In the most basic terms Internet of Things (IoT) is a system which comprises of connected devices and sensors which collect and relay information to a central system which then processes this data and on the basis of this analysis companies are able to make different important business decisions.

This amazing new technology is taking over the world by a storm and is finding its application in every field of life. Integration of this technology in any field has proven to be greatly beneficial and for the same reason, companies are now using this technology in retail business. According to Forbes, it is estimated that almost 70% of the decision makers in the retail industry are eager to adopt and invest in IoT for retail.

IoT has a lot of potential in retail business and has proven to be of great value. The applications of IoT in retail are endless but we will only discuss the main and most important applications here.

Equipment Maintenance:
Most of the retail stores have some kind of equipment present in them such as refrigerators in grocery stores or air conditioning systems. These units can be connected with different sensors very easily. By connected these devices to the central system we can monitor their performance and other things such as energy consumption. We can also monitor fluctuations in the temperature to give optimum temperature to ensure food safety. This system will also allow us to monitor and schedule maintenance of these devices.

Smart Transportation:
When we talk about smart transportation in retail business it basically means moving different merchandise in an effective and efficient way. With IoT based applications we can easily enhance and optimize this system of transportation of goods within retail stores. Many retailers have been using GPS to track and route their delivery trucks in the past years. By making this system compatible with a central computing unit companies can have accurate information about the whereabout of their goods. They can use this information to give accurate information to the customers about when a certain item will be available in the store.

Demand-aware Warehouses:
Demand aware or smart warehouses seems like a thing of the future but a lot of companies are already implementing this idea in their ware house systems. These warehouses are driven by the shopping demands both online and in-store. By using IoT for inventory management these warehouses will automatically inform the company about the status of any item. If we step up the game we can also program these warehouses to automatically place an order for a certain item when it reaches a minimum limit. This can ensure all the time availability of most selling items of any particular store.

Connected Consumers:
Connected consumer is an important application of IoT which is having a great impact on sales of the companies that use this concept. By making the retail prices of items available in your store available to the customers on their mobile phones you can greatly increase their interest in certain objects. You can also use their search history to give tailored promotions and discounts to your loyal customers. This technology can also be used to give location based services of even the in-store items which will definitely impress your customers. According to a report by Forbes by 2021, almost 79% retailers will have smart IoT based technology that will allow them to make customized online store appearances and notify them when a specific customer is in store.

Smart Stores:
Smart stores can be used to devise an effective marketing strategy which can be very beneficial for the company. By using video monitoring or Wi-Fi traffic monitoring we can know the items in which the customers are most interested or on which they spent the most time looking. Advertising these items in prominent places can greatly increase their sale. By monitoring store traffic and looking at the customer demand we can customize the store shopping experience. This application allows us to smartly market different objects and increase their sale. By 2021 almost 75% of retailers will have invested in a predictive application and software to monitor customer footprint.

With online customers increasing at an exponential rate companies are looking for more effective and efficient methods to give customers and smooth shopping experience. In terms of IoT retailer have found just the thing they were looking for. The rich data and high-level information analysis tools of IoT companies are now able to create tailor made shopping experiences by analyzing their shopping history. This data has not helped companies in predicting customer choices it has also enabled them in having a greater insight of their own products. Although integration of IoT in the retail business is a new thing, it has already shown great value.