In Retail Industry, an IoT component can be used
- Retail Inventory management
- Retail smart payments
- Retail smart vending
How IoT Helps in Retail Industry
Retail Inventory Management
To help with inventory management, and maintaining the inventory levels, the IoT system is used. Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) tags. These tags are attached to the products allowing them to be tracked in real-time so that the inventory levels can be determined accurately and products that are low on stock can be furnished. Tracking can be done using RFID readers attached to the retail store shelves or in the warehouse.
Retail Smart Payments
Today smart Payment solutions are used rapidly like NFC and Bluetooth. NFC is a set of standards for smartphones and other devices to communicate with each other by bringing them into proximity or by touching them.
Customers can store their credit card information in their NFC-enabled smartphones and make payments by bringing the smartphone near the point-of-sale terminals. NFC may be used in combination with Bluetooth, where NFC initiates the initial pairing of devices to establish a Bluetooth connection while the actual data transfer takes place over Bluetooth.
Retail Smart Vending Machines
To allow remote monitoring of inventory levels, elastic pricing of products, promotions, and contactless payments using NFC, smart vending machines connected to the internet. Smart-phone applications that communicate with smart vending machines allow user preferences to be remembered and learned with time.
For example, when a user moves from one vending machine to the other and pairs the smartphone, the user preference, and favorite product, will be saved and then that data is used for predictive maintenance. Smart vending machines can communicate with each other,
so if a product is out of stock in a machine, the user can be routed to the nearest machine. Even if the product is decomposable, the smart vending machine can reduce the price as the expiry date nears.
Challenges and Solutions
IoT offered many benefits, but many retailers are still hesitant to invest in connected technology due to some issues of concern and possible challenges.
The main problem of any standard is security and privacy. So to overcome this problem, retailers should closely collaborate with IoT software developers to ensure that devices and sensors used in retail are designed with strong security mechanisms: end-to-end encryption, secure passwords, regular software updates, and an IT infrastructure that constantly scans for vulnerabilities.
Most retailers lack the infrastructure and networks to deal with the huge volumes of IoT data. In order to make their stores digital, retail companies need to make major investments in robust networks, data centers, cloud computing, and customer-facing solutions like MPOS, barcode scanners, and tablets.
So to overcome this problem, when it comes to implementing new technology, there’s no need to fund all the infrastructure aspects at once. Retailers could start with small changes, like using IoT to manage air conditioning or lighting systems. This will bring near-term ROI, after which they can implement more sophisticated IoT solutions, such as traffic analytics.
Data analysis is a huge challenge for retailers. While retail employees are good at a commercial business, they simply don’t have the necessary technical skills to gain valuable insights from IoT systems. The solution is retail companies can manage their data by hiring their own experts or relying on third parties with relevant IoT qualifications, training, and skills.
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