contribute to $263 billion in services spending. Imagine the magnitude of ideas, solutions and inventions that can be expected! This advent of connected devices will have a major impact in the Retail industry and will redesign the customer experience.

Consider the traditional brick and motor retail outlets that are experiencing a steady decline in foot traffic. People can now comfortably shop from home using their mobile devices. IoT is propelling innovation in retail stores that will revolutionize in-store shopping experiences.

Enhanced In-Store Customer Experience

Almost every shopper has experienced ‘the awkward sales guy’ who quietly follows the shopper around trying to assist which is often more annoying than it is helpful. IoT offers a whole new experience. What if the sales clerk was equipped with enough information about the shopper to actually intelligently assist in a purchase or even make an upsell? Sounds incredible, right? It’s quite possible.

Assuming that the shopper has a loyalty smart card or retail app which sends an update to the store manager and/or the sales clerk as the shopper enters the store. Now the sales person has access to information about the shopper on his buying behavior and preferences from previous purchases which can effectively help in assisting the shopper.

One of the recent buzzwords in digital experience is ‘Persona Creation’, which is nothing more than cohesive information about an individual pooled from data available over the internet. Coupling persona creation with customer data, the sales person would have a world of information which enables him or her to make a mutually beneficial sale. For example, if the customer posts in Facebook that he has purchased a motorcycle, the sales person might take this as an opportunity to use this information and introduce the customer to the retailer’s array of leather jackets or boots. Thereby adding personal attention to a customer’s shopping experience.

Retailers may also consider placing touchscreens around the store that help a customer browse through the product catalog and then locate them in the store including information on what sizes are available, discounts and specific offers for recurring customers. It will also help the retailer in taking stock and managing the supply chain.

Another way to enhance the customer experience would be to create a feature in the retailer’s mobile app which enables a customer to scan a product and search for reviews and feedback. Since today’s shopper is heavily affected by peer reviews, this will only add to the positive experience.

The possibilities and innovations are endless. IoT is here and it is happening. The time is right for retailers to leverage these incredible innovations to drive revenue growth and cost reduction. It is a choice a retailers have to make – to be a disruptor or be disrupted!