July 12, 2019
The Internet of Things (IoT) has become part of everyday life. It’s inevitable really, as IoT has become widely used in many industries such as manufacturing, agriculture, law enforcement, hospitality, real estate, financial sectors, and retail.
While worldwide spending on IoT will reach $745 billion in 2019, European IoT spending is forecast to grow by 20% to reach $171 billion, according to IDC. Further growth forecasts state that IoT spending will reach the $1 trillion mark by 2022. The adoption of IoT will happen across all industries and is the largest technology category this year.
Many retailers have already started to implement or test new applications such as Automated Check Outs, Smart Shelves, Beacons and Robots. All these devices use smart technology to gather data and feed information back to a central operating system, such as an ERP system. The obvious benefits are to improve stock management, remove out of date products and increase automation.
Using IoT, retailers can set up a system to read tags on each item as the customer leaves the store. It removes the need for cashier operators and long queues as the system adds the items up and automatically deduct the cost from the customers’ payment app. Amazon Go is an example of a retailer currently using this technology.
Smart shelves are enabled by placing RFID tags on the products to be displayed and sold. Using microchip antennas and RFID readers, that are placed on or above the shelving, information is collected from the products RFID tags and sent to an IoT platform to be stored and analysed. By implementing this technology retailers can automatically monitor stock on hand. The smart shelves will send alerts if the shelves need to be re-stocked or the products have reached their end of life dates. Kroger is an example of a US supermarket chain currently using smart shelves technology.
First introduced by Apple in 2013, beacons use low energy Bluetooth geolocation to give shoppers information about sales and promotions in their near vicinity. Retailers use beacons in association with mobile apps, to send messages and collect data on customer behaviour such as navigation through the store and preferred shopping routes.
Chain stores like Lowes and Target are using robots to help customers find specific products, provide information on promotions and answer customer queries. The robots can also help the store management by roaming the aisles and taking note of misplaced items, incorrect labels and shelves that require re-stocking. In Japan, Nestle is using a robot called Pepper in department stores to sell coffee machines.
ERP is at the heart of operations of most retail organisations, providing a single source of data and the ability to automate many mundane and repetitive tasks. For retailers, IoT has the potential to greatly increase data availability, accuracy and can help increase sales. It has significant implications for enhancing ERP systems in areas such as customer service, forecasting, inventory management and providing business intelligence.
If you would like to know more about how HansaWorld can help your retail organisation and businesses, please visit www.hansaworld.com/retail-and-pos