Retail IoT – Connecting More Than Devices

By David Salisbury, VP of Sales and Marketing, Star Cloud Services

As technology continues to advance and capabilities increase, retail technology is also growing. Whether it is virtual reality leading retailers to play with “experiential retail” or cloud-connected devices facilitating the shopping experience for both consumers and vendors, today, technology and retail go hand-in-hand.

One technology in particular is significantly changing the retail landscape: the Internet of Things (IoT). Analytics and connected devices provide a host of benefits, including giving brands better insight on what shoppers are buying. This knowledge empowers retailers to ensure the correct products and promotions are on display, allowing them to capitalize on consumer sentiment and ultimately increase their ROI. However, this is just the beginning; IoT can help retailers go far beyond that.

The Evolution of Analytics

Although data analysis is by no means new – the term can be traced back to 1962 – the concept has evolved over time, as needs and capabilities changed. In the 1990s, database marketing was the hot topic in retail, as companies began gathering more data on consumers, analyzing it to determine their shopping behavior, and using it as part of their marketing initiatives. The advancement of data analytics has culminated into the data-filled and data-driven world in which we operate today.

Data science has progressed from descriptive analytics – giving insight into past tendencies – to predictive analytics – estimating future tendencies – to prescriptive analytics – combing the previous two to determine what actions should be taken. For retailers big or small, the implications of prescriptive analytics are substantial.

IoT Changes the Game

As data science matures, IoT makes it possible to take the analytics even further. By enlisting IoT solutions, retailers have myriad possibilities to improve in-store behavior, shopper interaction and the shopping experience as a whole. Instead of merely providing information on what consumers have bought and predicting what they will buy next, IoT arms retailers with real-time information on what is happening in-store. This could be the act of sending a specific coupon to a shopper’s device as they walk past a product they have purchased in the past, or store employees receiving notifications on their mobile point of sale devices if a shopper has been waiting at the register for a certain amount of time. Having this information is crucial for retailers, as it helps create a better experience for shoppers, thus encouraging them to come back.

Retail IoT is expected to become a $53 billion market by 2020. From more comprehensive analytics to real-time status updates, the benefits of IoT are endless. As retailers try to create the best experience possible for shoppers, IoT technology provides not only the data on consumer activity, but informs retailers of what they should do about it.

Retail success is as much about offering the best products for shoppers, as it is about evolving with the industry. To stay abreast of what consumers are looking for and know the best ways to deliver it, consider researching new technologies that can assist in delivering an enlightening in-store experience. Doing so could have a significant reward.

Star Micronics subsidiary, Star Cloud Services was built to bring IoT solutions to retailers by enabling the more than six million Star Micronics POS printers in stores today to become cloud-connected devices. Star Cloud Services has the unique ability to transform shopping receipts into valuable digital transaction data. With that data, retailers gain deeper insights that help them better engage, activate and retain shoppers.

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