We all can agree that today there is a new breed of consumers which are shaping the industry’s future. It is now where businesses must adopt disruptive technologies and business models to cater to them. Consumers have access to information, and thus resulting in their decisions are already made before walking into a physical store. This is all thanks to the evolution of technology, especially smart devices, allowing them to be more hands-on, creating and controlling unique, personalized experiences.

So, instead of inundating consumers with text messages on promotions, retailers should harness the intelligence and predictive capabilities of data. Enabling them to target consumers effectively, enhance the shopping journey, reduce operational costs and more importantly boost ROI.

Data Analytics

Through the data, retailers gain an advantage on identifying consumer touchpoints – physical stores, online sites, displays or merchandises – enabling brands to learn about their consumers. Channelling through data analytics will allow retailers to build personalized data profiles of individual shoppers, and in turn, facilitating predictive intelligence-based marketing which surpasses the personalization norms.

To source the true value from consumer analytics, retailers should focus on expanding their sources of data, consolidating silos of intelligence, and focus on the end game – what actionable insights can analytics provide for the consumer.

IoT Movement

The movement of IoT is presenting retailers with a sufficient number of opportunities, especially in critical areas such as customer experience, supply chain, new channels and revenue streams. Many people conceive the Internet of Things as far-fetched and out of reach; however, now it is a standard norm. If retailers hesitate to act on developing and executing an IoT strategy, the truth is that they are opening the doors for their competitors to swoop in and capture early IoT mind share and market share.

In 2017, IoT presented retailers with unique opportunities to develop the ecosystem which connects businesses in the physical and digital-worlds. These channels enable the retailers with bidirectional and real-time interaction with consumers both inside and outside of the store. Retailers are gradually evolving from fearing the typical show-rooming consumers, to exploring new avenues in connecting with them to enhance the in-store experience. How may you ask is this being done – well, one way is through location-based beacon technology.

Beacons – driving the seamless experience

Beacons mature as technology evolves, thus providing retailers with the potential to deliver the ultimate digital in-store shopping experience. Furthermore, they not only benefit the consumer but also manufacturers and retailers in the market. To be able to create a competitive marketing advantage, retailers need to start experimenting on the various solutions which are out there in the market or end up playing catch up with the competitors.

Beacon technology will change the way consumers interact with brands, enabling devices to be more helpful and revolutionize the way retailers measure the offline impact of online ads.

Improving Customer Shopping Experience

Although the implementation of beacons will not entirely replace the need for this service, it does have a positive end-result. Moreover, it helps retailers in delivering ongoing and real-time learning advantage. Imagine having access to your consumer’s shopping blueprint from each moment they stepped foot into the business, ease in understanding the direction of their journey within the company, the dwell time in a particular zone or even on a specific product, to the different touchpoints within the store where items were picked up for purchase.

Beacons unlock a retailers ability to bring their POS in the forefront. And thus, shifting the approach from a “Talk At You” to a more unique “Engage With You” landscape. Although physical stores lack the advantage of the flexibility of their aisle layouts compared to the online stores. Moreover, beacons enable retailers to deliver an experience to consumers to shop intelligently and locate what they look for efficiently.

In Short –

Overall, today’s connected devices and solutions drive retailers to gain opportunities to optimize operations with the existing complex supply chain. As a result, they are increasing imperative digital channels and more a demanding consumer. RFID technology helps retailers to improve the precision of inventory tracking. Moreover, they provide firms with data visualization solutions making it simpler for staff to track product lines across the supply-chain.

Retailers which end up taking the lead in this space will gain an advantage in the already competitive environment. Firms position early adopters to quickly deliver IoT-enabled solutions which in turn will increase revenue. In addition, they will help to drive unique brand experiences and reduce costs. IoT is a disruptive force within the retail operations, and retailers are beginning to form an IoT strategy – but the single daunting question remains at the forefront. Are you willing to do what it takes to become the disrupter or are you ready to be disrupted?

Written By: Mr Vic Bageria