November 23, 2016 | Written by: Hannah Merry
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Picture the scene, 8:35am on Friday morning, it’s drizzling but you’re not cold for being shoved and pushed by the masses of people queuing. It’s Black Friday, the biggest retail event in the US calendar and a phenomenon which has taken the UK by storm.
Last year saw UK shoppers spend a massive £3.5bn by the end of Cyber Monday. But as the world continues to become more connected, many refuse to tackle those crowds, knowing they can grab better bargains online.
Since 2012 online shopping has become the norm and this shift in consumer behaviour has seen many high-street retailers running at a loss. In an era where omni-channel retailing is becoming all the rage, The Internet of Things (IoT) is helping create a seamless shopping experience that will bring us back to the high-street and help us to spend more money on Black Friday.
IoT and the supply chain
When retail is at its busiest, the supply chain needs to be tighter than ever to prevent customer frustration at empty shelves and limited choice. Connected IoT devices generate invaluable data which is used for accurate supply chain planning. The amount of stock produced in warehouses, the demand at each location and the time required to get items from the production line to store shelves assists managers to make accurate decisions.
Keeping on top of stock
Sensors and high resolution cameras can track customer movement patterns, such as when the store is busiest during the day and where items sell at their best. Further, shelve sensors can flag when items need restocking, so workers can spend more time being friendly and helpful rather than checking stock levels.
Location mobile marketing
With employees and stores being ‘smarter’, enticing the consumer back inside is still a big task for high-street retailers. Cue location based mobile marketing, this is where a notification – offering the best deal or personalised offer – will pop up on your phone as you walk past a store, designed to make you feel special – only 23% of retailers use this currently, so don’t panic if you haven’t been tempted yet, your time is coming.
Once inside, to ensure you’re not left waiting by a sales assistant for 10 minutes to only be told “we have that in every size except yours and in a colour you didn’t ask for” shop floor assistants are starting to use a live inventory application on an iPad/smartphone to give faster and more reliable answers. Once sold and the barcode has been scanned, the system flags the sale and items are reordered to ensure stock doesn’t run out.
As our habits evolve and we rely on our phones more, retailers must adapt to stay on top of the game. The consumer continues to remain king – or queen – with more power than ever before and IoT is here to stay, so hopefully in years to come your Black Friday experience will improve and become less stressful. With the power of IoT shoppers will no longer be broken trying to find the best bargains.
You can learn more about IoT and connected retail on our website. Or tell us below how you’d like to see your shopping experience improve.